The success of the association's annual conference, which is held in conjunction with the Congress of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Science, very much depends on the planning of the Chair of the Program Committee (henceforth, Chair).
This congress is normally held at the end of May and the beginning of June. For example, the 2006 Congress, which is being held at York University, will take place from May 27 through June 4.
Immediately upon the election of the Chair, which normally takes place at the annual AGM of the CAS, the association's Secretary Treasurer should submit to the CFHSS the next Chair's name and coordinates. During the AGM, the dates of the next year's congress are announced, as well as its themes. For example, the main theme for 2006 is "The City: A Festival of Knowledge."
In the event that the Chair is not affiliated with the university where the next congress takes place, a Local Arrangements Coordinator (LAC) should be appointed. The LAC will assist the Chair in such matters that can be taken care of only on location. Primary responsibilities of the LAC would typically include room and equipment booking, banquet arrangements, and liaison with the local organizing committee.
Once informed, the CFHSS contacts the new Chair and—if one has been appointed—the LAC, inviting them to attend the Planning Meeting, which always takes place in the early fall, at the university hosting the next congress. In 2011, for example, the Planning Meeting will take place at WLU (Wilfrid Laurier University) on September 29, 2011.
The Planning Meeting is very informative and useful. The Chair should attend this meeting! At the meeting all Chairs and their LC's obtain a special Planning Guide, which serves them well throughout the year. Besides enumerating the deadlines to be met, the guide also contains all the forms that the Chair must submit to the CFHSS, as well as the most important contact names and addresses.
Most communication between the CFHSS and the Chair is by e-mail. The occasional phone call, however, might be necessary.
After the Planning Meeting, Chairs are strongly encouraged to seek volunteers among colleagues and graduate students, acquainting them with the steps to be taken throughout the year. Equitable sharing of duties will ensure the conference's success.
One of the first responsibilities of the Chair will be (following consultation with the CAS Executive) to issue a Call for Papers (CFP), indicating the dates and venue of the CAS conference in spring, as well as the deadline for panel and individual paper proposals.
Ideally, the CFP should be sent out electronically with the assistance of the Assistant Editor of CSP as early as possible but certainly no later than October 30 to the CAS email list (email@example.com), as well as the lists of other associations of Slavists, for example:
Note that only members may post messages on these lists. Space limitations might necessitate that only a brief version of the CFP be sent to the lists. Thus, it is advisable to indicate on the CFP the address of the CAS website where the detailed CFP appears.
The next important deadline involves the submission to the CFHSS of the CAS mailing list, along with the sum of the CAS society fee and, if applicable, the CAS banquet fee. (In 2004 the deadline was October 8).
Congress registration always involves a fee paid to the Federation and a fee collected by the Federation on behalf of the Association. The Association fees are kept low and are intended to cover the Association's expenses in planning its Conference and to bring in a small income to the Association. In past years, a sliding scale of fees has been applied with regular members paying $20, retired members $15, and student members $10. Non-members have paid $30 in past years. Please note, that the fee for non-members does NOT indicate that non-members can participate and give papers. This is the fee for non-members who wish to attend the conference as spectators. Participation is for CAS members. All CAS conference participants must register with the congress.
The chair must also determine whether there will be a CAS banquet and, if so, whether the fee for the banquet will be collected by the Federation as part of the registration process. The banquet fee must be sufficient to cover all expenses at the banquet, including gratuity and taxes. The Association does not contribute to the banquet. If the banquet fee is not collected as part of the Congress registration, arrangements must be made for the sale of banquet tickets during the conference itself.
The mailing list is normally submitted by the Secretary Treasurer of CAS, in cooperation with the Assistant to the Editor of the CSP.
On the basis of the CAS mailing list, the CFHSS sends the congress prospectus to all (paid) members of CAS. This normally occurs in late December. All pertinent information concerning registration at the congress, its special events, and accommodations appears in this prospectus.
In the second half of October, Society Account Forms, indicating who has the right to sign for expenses (usually the Chair and the Secretary Treasurer) must be submitted by the Chair to CFHSS. (In 2004 the deadline was October 22.)
In mid January, the CFHSS advises Chairs concerning room assignments for panels and other meetings.
Most communications between Chairs and colleagues submitting panel/paper proposal will be by e-mail. Check your inbox regularly.
Send reminders to the CAS list and other lists about the approaching (Preliminary Program) deadlines.
The Chair's next important deadline concerns the submission of a Preliminary Program to the CFHSS. Normally, this deadline is in mid-February. (In 2004, it was February 18.) At this date, Chairs must also submit forms requesting the assistance of students and/or special personnel. The Chair should consult with the President and Secretary Treasurer before doing so. Such assistance drains CAS funds. As stipulated above, it is advisable to rely on volunteers from your own department.
Requests for Interdisciplinary Aid are due at the same time as the Preliminary program.
The Preliminary Program must include a meeting of the outgoing Executive, the AGM, meetings of affiliated associations, and special events organized by the community in conjunction with the CAS. Please note that colleagues traveling from the extreme ends of Canada may have difficulty arriving for an early meeting, so plan accordingly.
In late March the Chair submits requests for Audio-Visual equipment to be used at the CAS conference. Chairs are advised to be careful with such orders, inasmuch as AV equipment is rather expensive. The CAS is not a wealthy organization. It is normal for the chair to ask those presenters who require equipment to pay for part of the cost of its rental.
The Final Program must be submitted to the CFHSS by mid April. (In 2004 the deadline was April 15).
Special catering requests must be submitted to the CFHSS at the end of April.
Tweaking of the final program will continue through mid May.
Have the Final Program printed in time for the conference. While some participants will not need a program, print a sufficient number to make sure everyone can have one. Advertising in the program can reduce the cost of printing. CAS cannot afford expensive print and layout. Normally, the chair formats the program in a word processor and xeroxes the programs for distribution.
Also post the Final Program at the CAS website.
Enjoy a job well done and the accolades that will be expressed to you at the AGM of the CAS. The Chair of the CAS Program Committee is the most important link in the life of our association.
Nota bene: This page is always being updated. Recent Chairs of the CAS Program Committee are invited to submit comments and corrections to the CAS webmaster.
A list of best practices will be prepared on the basis of your comments.
Last updated September 15, 2011.