Interest Group Requirements and Best Practices

Interest Groups (IGs) are valued by the SMT for the vital role that they play in stimulating research and dialogue within their sub-disciplines. They are considered to be independent organizations within the Society, free to determine their activities and the content of their meetings as they see fit. The Vice President functions as official liaison between the SMT and IGs associated with the SMT (By-Laws 2007). IG chairs are invited to contact the VP with any questions related to their group’s activities.

The SMT provides the following to each IG in good standing:

  1. one guaranteed two-hour slot and a meeting room at the Annual Meeting, for the purpose of the group’s business meeting. An IG may secure a second slot by submitting a session proposal to the Program Committee.
  2. Once a new IG has met at the Society’s Annual Meeting, and its chair or a representative has participated in the Interest Group Breakfast Meeting with the Vice President, the IG may request

    1. a webpage
    2. an e-mail list

    IGs should be run in a professional manner that adheres to standard practices for a scholarly organization. IGs must follow the procedures detailed under Requirements, and are encouraged to follow the listed Best Practices as well.


    1. Organizers of new IGs must register with the Vice President by providing the name of the group and contact information for its leadership. Chairs of new IGs are strongly encouraged to attend the Breakfast Meeting (#3 below) personally if possible.
    2. IG chairs must immediately inform the Vice President of any changes in leadership.
    3. IG chairs (or their representatives) must attend the Interest Group Breakfast Meeting with the Vice President at the Annual Meeting.
    4. IG chairs must report on the group’s activities. The chair’s brief annual report should include:
      • an evaluation of what is going well and challenges or items for improvement
      • the group’s activities, both at the Annual Meeting and during the year
      • the number of attendees (broken down by gender) at the group’s meeting during SMT’s Annual Meeting
      • any other items of interest

      This report should be submitted to the Vice President and to the IG’s members. Chairs should also disseminate a summary of the group’s Annual Meeting activities and business to their members after the meeting (for the benefit of those unable to attend).

    5. IGs with a presence on the SMT website must provide the following on their webpages: basic information about the group's purpose and activities, contact people, and how to join.
    6. IGs with SMT webpages must keep their pages up to date by notifying the website administrator of changes or additions.
    7. IG chairs must inform the Executive Director about the group's needs for the Annual Meeting by May 1 each year, including the following information: first and second choice of meeting dates/times, number of attendees, room set-up (lecture, roundtable, etc.), and equipment needs (audiovisual, piano). Note that the SMT may not be able to meet all of an IG’s AV or piano requests. Internet access is often not available in conference rooms.
    8. IG chairs must provide the website administrator with a listing of the group's Annual Meeting activities by Oct. 10, using the google form provided by the webmaster.
    9. The publicizing and citation of Interest Group activities, events, and awards will be worded to avoid confusion with official SMT activities. Chairs should inform presenters and award recipients of citation templates. Some examples follow.

      1. a citation template for papers presented in IG meetings during the SMT Annual Meeting:
        (This citation template applies only to papers that have not been selected by the SMT Program committee.)

        Author, Title, ___ Interest Group meeting, Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting, City, Date.
      2. events, such as seminars or conferences, sponsored by IGs:
        The event should be titled by its subject matter (e.g. "American Music") and identified as "sponsored by the ___ Interest Group of the Society for Music Theory."
        (rather than titled "SMT ___ IG American Music Conference")

    Best Practices

    Interest Groups should:

    1. Hold elections for chair periodically, typically every 2-4 years. A variety of people should be granted the responsibility of chairing on a rotating basis.
    2. Hold a business meeting at each SMT Annual Meeting.
    3. Maintain active discussions between Annual Meetings via an e-mail list, Facebook page, etc.
    4. Post information about the group and its activities on the webpage supplied by the SMT.
    5. Submit summaries of their activities, particularly those at the Annual Meeting, to the editor of the SMT Newsletter.
    6. No individual should serve as primary chair of more than one interest group at a time, and no individual should serve as chair or co- or vice-chair of more than two groups at a time.

    Interest Groups may:

    1. Use their allotted time at the Annual Meeting as a venue for scholarly presentations (these will not be listed in the SMT Program, since they will not be evaluated by the Program Committee).
    2. Propose a conference session to the Program Committee. Proposals should be developed collaboratively within the group.
    3. Create bibliographies or other resources of use to their members and to the Society as a whole. For an example, see the Popular Music Interest Group's set of resources.
    4. Recognize outstanding work in the subdiscipline.