What does SEM do?
SEM is a U.S.-based organization with an international membership of over 1800 individuals dedicated to the study of all types of music from diverse humanistic and social scientific perspectives. SEM holds an Annual Meeting in October or November that features scholarly presentations and discussions, films, workshops, concerts, and the award of prizes for outstanding work in ethnomusicology. The ten Regional Chapters of the Society also hold annual conferences, between January and May. SEM publishes Ethnomusicology, one of the leading journals in the field, publishes the SEM Newsletter, and maintains information and resources on its website. In addition, SEM develops special projects to increase knowledge and appreciation of music throughout the world.
Who belongs to SEM?
SEM’s individual members include scholars, teachers, students, performers, media professionals, museum specialists, archivists, librarians, and administrators from such disciplines as musicology, anthropology, folklore, cultural studies, ethnic and area studies, acoustics, and music education. In addition, the Society has more than 900 institutional members, consisting primarily of libraries.
How can I join SEM and what are the benefits?
Anyone with an interest in music can join SEM. Individual members of SEM receive subscriptions to Ethnomusicology and the SEM Newsletter. They are also entitled to vote in Society elections, join various component groups within the Society, receive Society-related discounts, and gain access to the members-only area of the SEM website, which includes a membership directory, job announcements, and other resources. For information about membership rates and to join online, click here. If you have further questions about membership, please contact the SEM Business Office Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org at (812) 855-6672.
What are SEM’s publications?
SEM’s main publications are Ethnomusicology, a peer-reviewed journal that is issued three times a year, and the SEM Newsletter, which is issued quarterly and includes information about current activities within SEM and ethnomusicology. SEM also publishes books as well as online resources on its website. Click here for more information, including details on submissions to the journal and newsletter.
How can I learn about prizes awarded by SEM?
SEM and its Sections and Regional Chapters award more than 20 prizes in support of work in ethnomusicology. Click here for more information, including details on application procedures and deadlines.
What component groups of SEM can I join?
Members of SEM may join a wide range of Sections and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) dedicated to the music of various regions of the world or to particular topics such as applied ethnomusicology, education, popular music, and medical ethnomusicology. You can also join one of SEM’s ten Regional Chapters, which cover the entire United States. For more information about Sections, SIGs, and Chapters, click here.
How are Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Sections formed?
SEM members with a common geographic or topical interest can form a SIG through their own initiative. When a SIG becomes larger and wants to collect dues for special projects, it can become a Section. SIGs and Sections may hold meetings and sponsor panels at the SEM Annual Meeting. The establishment of a SIG or a Section requires the approval of an application form by the SEM Board of Directors. For more information, consult with the Board of Directors’ Member-at-Large, Groups. Click here for contact information.
How can I contribute a donation to SEM?
When you purchase or renew an SEM membership, you can add a contribution to the Society’s General Fund (for operating expenses) and/or its Sound Future Campaign (for special projects and the long-term growth of the organization). You may also donate online at any time (click here) or send a check to the Society for Ethnomusicology, Morrison 005, Indiana University, 1165 E. Third St., Bloomington, IN 47405. All donations are tax-deductible. SEM receives many donations every year. Thank you for your support!
How can I sponsor SEM membership for a person in a soft-currency country?
You can sponsor a membership for someone else when you purchase or renew your own membership. There is a box on the membership form for the required information. If you have any questions, please contact the SEM Business Office Coordinator at email@example.com or at (812) 855-6672.
Where can I study ethnomusicology?
There are many programs throughout the world for the study of ethnomusicology. For a guide to some of these programs, click here. Be sure to also visit the websites of individual programs for the most current information. Every program in ethnomusicology has its unique objectives, strengths, and resources. Contact individuals at several programs to determine which ones would be best for you.
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What is the SEM Board of Directors?
The SEM Board of Directors is an elected body charged with the overall governance of the Society. It sets policies for the organization and oversees its finances. The Board meets twice a year, once in conjunction with the SEM Annual Meeting and once during the spring. The Board also conducts business electronically throughout the year.
Members of the Board include the President; President Elect/Past President; Secretary; Treasurer; 1st Vice President (publications); 2nd Vice President (publicity and outreach); Member-at-Large, Prizes; and Member-at-Large, Groups. Board terms last two years, with the exception of the President whose effective term is four years (one year as President-Elect, two years as President, and one year as Past President). Board office terms are staggered so that only two or three individuals rotate off in any given year. For a list of current Board officers and contact information, click here.
How is the Board elected?
Each year the Board Nominating Committee prepares a slate of candidates for Board offices that will become vacant that year. To be eligible for a Board office, an individual must have served on the SEM Council (see below). Any SEM member may recommend names to the Board Nominating Committee for consideration. In addition, anyone who has served on the Council may recommend himself/herself to the Board Nominating Committee for consideration. In May the SEM membership votes for candidates through an online election. Individuals without Internet access receive a paper ballot. The results of the election are announced at the General Membership Meeting during SEM’s Annual Meeting in October or November. Terms of service begin following the General Membership Meeting, which is usually held on a Saturday.
Click here for a list of the members of the Board Nominating Committee and for contact information for the Committee Chair.
What is the SEM Council?
The SEM Council is an elected body that provides advice to the Board of Directors. It addresses the long-range plans of the Society and also communicates the general concerns of the membership to the Board in the form of recommendations. The Council meets each year in conjunction with the SEM Annual Meeting and conducts business electronically throughout the year. The Council consists of 42 members who serve three-year terms. Terms are staggered so that at least 12 regular members and 2 student members are elected each year. Every two years, the members of the Council elect a Chairperson and Secretary to coordinate their activities. Click here for a list of Council members and contact information.
How is the Council elected?
Each year the Council Nominating Committee prepares a slate of candidates for a minimum of 12 regular and 2 student position vacancies on the Council. Any SEM member may recommend names to the Council Nominating Committee for consideration. In addition, anyone may recommend himself/herself to the Council Nominating Committee for consideration. In May the SEM membership votes for candidates through an online election. Individuals without Internet access receive a paper ballot. The results of the election are announced at the General Membership Meeting during SEM’s Annual Meeting in October or November. Terms of service begin following the General Membership Meeting, which is usually held on a Saturday.
Click here for a list of the members of the Council Nominating Committee and for contact information for the Committee Chair.
How many times can someone serve on the Board or Council?
There are no limits on how many times an individual can serve on the Board or Council. However, the Board President, Board Vice Presidents, and Council members cannot be nominated to succeed themselves. A goal of both the Board Nominating Committee and the Council Nominating Committee is to recruit new candidates for service on the Board and Council.
What are SEM Committees and who serves on them?
SEM has several Standing Committees that carry out Society activities, such as nominating officers and assisting with the Annual Meeting, or that address issues of ongoing importance to the Society, such ethics, diversity, and student concerns. Occasionally, SEM establishes an Ad-Hoc Committee to work on a specific project. In addition, SEM has several Prize Committees that are responsible for the review of submissions for Society prizes and for the selection of prize winners. Click here for a list of SEM committees.
The Board President appoints all committee members, in consultation with other members of the Board. If you are interested in serving on a committee, please indicate your interest on your membership renewal form or contact the SEM Business Office Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who determined the procedures for the governance of SEM?
The procedures for the governance of SEM are stated in the Society’s Constitution and By-Laws. The founding members of SEM drafted the original Constitution in 1955. Since then, the SEM membership has voted to amend the Constitution on several occasions. To read the SEM Constitution and By-Laws, click here.
What is the SEM Business Office and who works there?
The SEM Business Office is responsible for both the day-to-day operations and long-term advancement of the Society. Since 1988 the Business Office has been located at Indiana University, which provides in-kind support to the Society. A full-time Executive Director executes the policies of the Board of Directors; manages the finances, programs, and special projects of the Society; and collaborates with the Board and with committees on the long-range planning and development of the Society. A full-time Business Office Coordinator is responsible for SEM’s membership services and accounting, and assists with other operations of the Society. Graduate students at Indiana University also assist the Business Office on a part-time basis. For contact information for the Business Office, click here.
Whom should I contact if I have a question or concern about SEM?
Please contact the Business Office Coordinator at email@example.com or at (812) 855-6672. She will either answer your question or forward it to someone who can help you. SEM welcomes communications from its members and the general public!
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What SEM meetings can I attend?
The SEM Annual Meeting is held every October or November in a different city in the United States, or occasionally in another country. This conference currently attracts more than 1000 participants. SEM’s 10 Regional Chapters hold their annual conferences between January and May. For information about the SEM Annual Meeting, click here. For information about Chapter conferences, click here.
How are sites selected for the SEM Annual Meeting?
The Board of Directors selects sites based on suggestions and proposals from the Society membership. Among the criteria for selection are: 1) a university that is willing to serve as the host institution for the meeting, 2) a hotel or other facility with suitable meeting rooms, 3) a hotel with sufficient guest room capacity, and 4) a location with a good airport, restaurants, and attractions of interest to SEM members. A university that is interested in submitting a proposal to host an Annual Meeting should contact the SEM Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 855-8779. SEM plans its Annual Meetings at least three or four years in advance. For a list of past and future Annual Meeting sites, click here.
What is the Local Arrangements Committee and how is it selected?
The LAC consists of individuals from the Annual Meeting host institution and other nearby institutions. The LAC organizes special events (such as concerts and tours), assists with the opening night reception, and contributes to the conference’s publicity and promotion. If program sessions do not take place in a hotel, the LAC also assists with meeting rooms. The SEM Board President appoints the LAC and its Chair, based on a proposal from a host institution and in consultation with the SEM Board.
What is the Program Committee and how is it selected?
The PC is responsible for the content of the Annual Meeting’s official sessions, such as paper presentations, panels, roundtables, film screenings, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops. The PC determines a conference theme, reviews all abstracts submitted for the conference, accepts and rejects abstracts, and arranges accepted presentations into a four-day program. The SEM Board President appoints the PC and its Chair, in consultation with the SEM Board. Generally, PC Chairs have a record of previous PC service.
Who else is involved in the management of the SEM Annual Meeting?
SEM has an annual contract with Indiana University Conferences, a professional meeting planning service that is part of Indiana University. On behalf of SEM, Indiana University Conferences negotiates a hotel contract, manages conference abstract submission and registration, and assists with the overall planning and operations of the Annual Meeting. The SEM Business Office also works on the Annual Meeting and coordinates the activities of the Local Arrangements Committee, Program Committee, and Indiana University Conferences.
How can I participate in the SEM Annual Meeting?
A Call for Proposals is posted in the Current Conference section of the website in mid-January. This document provides detailed instructions on how to submit an abstract for different types of presentations. Abstracts are submitted online, with the due date occurring in mid-March. However, it is not necessary to give a presentation at the Annual Meeting in order to attend. Anyone may register for the conference and attend all of its sessions. For more information about submitting an abstract or attending an upcoming Annual Meeting, click here.
How are presentations selected for the SEM Annual Meeting?
The Program Committee reviews all abstracts submitted for the Annual Meeting through a blind, peer-review process and is responsible for all selections. To increase the chances of the acceptance of your abstract, give careful attention to all of the instructions in the Call for Proposals. Submission of an abstract relevant to the conference theme(s) will also increase your chances. Finally, abstracts submitted as part of a panel or other organized session have a higher acceptance rate than those submitted individually.
Due to the large volume of abstracts received and the limited number of presentation slots in the program, many strong abstracts are not accepted each year. If your abstract is not accepted, you are strongly encouraged to submit it again the following year.
Does the Program Committee give extra weight to proposals for Annual Meeting sessions sponsored by component groups of SEM?
The Program Committee does not give extra weight to proposals sponsored by SEM Sections, Special Interest Groups, Committees, or other component groups. However, both the Program Committee and the SEM Board encourage sponsored proposals as a means by which SEM groups can participate in shaping the content of the Annual Meeting.
Why is there a registration fee for the SEM Annual Meeting and how is it determined?
The production of SEM’s Annual Meeting involves many large expenses, such as contracted conference management personnel, meeting room space, AV equipment and personnel, food service, printing, and local transportation. SEM calculates registration fees for each Annual Meeting based on estimates of total expenses, attendance, and supplementary conference income. Also, individuals who pay the regular registration fee help to subsidize the heavily discounted student registration fee.
Why do I have to be an SEM member to present at the Annual Meeting?
SEM believes that membership in the Society facilitates and enhances communication within the field of ethnomusicology. Through SEM membership, an individual receives the Society’s journal and newsletter, is entitled to vote in Society elections, and is encouraged to participate in the Society’s many component groups. This wider engagement with the Society strengthens the quality of presentations at the Annual Meeting.
How can an SEM Section or other group sponsor a presenter’s membership and registration fee?
Sections and other groups may encourage a non-member of SEM to submit an abstract for the Annual Meeting. If the non-member’s abstract is accepted, this individual must become a member and pay the conference registration fee in order to present. For information on how a group can sponsor an SEM membership and registration fee, contact the SEM Business Office Coordinator at email@example.com.
What is the best way to meet people at the SEM Annual Meeting?
SEM holds a Welcome Reception for all attendees on the Thursday evening of the Annual Meeting. A special First-Time Attendees event, hosted by long-term SEM members, is held in conjunction with the reception. You can sign up for this event as either a first-time attendee or a host when you register for the Annual Meeting.
SEM component group meetings are also open to all conference attendees and are good opportunities to meet people with similar interests. In addition, do not hesitate to approach other attendees individually during the conference. You will find the SEM Annual Meeting to be a very collegial gathering!
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