Winter 1998


Notes on the Submission Process for ASA -- and Some Choice Advice

Having managed the process of organizing the section's sessions for the '98 meetings in San Francisco, I thought it might be useful to mention a few things about the process that are not widely recognized. Heed my advice and maximize your chances of getting on the program!

The program consists of a mixture of invited sessions, Regular Sessions, and section sessions. Regular sessions are open to unsolicited submissions, and historically the Sociology of Education sessions have been open to submissions as well. (Some sections do decide in advance what the topics for their sessions will be, but we have not typically done this.) So the major vehicles for getting on the program are through submissions to the Regular Sessions and the section sessions.

The section's allocation of program sessions is based on the section membership as of September 30th. In recent years, we have been allocated three paper sessions and one one-hour roundtable session to accompany our business meeting. This allocation is fixed, and even if the number of submissions doubled or tripled, we would be unable to increase it.

Each year, the Program Committee devotes one or more Regular Sessions to the topic of education. This year, for example, Helen Moore organized the Regular Session on Education, and Wornie Reed organized a Regular Session on Education Policy. Each Regular Session organizer is guaranteed one session slot; but Regular Session organizers can request additional session slots from the ASA Executive Office if they can make the case that they have more good papers than can be accommodated in a single session. Such requests are considered in the order they are received, and are based in part on the number of submissions received and the descriptions of the proposed sessions.

Why am I belaboring this? Because the Regular Session sessions can greatly expand the participation of section members in the program. This year, Helen Moore was able to secure a total of five paper sessions as the organizer for the Regular Session on Education, and Wornie Reed obtained two paper sessions. Thus, the Regular Session sessions on education produced seven paper sessions, whereas the section has a fixed allocation of three sessions.

The moral: submitting a paper both to the Sociology of Education section and to a Regular Session organizer of education sessions greatly increases the likelihood of acceptance for the annual meeting program. I certainly never understood this before I was in the middle of it!

I'd like to thank David Baker, Anna Neumann, Carolyn Riehl and Katy Schiller for assisting me in reviewing the 118 papers that were submitted for consideration by the section. I'm pleased with the quality of the submissions, and although we were unable to accept all of them, a great many are worth talking about. Isn't that the most that an author and audience can ask?

Aaron M. Pallas
Professor of Education and Affiliate Professor of Sociology
Michigan State University
437 Erickson Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034

office phone: 517-355-6682
office fax: 517-353-6393

Note: I am on sabbatical for the 1997-98 academic year


Sociology of Education Section Membership Form

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In order to join the Sociology of Education Section, you must be a member of the American Sociological Association. For further information please contact ASA at

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