Interest Groups

Interest Groups

1. Formation and Dissolution

2. Activities

3. How to Establish an Interest Group

4. Interest Group Council


1. Formation and dissolution

a. Interest groups reflect specific subject interests, geographical areas, or address other matters of common concern.

b. Ten or more members in good standing, by signed petition to the Board, may request recognition as an interest group. Board approval as to the establishment of an interest group is based upon (1) whether a proposed interest group complements the mission of the Society; (2) its relation to existing interest groups; and (3) other factors relative to the financial well-being of the Society and the success of its programs.

c. Interest groups renew their mandates at the end of each four-year period by resubmitting a signed petition to the Board.

d. Interest group membership is flexible, consisting of Society members who attend interest group meetings; these meetings are open to all conference attendees. Interest group members elect their own chairs who, unless otherwise specified, serve a four-year term. Interest group chairs, like other officers and committee chairs, must be current members of the Society.

e. The Interest Group Council, consisting of all chairs of interest groups within the Society, meets at the Society’s annual conference for organizational/informational purposes and to coordinate activities. Council meetings are chaired by the Interest Group Council Chair.

f. Any interest group shall be automatically dissolved if it fails to meet at the Society’s annual conference for four consecutive years without notifying the Interest Group Council Chair of exceptional circumstances.

g. The Board may revoke the interest group status of any group upon the recommendation of the group itself, or for cause if the group in question has been conducted in a manner contrary to the purposes of the Society, or if the Board determines that its continued existence might be detrimental to the best interests of the Society.

2. Activities

a. Interest groups should provide regular forums for the exchange of information and ideas specific to their area of interest. Such forums provide a unique opportunity for outreach that is often not found in other activities of the annual conference. An interest group session at the annual spring conference may be organizational, programmatic, or provide an informal forum for the exchange of information and opinions among members; it may also offer several of these options within a single session. Interest group sessions are not intended to mirror conventional panels; instead, interest groups are encouraged to design alternate formats including, but not limited to, roundtable discussions, sessions combining performance and scholarship, sessions discussing a significant publication, and sessions centered on a key debate.

b. The Conference Program Committee will allot a time slot on the program for half the number of active interest groups each year. Proposals for interest group sessions will be submitted through the regular conference program process, which usually imposes a June 15 deadline. Time slots will be given to the interest groups who submit requests by the deadline for conference proposals, with preference given to groups who were not included on the program at the previous conference. Although the content of the informal interest group sessions is not formally evaluated by the Program Committee, the Program Chair and Committee determine the position, length, and location of sessions at the conference. Once accepted by the Program Committee, the session will be listed in the program. Interest group sessions are customarily scheduled simultaneously with other conference events.

c. Interest groups are also encouraged to propose regular paper sessions or panels at annual conferences, either by themselves or in alliance with other groups. These are submitted for review by the deadline for program proposals and will be judged on the same criteria as other proposals before the program committee.

d. Interest groups are encouraged to establish their own pages on the Society’s web site, linked to the Society's homepage, as well as to submit periodic reports to the Bulletin on interest group activities and concerns. The Society reserves to the right to edit these pages, if necessary, in keeping with its general guidelines.

e. It is the responsibility of interest group chairs to coordinate communication between members of their respective groups, and to inform the Interest Group Council Chair of any ongoing developments.

f. Publications proposed by interest groups must be submitted to the Publications Council Chair for review if the Society’s name is to be used. Following approval of the Board upon recommendation by the Publications Council, the following wording should be used: "Prepared by the [name] Interest Group of the Society for American Music."

g. Any cooperative ventures of interest groups involving other organizations, or other public activities in which the Society’s name is referenced or displayed, require prior permission from the Society President and/or Board. No financial commitment of any kind may be entered without prior approval of the Executive Director and the Board. All public announcements will state that the activities have been initiated by "[name] Interest Group of the Society for American Music."

3. How to establish an Interest Group: Information for conveners and newly elected chairs

a. Conveners should discuss the possibility of establishing a particular Interest Group with the Interest Group Council Chair. They should consider whether the topic or area of concern of the proposed interest group might logically fit within the sphere of activity of an existing interest group.

b. A signed petition should be submitted to the Board by the convener requesting recognition as an interest group. This may take the form of a paper document, signed by ten or more Society members; or ten letters or emails from individual members supporting the Group’s establishment. Materials should be duplicated and the originals forwarded to the Interest Group Council Chair. The Council Chair then informs the President that the petition requirement has been met. The President, in consultation with the Executive Committee, may decide to recognize the new interest group pending formal approval by the Board. At this point the new interest group will be considered eligible to request time and space for an organizational meeting at the next annual conference of the Society.

c. The convener is responsible for setting up an organizational meeting at the next annual conference and ensuring that a chair is duly elected. All petition-signers and other interested individuals should be notified through emails and the listserv of the time and place of the meeting. In order for this initial meeting to be scheduled for a formal session on the program, the deadline for conference session proposals must be met.

d. The convener should plan to attend the Interest Group Council meeting at the annual conference. The elected Chair of the new Interest Group should be added to the Interest Group Council listserv.

e. After the initial meeting of the interest group, the newly elected Chair notifies the Council Chair of the official name of the new group. The Council Chair notifies the editor of the Directory and the Bulletin, and the Society's Webmaster, so the name may be added to the official list of interest groups.

f. The newly elected chair should submit a brief report to the Bulletin editor describing the topic and proposed activities of the new group.

g. The Interest Group Council Chair must be copied on all correspondence involving interest group matters and be informed of ongoing activities of the interest group.

4. Interest Group Council

a. The Interest Groups Council meets at the annual conference to coordinate efforts between the various groups and to discuss potential concerns or questions relayed by the chairs of the interest groups. The chairs from each Interest Group sit on this council. The Board Liaison, a member of the Board, serves as Chair.