Standing Committees

Outreach Council


Membership Committee

Public Relations Committee

Committee for Diversity and Inclusion

Education Committee

Student Forum

Forum for Early Career Professionals

Interest Groups Council



1. Membership Committee

a. Charge.

The Membership Committee coordinates efforts to attract new members and retain current ones for the Society. The Chair is a member of the Long Range Planning Committee.

b. Membership

The Committee is comprised of six to eight members, who represent the diversity of the Society in the Americas and abroad, as appropriate to reflect the general membership. These appointees, who may include a student, become official ambassadors for the Society in their area. They represent the Society at local professional meetings, staff exhibits as appropriate, and help the Executive Director staff the exhibit at the annual conference of the Society. They also assist the Membership Chair in various other ways, including special initiatives. Members are appointed for four years, which can be renewed.

c. Procedures

The Chair works with the committee to determine approaches for reaching potential members and plans projects that will attract and maintain membership. These projects many involve redesigning promotional material, writing short articles, organizing exhibits, promotional mailings, in-Society activities which will improve service to members, or other appropriate activities.

d. Promotional materials

The Membership Committee oversees the preparation of promotional material designed to educate the public about the goals and activities of the Society, and attract members to the Society or subscribers to JSAM. Materials are produced in consultation with the Executive Director. The Board must approve such material before it may be printed and distributed.

2. Public Relations Committee

a. Charge.

The Public Relations Committee provides general information about the Society, its activities, and its publications to Society members, appropriate publications, websites, and other media. The committee is responsible for maintaining the Society web presence and website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and any future social media accounts. The Public Relations Committee should make full use of the internet and selected forms of digital communications to promote the activities of the Society. The Public Relations Committee is responsible for distributing all calls for papers, awards, fellowships, and subventions. It is responsible for liaising with the Local Arrangements committee for each meeting to ensure local media coverage. Members of the PR Committee represent and promote the Society at professional meetings of SAM and related societies, including but not limited to the American Musicological Society, Society for Music Theory, and Society for Ethnomusicology; staff exhibits as appropriate; and help the Executive Director in communicating with members, conference attendees, and other stakeholders as needed. The Committee maintains a Style Guide for internal and external use in communicating about the Society to its publics. As part of its role in outreach, recruitment, and information, the PR Committee also shares relevant information from other societies in the humanities with SAM members via social media.

b. Membership

The Committee is comprised of four to five members, who represent the diversity of the Society. One member of the committee should always be a graduate student. One member of the PR Committee serves as a liaison to the Local Arrangements Committee for each annual meeting. Committee members must be members of the Society in good standing for the years in which they serve on the committee. The Society’s web editor is a member of the Public Relations Committee. The Chair of the PR Committee is a member of the Outreach Council and Membership Committee (ex-officio).

c. Procedures

Led by the Chair, the committee members will determine each year’s goals, both related to and separate from PR Committee responsibilities for the annual conference. Members may be assigned individual or group tasks to achieve these goals and the general objectives of the Charge. These may involve designing promotional materials, locating advertising and promotional opportunities in the conference city, promoting special events occurring as part of the annual conference, and other tasks as needed.

Information and announcements from the Board should be sent to the PR Committee for posting on the Society's home page, the SAM Facebook page, and the SAM Twitter feed.  

The PR Committee will work with individual Chairs of fellowship and award committees to ensure a thorough PR plan for each individual award. Chairs are welcome to suggest listservs to the PR Committee Chair; alternatively, committee chairs may advertise on listservs / social media that are not part of the PR Committee’s plan.  

The PR Committee will seek approval from the Board and Executive Director before publicly distributing information sent exclusively to SAM members via email and not intended for non-member consumption; and any material that could be deemed political in nature, including but not limited to Board responses to government proposals, actions, or laws; or other information that is deemed potentially sensitive by the PR committee.  

The PR Committee is responsible for posting and promoting the following, which do not require Board approval: SAM conference CFPs; updates of conference-related information as it is provided by the Executive Director and Assistant Conference Director; news or new information about SAM that SAM posts on the SAM website; and the issuance of SAM publications including JSAM and the Bulletin.

The PR Committee may create and/or share other messages such as the following without Board or Executive Director approval and according to common sense: CFPs from related societies in all areas of ethno/music/ology/theory, (Pan-) American cultural studies, and similar; announcements about ethno/music/ology/theory conferences in the Americas; news items related to the history, study, or performance of, or education about, musics of the Americas, including but not limited to performances, recordings, obituaries, etc.); member news and congratulations on awards, projects, etc.; and similar materials.

The accounts that SAM follows on Twitter and Facebook shape the Society’s identity on the platform. SAM will follow members of the Society, university presses, other scholarly societies, and individuals working in American music studies. SAM does not follow individual musicians, bands, or other groups unless they promote scholarship, awareness of, or education about musics of the Americas.

d. Society for American Music Social Media Best Practices & Policies

SAM seeks to welcome all individuals and institutions interested in its mission of supporting the study, teaching, creation and dissemination of all musics in the Americas. As a scholarly, collegial, and inclusive organization, we serve a wide and diverse array of academics, librarians, composers, performers, and members of the general public.

SAM uses Facebook and Twitter to communicate with its members in addition to official emails from the Executive Director and Board members. SAM especially relies on social media to make announcements during the annual conference. SAM's official Facebook page is located at SAM's official Twitter handle is @SocAmMusic. The official hashtag for SAM conferences is #AmMusic[+ last two digits of the year]; for example: #AmMusic18. The SAM PR committee and Executive Director maintain the Society's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

SAM encourages the use of social media to communicate information about the Society, its events, and items of interest to its members. Social media use-that of Twitter in particular-during the annual SAM conference can help facilitate intellectual exchange, assist in creating a virtual conference space, and boost interest in and attendance of the meeting. To help create and sustain a collegial and productive environment on social media, we ask that you adhere to the following policies.

Facebook: SAM posts information from the Executive Director and Board to the Facebook page. We post relevant announcements from related societies in music and cultural scholarship. We also share news and information about our members, as well as events and opportunities involving or of particular interest to SAM members. To post information you'd like SAM to share on Facebook, please post it to our Facebook page and a moderator will address it within 5 days.

Twitter: SAM posts information from the Executive Director and Board to Twitter. We also post relevant announcements from other societies in music and cultural scholarship. We share news and information about events and opportunities involving or of particular interest to SAM members. To share information with SAM and SAM followers on Twitter, please include SAM's Twitter handle in the message. We will try to re-Tweet posts that relate to our members and their interests, but, due to the speed of Twitter, we cannot guarantee re-Tweets.

Consent: Audio or video recordings of conference sessions should not be made without the permission of all participants in the session. All speakers or other participants may ask that their paper, comments, slides, or questions not be Tweeted or otherwise posted to social media. Please ask people for consent before taking, posting, or tagging photographs. Session chairs should ask presenters in advance if they want to opt in or opt out of allowing tweets, and chairs should include this information in introducing each presenter. If the presenter has a placard at the podium with the Twitter bird on it, you have permission to tweet.

Professional Tone: Please think before you post. Tweets and posts that use the official hashtag are considered online extensions of the conference proceedings, and so we ask that all social media users remember that their comments are both public and represent the Society. The tone of Tweets should be respectful and professional, as if Tweeters were speaking directly to the presenter.

Quotations: Live-tweeting is often regarded as a transcript of spoken words or an accurate paraphrase of spoken words. Tweeters should take this into account when live-tweeting and be careful as to how they present the words and ideas of others. In live-tweeting, always include the presenter's full name or Twitter handle for clarity in each individual Tweet.

Harassment: Harassment is a repeated pattern of behavior that includes but is not limited to disparaging or discriminatory comments about identity (such as race, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or disability); unwanted photography, recording, or live-posting; inappropriate physical contact; intimidation or stalking; inappropriate sexual comments or attention, including the display of sexual images in public areas; bullying; making threats (overt or implicit) to professional or social status; mobbing; or encouraging any of these behaviors. We expect SAM members and event participants to help make our Society and conference safe and constructive places and to avoid harassing behavior. If you are being harassed or witness another member or attendee being harassed, please contact the SAM Executive Director, President, or Vice-President.


3. Committee for Diversity and Inclusion

a. Charge

The Committee for Diversity and Inclusion seeks to foster a welcoming and inclusive community throughout all Society activities and among all Society members. It embraces and promotes diversity of race, ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and religion, among other expressions. The committee works toward cultivating the wide spectrum of viewpoints, methods, and topics of scholarship that characterize the study of all musics of the Americas. The committee is charged with ensuring equitable participation, representation, and support of colleagues from underrepresented groups and those whose work addresses topics and relies on methodologies underrepresented within American music studies.

b. Membership

The committee comprises six Society members. Three committee members (selected from the pool of senior and junior Society members) rotate in staggered three-year terms, with each serving as chair during the final year of their appointment. Two additional committee members serve in non-rotating, staggered three-year terms.  The sixth member, representing the Society’s student members, serves for up to three years, or until no longer a student--whichever comes first.

c. Procedures

In addition to developing its own objectives in support of diversity and inclusion--including but not limited to diversifying the Society membership, conducting outreach and recruitment efforts, building bridges with other societies, mentoring students and junior scholars, and fostering a more inclusive Society--the committee may consider teaming with other Society committees to pursue joint goals. 

In 2014, the SAM Board of Trustees established an endowment fund that generates $2,000 annually to support the Committee’s initiatives and designated a single panel on the annual conference schedule to be programmed by the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.  The committee is responsible for determining how to spend the $2,000 annual allotment in accordance with the committee charge.  The funding may be used for a wide variety of purposes, including but not limited to expenditures related to bringing a special guest to the conference (e.g. travel, lodging, conference registration); supporting diversity outreach efforts; defraying conference reception costs; supporting workshops and other special events; and so on.  Committee expenditures will be handled in conjunction with the Executive Director and must be fully outlined in each committee report to the Board. The shape and content of the CDI panel at the annual conference is determined by the committee; however, complete information on the panel, including a 100-word abstract and list of participant(s), must be provided to the conference Program Chair by the first of July in advance of the following spring’s annual meeting.



4. Education Committee

a. Charge

The Education Committee develops and oversees activities of the Society intended to improve and increase the ability of educators to include American music in their curricula. Since 2015-2016, the SAM Board of Trustees has designated $1,500 annually to the Education Committee to pursue their committee initiatives. 

b. Membership

The committee includes five members who serve for four years eachon a rotating basis: two senior members, two junior members, and one student member.  Each of the two senior members will serve as chair for the last two years of their appointments (with the exception of the first person to serve as chair of the committee, who will serve as chair for the first two years of appointment, then rotate off). Each of the junior committee members will serve in non-rotating roles.  The student member will be eligible to serve for four years, or until they have a doctorate in hand, whichever comes first.

c. Procedures

Activities may include promoting faculty development in American music through summer seminars; lobbying for the inclusion of American music in schools from preschool through university levels; fostering of teaching of American music in non-degree educational and recreational organizations, such as scouting or senior citizen organizations; and collaborating with museums, historical societies, and performing arts organizations to include American music in their educational activities. The committee welcomes ideas and suggestions from the Interest Group on Pedagogy, but it is a separate entity from the Interest Group and reports to the Board. In 2016, the Education Committee introduced the SAM Digital Lectures in American Music, a competitive program supporting a series of online video lectures on American music topics for general audiences.

5. Student Forum

a. Charge

All students who join SAM are also automatically members of the Student Forum. The Student Forum is run by two co-chairs, with one selected each year at the annual conference. The Silent Auction is planned and run by the Student Forum for the benefit of the Student Travel Endowment Fund. The unique interests of students, and the Society's interest in students as future members, are addressed by the Student Forum. Responsibilities include sponsoring a session at the annual conference on a topic of the Forum's choice, meeting all program deadlines; attending the student breakfast at the annual conference; organizing the annual Silent Auction, of which students are the primary beneficiaries (see Funds and Awards); maintaining a web page on the Society's website and a presence on Facebook; and writing a Student Forum column for the Bulletin .

b. Procedures

The designated co-chair works with the Executive Director and the Associate Conference Manager on exhibit space and schedule, makes certain that the auction schedule is listed in the Program book, attracts contributions through publicity in the Bulletin, the conference flyer, and other appropriate media.

The Forum is led by two Co-chairs, who shall be selected by their predecessors in consultation with the Board Liaison (see Student Forum Liaison under Current Appointees).

1) The student forum Chairs shall have been members of the Society for at least one year at the time of appointment and shall maintain membership throughout the term of office.

2) Neither of the new Chairs shall be enrolled at the same institution as the outgoing chair, nor as each other. Students may not continue as Co-chairs once they have graduated from their programs.

3) The Chairs shall hold office for a maximum of three years. The Co-chair appointments should be staggered so that both Chairs do not leave office in the same year.

4) Registration fees for the national conference will be waived for the Co-chairs.


6. Forum for Early Career Professionals

a. Charge

The Forum for Early-Career Professionals (FECP) provides mentoring, professional development, and support for the various issues related to the early stages of careers that intersect with American music.

b. Membership

All current SAM members who are in the early stages of their careers (defined as ten years past graduation, regardless of age, and includes professionals recently re-entering their career field after an extended leave) are eligible to participate in the FECP.

c. Mission

As an inclusive group, FECP encourages participation from diverse professions intersecting with American music, including but not limited to performers, composers, librarians, editors, entrepreneurs, administrators, educators, and scholars. The Forum strives to cultivate a safe, inviting environment for people in a variety of job positions, including (but not limited to): independent scholars, performers, composers, adjunct, part-time, full-time, non-tenure-track, and tenure-track positions. The annual FECP discussion meeting will provide a platform for informal meaningful discourse, which may revolve around a central topic such as balance, creative activity and research, technology, service, strengthening skills to excel within varied professions, etc. These discussions will inform the topic of choice for a panel on the SAM program shared with the Student Forum and biennially coordinated by each group separately. The FECP encourages its members to be fully integrated within SAM as participating members of the society: supporting the banquet and opening reception, meeting people of varied backgrounds and years of membership within the society, serving on committees, and serving the needs of the society in general. As such, the FECP co-chairs regularly coordinate with the executive director to assist with various projects, such as collecting syllabi for the website.

d. Procedures

The leadership consists of three co-chairs with three-year terms that overlap by one year. One new co-chair is elected at each meeting, replacing the retiring chair, and that new chair begins service immediately after the meeting. The term for each co-chair ends after the meeting for her or his final year of service. (For example, the co-chair elected at the 2012 Little Rock meeting will assume duties after the meeting, and serve and plan for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 meetings. Service ends after the 2015 Sacramento meeting.) In the event that one co-chair could not attend an annual meeting, two co-chairs would nevertheless plan for the meeting. The co-chairs present a brief report during the SAM business meeting. They also submit reports to the SAM Board. The newest co-chair will be trained by the two senior co-chairs. The next senior co-chair oversees and delegates. The most senior co-chair advises and assists.

At every annual meeting the FECP will hold a “discussion meeting” to briefly elect a new incoming co-chair and discuss a specific topic of interest to early career professionals. The FECP also host a dinner to discuss ideas with our colleagues and build camaraderie. Effective at the 2013 Little Rock meeting, the FECP shares a panel on the program with the student forum, called “Panel for Students and Early Career Professionals.” Every other year (beginning at the 2014 Lancaster meeting) the FECP co-chairs will be in charge of selecting the topic, panelists, and moderators.

7. Interest Groups Council

a. Charge

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.

b. Membership

The chairs from each Interest Group sit on this council. The Board Liaison, a member of the Board, serves as Chair.