The vitality of a professional association depends in large part on its members’ engagement with the organization’s various enterprises, and ICA is no different. Over the past several weeks, scores of authors around the world have been steadfastly writing and finishing their papers and panels. Now that the 1 November submission deadline has passed, many are undoubtedly looking forward to a respite from writing, however brief it may be.
While many equate ICA involvement with paper submissions, engagement extends far beyond presenting one’s research at the annual conference. Below are some common and easy ways to get involved. ICA needs you!
Submit to a pre/postconference. ICA will be offering 42 onsite and offsite pre/postconferences this year, most of which will be issuing a call for papers. These half-, one-, and two-day meetings cut a broad swath across our membership’s intellectual interests, so you’re likely to find another home for your research outside of the main conference. More details about the pre/postconferences and registration information will be available in January 2018.
Volunteer to serve as a reviewer. Across numerous formats, ICA received more than 5,200 submissions this year – a record high! Each of these submissions will undergo peer review by multiple referees, a process that will determine what content will populate 600-plus research sessions in Prague. To ensure that the strongest submissions are accepted, ICA needs your help as a reviewer. If you’ve not yet responded to various calls for reviewers, I encourage you to take a few moments this week to log on to the paper management system and volunteer to review a few submissions. In doing so, you’ll be devoting time in November to the enterprise, sharing your expertise, providing invaluable feedback, and helping shape the discipline.
Propose a Blue Sky Workshop. The overwhelming majority of ICA sessions in Prague will be devoted to scholarship, but we have allocated a small number of sessions for Blue Sky Workshops. Involving typically 15-25 people, these workshops offer conference attendees an opportunity to engage with contemporary concerns within our discipline. Workshops can be proposed by individuals and/or sponsored by Divisions and Interest Groups. Whether they focus on issues of pedagogy, open access, the academic job market, or international collaborations, Blue Sky Workshop proposals of all stripes are welcome. The online application form will be posted online 22 November, and all proposals are due Friday, 22 December at 16:00 UTC.
Sign up to be a moderator or discussant. Decisions on ICA submissions will be announced mid-January, at which point program planners will immediately begin searching for session moderators and/or discussants. While Divisions and Interest Groups vary in their policy about scheduling discussants, all sessions need a moderator. ICA members interested in serving in such a capacity should reach out to their program planners as soon as possible; these slots are often filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Get involved with your Division or Interest Group. For many ICA members, their primary Division or Interest Group constitutes their intellectual home. Engagement with this smaller intellectual community is an excellent way for members, particularly younger scholars alike, to contribute to their respective part of the discipline and meet like minded others in the process. Divisions and Interest Groups need volunteers each year to populate award committees, bolster the unit’s website and social media presence, or serve on ad-hoc committees. As well, all groups now have a student and early-career representative whose primary responsibility is to foster the integration of young scholars into ICA and the discipline. Involvement with ICA at this level may start out short-term, but can move to a deeper level if so desired. In short, I encourage you to reach out to the current and newly elected leadership if you’re interested in becoming more engaged. Like many other professional associations, ICA is only as strong as its members make it.