New SBL Student Policies

Well, the SBL decided to change its policies for student presentations. The exact changes are as follows:

1.      All students without a doctoral degree are required to submit to the Program Unit Chair the full text of the paper they will read. The paper will be submitted at the time of proposal.  Student proposers will submit the paper they intend to read, not a full-length article intended for written distribution.

2.      The number of sessions students can participate in will be limited to one. This policy pertains to participation as panelist, presenter, and respondent.

I do not dispute the second point as much as the first. I agree that students (and really most members) should only be permitted one presentation.

The policy was that first time presenters had to submit a full manuscript and have it approved by the Program Unit Chair. I understand the rational for this. But what does the SBL stand to gain by having all student members submit all their manuscripts to the Program Unit Chair? Is this is an undue burden on the Chairs, since presumably they will have to read all of these manuscripts? I think it is an undue burden on the student, who may not have a full manuscript ready by February for a November presentation. I will be interested to see what student involvement will be next year.


9 thoughts on “New SBL Student Policies

  1. The policy was that first time presenters had to submit a full manuscript and have it approved by the Program Unit Chair.

    Does “full-length article intended for written distribution” equal the full manuscript, and “the paper they intend to read” equal the shortened form? From what I understood, there was (at least) one presenter (a non-student PhD) who was only able to read the introduction and conclusion of the paper in the 25 minutes assigned.

    1. John –

      All I know is that when I presented my first paper, the chair wanted the full manuscript to be read at the session. This was to check the research and logical flow of the argument as far as I know.

      Do you have more information?

      1. John,

        Thanks for that. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more information. I’m trying to distinguish the difference between “the full text of the paper they will read” and “a full-length article intended for written distribution” in point 1 of Kutsko’s letter. The way I’m reading it, the “full-length” article seems to be something longer than the “full text of the paper [the student] will read.” So if they’re looking for the paper-to-read, then it seems this shouldn’t be as problematic for doctoral students who presumably have done a bit of writing that they could condense into a 25-minute presentation.

        The example I brought up above seems to indicate that some have submitted much longer papers than could be read in their allotted time. Even though in my example this was a person who already completed the PhD (and perhaps point 1 above doesn’t apply to those who already have completed a doctorate degree), I am thinking that maybe there were students who submitted 30-40 page papers. Point 1 would have been instituted to cut down on this.

        I could be wrong as I don’t have first-hand experience. I did know someone who developed an 18-page paper for presentation at SBL, but I’m not sure if the paper had to be reduced for submission. I haven’t had the chance to ask either.

        Does this sound right, or am I totally missing it?

      2. John –

        Well, my first paper was 23 pages and it had to be reduced significantly for the presentation. I find that I can read 17-18 pages in roughly 22 minutes if I keep at a good pace.

        You may be right about the motivation for point one, but it seems to me they are trying to guard the integrity of SBL by “mentoring” students in the process. The only problem with this is that student members are supposed to have all the rights and privileges of full members. Also, other bloggers have raised the question over fairness. Will a chair be more likely to accept or reject a presentation based on a reading of the full paper? This policy will undercut the peer review process, it seems to me.

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