The WPSA annual meeting not only offers the opportunity for traditional research presentations and roundtable discussions, but also a place for interested groups to schedule special events and workshops. On the Wednesday right before the conference begins, there is limited space available to accommodate groups who wish to hold workshops or offer short courses. In addition, if you are part of a research community that is interested in holding a meeting in the spring, we may be able to accommodate your group by coordinating a mini-conference within our annual conference. Past mini-conferences have been highly praised for providing more coherent panels, better feedback from discussants, and fewer no-shows among panelists. There is also the opportunity to host receptions, business meetings, and other special events. Because we are a small organization, we are able to give close, personal attention to special events. For information about these opportunities, please contact Richard Clucas ( or Julio Castilleja (

Workshop and Mini-Conferences Policies

The WPSA is generally flexible in scheduling special events to accommodate the needs of individual groups. The main requirement we have is that we expect participants in special events to register for the regular conference. This is true for both Wednesday workshops and mini-conferences. We do not charge groups directly to hold their special events. However, we are only able to cover the costs associated with hosting these events by having participants register for the conference. Of course, if the group wants to order food and beverages, they will be charged for the costs of what they order.

For mini-conferences, we currently require that the organizers schedule at least two panels. If a group only wants to schedule a single panel, we ask that the organizers submit their proposal through the regular panel proposal process. While we do allow mini-conferences that are only two panels, we have found that a two-panel mini-conference may be as easily accommodated in the regular program. Mini-conferences that have at least three panels tend to be more dynamic. We also encourage the organizers of mini-conferences to use this opportunity to pursue something that is larger and more substantial than in is possible in regular panels, such as organizing an edited volume or an omnibus dataset. Mini-conferences are also a good way to launch an effort to build a new research community.

Waiving Fees for Special Guests

The WPSA’s formal policy is that all participants at the annual conference pay the registration fee. The fee is even charged to association officers, including the President and Executive Director. One of the rare exceptions is for some special guest speakers. There have been some occasions in which a panel or workshop organizer has wanted to invite someone from the political world to meet with their panel or group. Inviting a special guest can add a lot to the success of the conference, so we encourage it. However, we do not want to waive the fee to someone who should be paying it like all the other participants. We want to be fair. Our general policy is that a special guest will not be asked to pay the conference fee if the individual: (1) is not a member of the association, (2) is not a political scientist, (3) has been invited to attend the conference as a guest to share their insider knowledge, (4) would not otherwise attend, and (5) won't likely participate in other meeting events except those to which they have been invited. If you want to invite a guest speaker, please contact Richard Clucas, Executive Director, at