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Congress Program Organization and Coordination by Laurier faculty
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This is the second in a series of “Behind the Scenes at Congress” blogs by Eleanor Ty, Congress 2012 Academic Co-Convenor and professor, English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University
Congress Program Chairs are usually the presidents of the 70 academic associations meeting at Congress, and are responsible for putting together the Congress programs for their associations. This year, there are five program chairs from Laurier.
Mary-Lou Byrne, the program chair for the Canadian Association of Geographers, says that they are expecting 600 delegates with over 500 papers being presented and forty plus posters displayed.
One of the largest associations at Congress is the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, whose program chair this year is Laurier professor Julie Mueller. Dr. Mueller’s team read over 1,000 proposals, and their association is expecting over 800 delegates.
Other Laurier program chairs include Philippa Gates for the Film Studies Association, and Kirsten Yri for the Canadian University Music Society. They are each expecting around 130 delegates and have co-organized a session on music in silent film.
Peter Kuling, Laurier’s program chair for the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, notes that they have scheduled 70 papers, and have invited two keynote presenters who are Kitchener-Waterloo theatre artists: Majdi Bou-Matar from MT Space Theatre and Lisa O’Connell from Pat The Dog Playwrighting Centre.
Approximately 30 Laurier faculty members and grad students are Local Arrangements Coordinators (LACs), who serve as the liaison between the association and the host universities, and look after booking classrooms and lecture halls, and ordering food for the associations. Laurier’s Mariam Pirbhai, the LAC for the Canadian Association for Commonwealth Literature, says, “The biggest challenge has been planning such an enormous event at a neighbouring university rather than in one’s own institution. But this has also been a reward. I have come to know our neighbour much better.”
Laurier professor Penelope Ironstone, who is the LAC for the Canadian Communication Association, says that she is very pleased to be host this year since this year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Department of Communication Studies at Laurier.
Program Chairs and Local Arrangements Coordinators have worked hard to ensure that their association programs are matched with the right kind of spaces and AV technology for their delegates. They are the ones that make the sessions flow seamlessly.