Proposal Submission FAQs and Tips

How do I create a user account in the submission database?

All applicants (including co-presenters) must create an individual user account in the database.  That account must be entered in the “Presenter” field on the proposal form.  To create a user account, click on “Register for a new account” on the database’s left sidebar.  Fill out the relevant fields and make the required category selections.

Username: Please note that your username will be visible to others.  To simplify the process of finding you in the database, we recommend creating a username based on your real name.

Name: Use title-style capitalization.  Enter your name exactly as you would like it to look in the program.

Affiliation: Only provide the name of your institution – not your department, position, etc.   Spell out college/university names rather than using abbreviations or acronyms (such as University of Texas at San Antonio, not UTSA).  If you are not attached to an institution, please type “Independent Scholar”.

After you have created a new account, an automated account-validation email will be sent from the database. Your account will only be verified and accessible after you click on the verification link in that email.

How do I access my existing user account in the proposal database?

If you have an existing account but cannot remember your password, click “Log in” on the left sidebar. Then, click “Request new password.”  Enter your email address or username, and the database will email a new password to you.

How many proposals can I submit?

Each applicant may submit only one paper proposal – to one area – per year.

However, proposals for creative writing pieces or discussion-based roundtables can be in addition to a traditional, scholarly paper proposal.  The database only allows one submission per applicant, so you must contact conference staff to enter that second proposal into the database.

Can I submit a paper that I already published or presented?

A proposal should be for original work that has not been published or presented elsewhere.

Can undergraduates apply to present at SWPACA?

Yes.  However, unless you are applying to co-present a paper with a professor, etc., you will need to submit your proposal to our Undergraduate Presentations area

How do I use the proposal form?

To access the proposal form, once your user account has been activated in the database, click on the “Submit a proposal” link on the left sidebar.

Title: Enter your proposed presentation title manually, instead of copying and pasting it from an existing document.  (This helps us avoid various formatting issues when creating the program.)  Use title-style capitalization.  Use quotation marks only around the titles of books, movies, TV shows, etc. – not around your entire paper title.  Do not use bolding, underlining, or italics.

Description: Enter your abstract here; we recommend copying and pasting from a Word document.  Please do not attach your abstract as a file. (If you do, and the proposal is accepted, your abstract will not be visible to other presenters looking at the conference schedule in the database.)

Topic Area: The proposal form contains an alphabetical list of the conference’s areas.  Before selecting an area on the form, please look over our categorical list of areas at  Each area has a clickable description. If you have questions about a specific area, please email that area’s listed Area Chair.

Presenter: This field will have your username already filled in.  If you need to add one or more co-presenters to the proposal, click “Add another” below.  Each co-presenter must have an individual user account in the database, and that account must be entered in the Presenter field.  To find an existing account, start typing a username in the field, and it will autocomplete; alternately, click the magnifying glass button on the field’s right to search for the person’s username.  If your co-presenter does not have a user account at the time you submit the proposal, as soon as the co-presenter creates and verifies an account, contact your Area Chair or conference staff about adding that user account to the proposal.  (Find Area Chairs’ contact information at

File Attachments: We are not accepting file attachments at this time.

Save: Please note that clicking the Save button actually submits your proposal. The database will not allow applicants to edit their submitted proposals. If you need to make changes later, or if an Area Chair requests changes, you will need to ask either the Area Chair or conference staff to make the necessary edits for you.

How do I submit a proposal for a single-topic panel with multiple paper presenters?

Panels comprised of multiple papers should not be submitted on a single proposal form. Each panel presenter must have a separate user account in the database and must submit his/her paper on a separate proposal form.

Each proposed panel’s presenter must select the same subject area in the database.  In the Description field, along with the individual paper abstract, each applicant should provide the proposed panel’s title; any overarching panel summary; a list of the panel’s other presenters; and the name of the proposed panel chair.

Once the single-topic panel proposal has been submitted as multiple, individual proposal forms in the database, the proposed panel chair should email the appropriate Area Chair to confirm receipt of the full panel proposal – including all needed information.   (Find Area Chairs’ contact information at

How do I submit a proposal for a discussion-based roundtable?

Submit a roundtable proposal as if it were a traditional paper proposal in the appropriate area.

In the Title field, write your title in this format: “Roundtable: —————-.”  Also note in the Description field that your proposal is for a roundtable.

All roundtable participants’ user accounts must be entered in the Presenter field on the proposal form.  See the above instructions regarding how to use the Presenter field.

What happens after I submit my proposal?

After submitting a proposal, you will receive an automated acknowledgment email from the presenter database.   Please note that this is not the same as an acceptance.

Area Chairs are responsible for vetting proposals according to relevance, merit, the scholarly standards governing their fields, and various other factors.

SWPACA practices rolling reviews of individual, panel, and roundtable proposals.  Area Chairs try to review and accept or reject proposals within two weeks of receipt.  However, given our Area Chairs’ differing teaching/administrative schedules, the wait time for conference acceptance/rejection decisions may exceed this two-week time frame.

If you have not received an email notification regarding the status of your proposal after two weeks, we encourage you to contact the appropriate Area Chair directly via email.  Find Area Chairs’ contact information at

If I need assistance with the proposal process, who should I contact?

For additional conference proposal assistance, contact:

Kelli Shapiro, PhD
Conference Programming and Engagement Coordinator,