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 sends general information about the Society and its publications to appropriate journals and other news media, announcing Society activities. All current information and announcements should also be sent to the Executive Director for posting on the Society's home page. The Public Relations Committee should make full use of the Internet and email listservs to promote the activities of the Society, including announcements concerning awards, fellowships, and subventions.  The chair is a member of the Outreach Council and Membership Committee (ex-officio).

b. Membership

The Committee is comprised of four to five members, who represent the diversity of the Society.  They represent the Society at local professional meetings, staff exhibits as appropriate, and help the Executive Director with tasks as needed.  The Society’s web editor is a member of the Public Relations Committee.  The committee is responsible for maintaining the Society web presence and website, Facebook page, and any future social media accounts.

c. Procedures

The Chair works with the committee to determine approaches for advertising in various ways that will attract members and non-members to the Society and specifically the annual conference. These projects may involve redesigning promotional materials, locating advertising opportunities in the conference city, promoting special events occurring as part of the annual conference, and other tasks as needed.


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.