Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association

General Information

The following information is for session chairs and presenters.

Selection Process

Each year the MMLA solicits proposals and individual abstracts for its annual convention. The MMLA program committee reviews the submissions. The committee is composed of executive committee members. All proposals and abstracts are reviewed, except for the permanent section proposals that are accepted by the session chair. Once accepted, individual abstracts are grouped into panels by the current MMLA president.


Once a special session or permanent section call for submissions is received and accepted, it is posted on the MMLA's Call for Papers listing. The membership is notified about the initial publication of the CFP listing and significant updates as they occur. In addition, chairs are encouraged to solicit submissions on their own.

Convention Roles and Responsibilities


All permanent and special sections have chairs. The chair is responsible for receiving, reviewing and selecting the presenters. The chair communicates all deadlines and other presenter responsibilities to the session participants. The chair decides the presentation order, controls the time of each presentation, ensures that each presenter receives enough time to speak and helps to encourage discussion among the attendees. The chair is responsible for sharing information regarding their section with the MMLA office. 


Most permanent sections have secretaries. The secretary helps the chair to select presenters, keeps track of the submitted abstracts and usually agrees in advance to be the following year's chair.


The presenter communicates with the chair about title changes, name changes, audiovisual needs, etc. The presenter is expected to cooperate with the session chair with respect to paper presentation time and session activities.


A respondent reads the papers in advance and helps to encourage and facilitate dialogue during the session. Sessions are not required to have a respondent and it is at the discretion of the chair to have a respondent. If a chair chooses to have a respondent, then there only needs to be one respondent for the entire session. A chair may serve as the respondent, any member of the session may serve as the respondent, or an individual who is not presenting during the session may serve as a respondent.     

Appropriate Conduct at the MMLA Convention

The MMLA Convention depends upon all participants (panelists, attendees, exhibitors, staff, and organizers) conducting themselves with consummate professionalism. We are committed to ensuring a safe, welcoming, non-discriminatory, and actively antiracist environment for all participants.
This means, in positive terms, that convention participants should treat each other with respect and consideration. In particular, ensuring an environment that is actively antiracist means not only acknowledging the individual dignity of persons whose race differs from one’s own but more importantly, recognizing that in doing so one is contributing toward advancing an urgent and unfinished project to remediate the race-based inequalities that have shaped our existing institutions.
It means, in negative terms, that people should avoid any inappropriate statements or actions to do with race, gender, sexual identity, or creed, as well as with group or individual differences in general. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes intimidating behavior and language, inappropriate sexual references, unwanted touching or attention, other forms of dehumanizing speech or action, and/or threats of physical harm.
Creating a supportive environment that enables free, critical discourse is the responsibility of all participants. Violations to this code of conduct should be reported to MMLA organizers and staff. Sanctions may range from a verbal warning to ejection from the meeting without refund, to notifying appropriate authorities.

Permanent Sections versus Special Sessions

A permanent section is an established subject that can have an open topic or a specific topic each year. Proposals for permanent sections do not require approval by the MMLA program committee. A special session is a group of papers about a topic that is not a permanent section topic. The special session topic can focus on the convention's informal theme, or it can focus on another relevant and interesting subject.   

Sessions versus Panels

A session is an organized grouping of papers about a pre-selected topic. Sessions can have multiple panels with papers about the preselected topic. 

Sessions versus Workshops

The structure of a workshop is at the discretion of the workshop organizer. In general, a workshop should not be a formal presentation of papers but rather an open forum that provides information and encourages open conversation to help facilitate the learning process.

Length of Individual Panels

Each individual panel is 75 minutes in length. A session can be composed of one or more panels. Each panel is scheduled in a 75-minute timeslot. Every effort is made to schedule multiple panels from a single session in back-to-back timeslots.

Number of Presenters

Each panel should have a minimum of three (3) presenters and no more than four (4) presenters. Limiting the number of presenters to no more than four in a single panel will allow each presenter enough time to speak and provide discussion time for the attendees.

Presenters from the Same Educational Institution

The individuals presenting a panel may be from the same college or university. There are no restrictions regarding how many presenters can come from a single educational institution.

Chairs Requesting Multiple Panels

In general, a session may have more than one panel scheduled. For sessions that wish to have more than two panels, please email the MMLA office to discuss the number of panels that you wish to hold.

Individuals Participating in Multiple Panels

Individual participation in the MMLA Annual Convention is limited to two presentations. This applies to authors, respondents, chairs, and secretaries. This policy is in place to make scheduling panels easier and to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to present.

Presentations by Chairs

Session chairs may present on their respective panels. While individuals can only present on two panels, session chairs may chair more than two sessions if they wish to. 

Perpetual Chairmanship

Permanent section chairs have the option of continuing to chair their respective sections each year or passing the chairmanship to the current year’s secretary or another individual. 

Audiovisual Equipment

The MMLA provides audiovisual equipment if the requests are made in a timely manner. Audiovisual equipment must be requested early in order to ensure availability and to receive the best price. The MMLA does not provide laptops or software.  All presenters must bring their own laptops and software.

Membership and Registration Fees

All presenters and chairs must be current members of the Midwest Modern Language Association in order to participate in the annual convention. All participants must pay a convention registration fee in addition to their membership dues. Membership dues and convention registrations are separate fees. The MMLA provides departmental memberships that enables full and part-time faculty and graduate students who were not otherwise planning to participate to attend the MMLA convention.
If an individual is a member of the Modern Language Association (MLA), their MLA membership is not a substitute for their MMLA membership. The MLA and MMLA are separate organizations with separate memberships and expenses.

Unannounced No-show Policy

Every November, the MMLA compiles a list of no-shows at the conference. The list is sent to the program committee charged with reviewing proposals. Barring extenuating circumstances, unannounced no-shows will not be allowed to participate in the next two MMLA conferences.

Presenting Papers in Absentia

Authors are not allowed to have other individuals present their papers at the in-person portion of the convention in the author's absence. All authors are expected to deliver their papers in-person at the convention, unless their panel has been approved for a virtual format.