A symposium is defined as a learning opportunity organized for the purpose of providing a forum for discussion of a well-defined topic. A symposium ideally provides an environment for the free exchange of ideas. Typically, a symposium consists of a series of presentations contributed by experts in the defined subject area of the symposium topic, followed by an interchange of opinions among symposium participants. (CE Committee, May 1993)
Sponsorship. A symposium must be sponsored by an MLA unit or chapter.
Solicitation. MLA Professional Development Department solicits symposia proposals annually on behalf of the Continuing Education Committee; Units may submit proposals to the MLA Professional Development Department at any time.
Scheduling. A symposium should not normally be scheduled at the same time as MLA’s regularly scheduled continuing education courses or nonconflict sessions at the annual meeting. However, exceptions may be made by the board.
Elements of the Proposal. The proposal must include the following elements (see attached sheet for further description of the individual elements).
A. title/defined topic
B. statement of need/purpose
C. targeted audience
D. intended benefits for participants
E. symposium content and format including speaker qualifications
F. personnel and other requirements (support staff, space, equipment, duration of session, etc.)
G. budget/financial feasibility
Criteria. Proposals for symposia are reviewed according to the following criteria.
A. importance/uniqueness of subject and content
D. availability/adequacy of funding
Financial Considerations. Net revenues are shared equally among the sponsoring group(s) and MLA. If gross revenues are insufficient to cover expenses, the sponsoring group(s) and MLA will share all net expenses equally. MLA is responsible for the payment of all expenses incurred by the symposium according to agreements and contracts with vendors, presenters, and other service providers.
Cancellation. In the event of cancellation, the sponsoring group(s) and MLA will share equally the payment of all expenses incurred prior to the date of cancellation.
Deadlines for Proposal Submissions. Proposals should be submitted to MLA’s Department of Professional Development. The department will refer proposals to the Continuing Education Committee and/or National Program Committee, if appropriate, for consideration (see Symposia Process flowchart). The department will communicate all decisions about approvals to the symposium initiator(s)/sponsor(s). The initiator)s)/sponsor(s) of the symposium should adhere to the following deadlines.
May 1: Those proposals requesting MLA CE contact hours for a symposium to be presented at the annual meeting should be submitted the May preceding the May in which the symposium is held (May 1995 for May 1996 presentation).
October 1: Those proposals for a symposium to be presented at the annual meeting the following May that do not request MLA contact hours (October 1, 1995 for May 1996 Annual Meeting).
One year prior to presentation: Those proposals for symposia held at a time other than the annual meeting irrespective of the request for MLA contact hours.