Professional Development Committee


The Professional Development Committee (PDC) promotes the professional development of the Society’s members and professional conduct within the discipline.


The Professional Development Committee currently administers a conference guide program (for new members to the SMT Annual Meeting), hosts a student breakfast at the Annual Meeting, and organizes a curriculum vitae review program, also at the Annual Meeting. The Professional Development Committee, as a committee of the Society designated with specific tasks to perform in service to the membership of the Society, may choose to present a session at the Society’s Annual Meeting as part of executing its mission.


The PDC consists of at least six persons (each for a term of three years), of which two members must graduate students at the time of their appointment. The current members are:

  • Chair: Stan Kleppinger (2018)
  • Judith Ofcarcik (2019), Brenda Ravenscroft (2019), Christopher Segall (2019), Peter Selinsky (2019), Molly Murdock (2020), Ellen Bakulina (2021), Justin Hoffman (2021)

Conference Guides

For many years the Professional Development Committee (PDC) has sponsored the Conference Guides Program, in which members of SMT who are attending one of their first conferences are paired with more experienced conference goers, who help orient them on the first day, introduce them to other scholars, and in general help them feel welcome at the conference and in the Society.

Student Breakfast

The PDC hosts a Student Breakfast during the Annual Meeting. In the past we have called this a Graduate Student Breakfast, but in recent years more and more undergraduates have wanted to come, so we have opened the event to students at both levels. The breakfast not only offers excellent food, juice, and coffee, but it is also a great way to meet students from other institutions, to begin to develop all-important professional networks, and to learn about conferences and publications that invite student participation.

CV Review Session

The SMT Professional Development Committee will host its annual CV and Cover Letter Review Session at the Columbus meeting, on Friday, November 8, at 1:00–3:00 p.m.,in Taft D. Our team of faculty reviewers will provide tailored feedback on CVs and other job documents. We warmly invite SMT members at all career stages—students, recent graduates, faculty members, independent scholars—to participate in the session.

The 2019 faculty reviewers are:

  • Michael Callahan, Michigan State University
  • Alan Dodson, Mount Allison University
  • Ji Yeon Lee, University of Houston
  • Rachel Lumsden, Florida State University
  • Gregory Marion, University of Saskatchewan
  • Stephen Slottow, University of North Texas
  • Jennifer Snodgrass, Appalachian State University
  • Steven Vande Moortele, University of Toronto

In order to participate, you do not need to sign up in advance! Simply drop by the session at any point with a copy of your CV, cover letter, and other job documents. Electronic documents are fine.

Over the years, the CV and Cover Letter Review Session has helped numerous SMT members prepare for the job market. The response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Whether you are actively seeking a position this year, anticipate applying for a job in the future, or simply would like to refine your existing documents, we hope you will attend the session!

If you have any questions, please direct them to the session coordinators Chris Segall ( and Ellen Bakulina (

Student Facebook Page

The PDC maintains the SMT student Facebook Page, which is intended specifically for students and first-year faculty. The Facebook Page, which replaces the PDC listserv of past years, provides a safe forum for new members of the professional community to discuss issues relevant to graduate study, applying for jobs, or other questions and concerns, without being shared with the entire SMT membership.

Meeting Proposals

For advice about preparing an effective SMT meeting proposal and for a broad spectrum of successful proposals from recent years, please see the Meeting Proposal page, hosted by the Professional Development Committee.

Poster Presentations

An SMT advisory committee has developed this set of guidelines for preparing and presenting a poster at SMT (and, by extension, other music theory conferences). They describe best practices and provide helpful tips to make the best use of this presentation format.

Information about Potentially Illegal Interview Questions

There continues to be a series of disturbing reports that job applicants in academia — including in the field of music theory — are asked illegal and inappropriate questions during their interviews. To address this matter, the SMT Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) has set up a web page on Guidelines for Interview Questions that provides information and guidance for those who are conducting interviews as well as for those who are being interviewed.

Special Sessions

Here is a list of some of the special sessions held at previous Annual Meetings of the SMT:

  • 2018: The Dynamics of the Job Interview (full powerpoint available here)
  • 2017: Preparing Articles For Publication
  • 2016: Navigating the First Years on the Job
  • 2015: Writing for Publication and Navigating Academia from Off Center
  • 2014: Writing in the Music Theory Classroom
  • 2013: Technology-Enhanced Instruction (short session)
    Classroom Teaching Videos for Job Applications (short session)
  • 2012: A Discussion on Mentoring and Being Mentored
  • 2011: Reaching Beyond the Field
  • 2010: Tenure and the Musical Scholar: Philosophical and Practical Issues
  • 2009: The Teaching Component of the Job Interview
  • 2008: Publishing in Music Theory and Musicology
  • 2007: Presenting at a Conference
  • 2006: Mid-career Renewal
  • 2005: Preparing an Effective Tenure Case
  • 2004: Writing for Publication in Music Theory

Relevant Links

Committee on the Status of Women (CSW)
Report on the demographics of the Society (prepared by the Ad Hoc Committee on Demographics)
Chronicle of Higher Education's Career Development Website
College Music Society (Main Site)
American Association of University Professors (National)

Other Resources

David Huron, Some Advice About Interacting with Journal Editors and Reviewers

David Huron, Some Advice About Journal Reviewing