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Learn the Basics of MLA Committees

The call for 2017-2018 volunteers is open November 1 - December 15, 2016.  Apply now.

Select the links below to answer basic questions about MLA's committees.

The word "committee" includes standing committees, subcommittees, ad hoc committees, juries, editorial boards, task forces, committees of the Board of Directors, and elected committees.

  • Standing committees have annual responsibilities for furthering MLA's plans, goals, strategies, programs, and projects.
  • Juries recommend recipients of awards, grants, scholarships, and fellowships.
  • Editorial boards are appointed to serve as peer-review and evaluation boards for MLA's publications.
  • Ad hoc committees are appointed for a special purpose and are discharged when their tasks are completed.
  • Task forces are appointed for a specific study or activity.
  • The Executive Committee is part of the MLA Board of Directors; the Nominating Committees is elected and chooses the annual election slate.

Other committees have special tasks and advise the board of directors or the appointed officers. Full descriptions of all committee activities appear in annual activity reports.

Member volunteerism, skills, and expertise are essential to help move MLA forward! Apply annually to serve on an MLA committee:

  • all MLA members are eligible to serve;
  • only Voting Members may be selected as committee chairs;
  • your background and skills as well as the needs of the committees are considered for appointments;
  • active participation in committee work on the local, regional, or national level improves your appointment options
  • applications are reviewed by current committee chairs, board members, and program staff
  • The president-elect makes final committee selections

Some committees require a combination of skills and knowledge not all members possess; it is sometimes necessary to recruit certain members with unique experience and expertise to serve on specific committees.

  • November 1 to December 15: members submit applications
  • December to mid-January: applications reviewed and applicants recommended, based on member preferences, experience, and skills.
  • Mid-January to February: MLA's president-elect reviews all recommendations, reconciles duplications, and makes final appointments.
  • March: Staff contacts tentative committee members with "willing to serve" agreements; appointees return agreements to MLA headquarters.
  • March to early April:  Staff liaisons inform committee chairs of final appointments; chairs invite new committee members to next meeting (annual meeting or virtual committee meeting as appropriate).
  • MLA provides incoming leader support with online orientation materials, plus a face-to-face orientation at MLA's annual meeting.
  • Committee chairs may also have a manual of established policies and procedures.
  • The charge of each committee should be specific enough to guide the chair and committee members in a definition of their goals, while being broad enough to allow for the varied tasks each committee undertakes.
  • A member of the board of directors serves as liaison to each committee, and headquarters staff members provide additional support.

Current MLA Committees and Task Forces