PLC Organizing Committee Manual
The Previous Spring:
- Get several volunteers for the committee.
- Chairs - Think about how you want to divide up your responsibilities. Last year John kept track of the review process, budget stuff, and session chairs, while Marjorie took care of invited speaker stuff and and publicity-related stuff (website, posters, email announcements, general correspondence). We collaborated on putting the program together. You might have other ideas; just make sure everyone’s clear on who’s doing what.
- Email manager@babel to create a new mailing list and give everyone write permissions to the PLC directory (/htdocs/Events/PLC).
- Email PLC dates to WCCFL, BLS, and Penn admissions chair to make sure there aren't any conflicts (might as well let them know that these will always be our dates).
- Create a timeline – decide on all deadlines, etc. I recommend something like: abstracts due November 1, reviews due December 1, abstract notification by Jan 10. This gives you a lot of time between when reviews are due and when you absolutely have to notify everyone, so you can resolve any problems that might come up. You can start accepting some people before the notification deadline, of course – that way you’ll also have some extra time in case some people back out.
- Once you’ve settled on the deadlines, use the Conference Organizer's webpage (url and password emailed to you) to clear out the old databases and set up the abstract submission and registration forms.
- Email linglist for invited speaker suggestions. Former chair(s) will request suggestions from the faculty.
- Decide on the invited speaker and email him/her an invitation letter (sample letter emailed to you).
- Once the speaker has confirmed, create a new webpage with dates, invited speaker, call for papers (html and downloadable pdf flyer), local information, about PLC, committee list, contact information.
- Email a preliminary announcement to Penn community [sample]
- Email first call for papers.
- Submit announcement to Linguist List.
- Post an announcement on Roy's list of linguistics conferences!
- Decide on other program features - workshops, series of invited talks, etc. – and start setting these up.
- Get title and abstract from speaker; update the web page.
- Consider doing a preliminary poster mailing. Make the poster downloadable from the webpage.
- Email incoming first-years with information about PLC.
- Add new members to the mailing list and web page, and give them write permissions.
- Create and print posters if you didn’t do this over the summer.
- First organizational meeting – decide who does what: books, food, party, t-shirts, web stuff, conference packets, crash space, registration desk, anything else you want to delegate. Also the committee meeting is a good time to stuff envelopes for your poster mailing.
- Figure out if you’ll be able to have PLC at Huntsman. If not, start investigating other venues.
- Harrass anyone you know who has PLC-worthy material (student or faculty) and get them to submit an abstract!
- Book person: start contacting publishers
- Send out a second CFP
- Email reviewers to see if they’ll be willing to help again. Recruit more reviewers!
- Send out final call for papers a week or so before the deadline
- Start investigating party sites
- Convert abstracts to PDF; make sure all the files are ok.
- Update the homepage (delink abstract form, remove call for papers, etc.)
- Meet with faculty adviser/committee to decide who to send which abstracts to.
- Email reviewers with their abstracts.
- A few days before the deadline, email a reminder to reviewers.
- Remind invited speaker to get airline tickets; ask about hotel preferences
- Reserve invited speaker’s hotel room
- Start t-shirt design contest
- Immediately after the due date, check over all the scores and pinpoint any problem cases – too few reviewers, widely disparate scores, etc. Ask appropriate faculty members for advice about what to do with them.
- Meet as a committe to go over the scores and decide what to do. Stuff to think about – do you want to accept everything over a certain average score, or do you want to pre-specify your subfields and choose the top abstracts within each subfield? Do you want to designate certain papers “alternates” in case other people back out? How many papers do you want in the program? Last year we had 116 submissions and accepted 35 papers. The year before, we had the same number of submissions and about 25 papers. The year before that, we had about 60 submissions and 25 papers.
- Email acceptance letters [sample] and rejection letters [sample], as well as alternate letters if you decide to have alternates.
- Email thank-you note to reviewers [sample]
- Put together a preliminary program, post it, have the committee proofread it.
- Add registration info to home page.
- Invite people to be session chairs; give them instructions [sample email]
- Make final decisions on t-shirt design
- Get quotes from t-shirt vendors
- Consider advertising a discount for people who pre-order t-shirts. If you decide to do this, make sure to email linglist about it and add the information to the registration form.
- Email a call for registration.
- Create flyers; mail them to local schools; post them around Penn. Make sure to target departments at Penn that might be interested in PLC - education, psych, computer science, LDC, IRCS, etc.
- Stay in touch with invited speaker - arrange to pick them up from the airport if necessary, see if there's anything in particular they want to do in Philly, email them a preliminary itinerary, find out if they need special equipment for their talk, etc.
- Ask a faculty member to introduce the invited speaker.
- Invite the speaker out to dinner either Friday or Saturday night, along with a few faculty members and students.
- Apply for GSAC $$
[link to form]
- Finalize the party site.
- Stay in touch with the speakers - make sure they preregister, inform them about equipment, see if they need crash space, get them to send updated abstracts [sample email]
- Post updated abstracts as they come in.
- Email crash space request to linglist. [very amusing sample email]
Stuff to bring to the conference:
- Email reminder to linglist to volunteer, register, and buy t-shirts [sample email]
- Once the t-shirt preordering deadline has passed, send the t-shirt artwork to the vendor. Last year we had about 25 pre-orders and ordered 45 shirts total, and we came close to selling out.
- Set up registration desk sign-up page. Email linglist about it.
- Also recruit volunteers for food, party setup, etc.
- Email a registration reminder [sample email]
- Email another reminder to speakers
- Email an announcement to Penn undergrads. [sample email]
- Delink registration form after deadline.
- Meet to go over equipment at the conference site. You may want to put someone in charge of making sure the equipment is working OK during the conference.
- Put together a list of cell phone numbers, dept phone #, etc. for everyone to have at the conf. Include times when people will be there.
- Buy folders, badges, and other supplies (with approval)
- Get together maps, note paper, whatever else you want in folder or at registration desk.
- Get together everything that will go into the folder: schedule (you'll need to make a printer-friendly version), restaurant info, copy center info, announcement of next year’s PLC, committee list, acknowledgements, party information and directions, instructions from PWPL
- Add authors' names to their abstracts (Marjorie has software for this if you need it), and print out the abstracts to go into the folder as well.
- Once the preregistration deadline has passed, download the list of preregistrants from the conference site, and add anyone who forgot to register (volunteers, session chairs, speakers).
- Photocopy all the folder materials. Make some extra copies for walk-up registrants.
- Create badges and folder labels. Print out some extra ones with just the logo, so that you can use them for walk-up registrants.
- As a committee, put together all the folders and badges.
- Make up some instructions for the registration desk volunteers. [sample]
- Make a special folder for the invited speaker with reimbursement forms (from Amy), itinerary, etc.
- Email any final instructions to the invited speaker
- Book person: keep track of shipments, make sure everything arrives on time, arrange for tables, collect PWPL volumes for display. Also make sure reg. desk people have publishers’ info and know how to handle sales.
- Food and party people: Buy food, buy food, drinks, napkins, cups, etc., as well as food and alcohol for the party.
- Think about setting up an informal Friday night get-together. All you really have to do is pick a place to meet and email linglist about it.
- Make signs for the registration desk: wear or carry your badge at all times (if you're at Huntsman), price list, etc. Also make sure to have a couple of copies of the reg. desk volunteer schedule at the desk.
- Pick up t-shirts when ready. Send an email to Penn people explaining that we'd like them to wait until after the conference if possible to get their shirts.
- Give Amy some flyers/information for early arrivals or people who come to the dept. by mistake. Also give her a cell phone number where you can be reached on Friday in case people call the dept. with questions.
- Make signs if necessary (restrooms, today’s schedule, PLC this way, etc.).
- If you're at Huntsman, give a couple of copies of the registration list to the security people. Also make sure you also have a list of Saturday arrivals so you can send a reg. desk volunteer down to the Locust St. entrance to meet them.
umbrella stand, bags for books, about $40 in small bills for change, hangers, calculator, scissors, envelopes, extension cords & adapters, receipt book, cash box (from Amy)
After the conference:
- budget report to treasurer
- debriefing session – what was good, what was bad, etc.
- final updates to web page - proceedings, handouts, etc.
- send information about book discounts to linglist
- decide who will chair next year