Submissions to the Annual Conference go through a review process before the programme is made public. When users submit a proposal, they must choose a working group to review the proposal. Reviews start when working group convenors receive access to their proposals as designated by the submitters. Here, working groups review the panels, roundtables, and individual papers that were submitted to them. The working groups then build panels out of those individual paper proposals. Once a individual proposal is placed onto a panel (or when a submitted panel is sponsored), it is removed from the pool of available items. This stage is completed by the middle of December.
When the working groups finish their review work, they "submit" their sponsored panels to the conference programme chair for final placement on the program. The programme chair is ultimately responsible for the program and, on occasion, may make small changes to the panels working groups recommend. The programme chair then places as many of the sponsored panels onto the program as possible, paying attention to scheduling conflicts, over-participation, and special requests.
To create a "buffer" of back-up panels, working groups usually sponsor one or two more panels than their allocation for the programme. In turn, the programme chair typically places panels in the order the working group convenors recommend and as in so far as is possible, seek to avoid appearance conflicts. Panels are also scheculed and placed into venue rooms. This panel placement and review process takes place from mid-December to mid-January.
From early December, the programme chair watches for participants being placed onto the programme too many times and begins fixing formatting issues. This gets us ready to send out our acceptance notices in mid-December.
Of course, the conference programme work does not stop then. Throughout the months of January - March, working groups and programme chairs work together to fill "holes" on the programme due to withdrawals. Like all other steps in the process, however, replacements are made by the programme chairs, usually following recommendations from the working groups sponsoring the affected items.
Throught the submission, conference-prgramme building, and registration processes, BISA aims to provide its members and delegates with a high level of service. Unfortunately, problems do sometimes arise and BISA is committed to addressing these as efficiently and effectively as possible. In doing so, we ask members and delegates to remember that working group conveners and the conference programme chair are unremunerated volunteers who undertaken this service in addition to full-time employment and personal responsibilities.