Committee service is one of the most important volunteer roles in MLA. Committee volunteers study special topics for the association; manage plans, goals, strategies, programs, and projects; and select recipients for funding and awards.

About MLA Committees

What types of committees are there? What do they do?

  • 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.

How are committees appointed?

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.

What is the timeline for committee appointments?

  • November/December: members submit applications
  • January: applications reviewed and applicants recommended, based on member preferences, experience, and skills.
  • January/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).

What training and support do committee members get?

  • MLA provides incoming leader support with online orientation materials, plus a face-to-face virtual orientation
  • 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.

All Committees

View Committee charges through the links below. Individuals who serve in each area will be posted shortly.