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Frequently Asked Questions about SEM

Monday, October 21, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Stephen Stuempfle
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Why does SEM hold its Annual Meeting in expensive hotels and pick dates that conflict with one of my other favorite conferences? How are Annual Meeting abstracts reviewed and why was mine rejected? How does the SEM Board of Directors carry out its work and make decisions about issues facing the Society? Where does SEM’s money come from and how is it spent? What is the Society doing to promote ethnomusicology as a field and profession?

These are just a few of the frequently asked questions about SEM. Fortunately, answers are readily available.

The easiest way to learn more about SEM’s governance, programs, and operations is to visit the recently updated and expanded FAQs page of the SEM website, with links in the center of the homepage and under “About Us.” This page contains concise information on a range of topics, including the nomination and election of Board and Council members; the day-to-day work of the Board, Business Office, and committees; the formation of Special Interest Groups and Sections; the Society’s large number of publications, communication channels, and prizes; and the logistics and content of the Annual Meeting.

Members are also strongly encouraged to attend the General Membership Meeting, which is held on the Saturday afternoon of the Annual Meeting. In addition to the announcement of Society prizes for outstanding work in ethnomusicology, the President delivers an oral report, the Secretary announces the results of the year’s election, and a booklet is distributed with reports from the Treasurer, Secretary, Executive Director, Council Chair, Chapter Coordinator, publication editors, and leaders of Sections, Special Interest Groups, and Ancillary Organizations. The President’s oral report and the various written reports offer an overview of the Society’s activities for the past year, including its achievements and challenges.

Members can also learn more by logging in to the SEM website and selecting the Members’ Area from the menu on the left. Archived under “SEM Documents” are annual reports booklets and audited financial statements back to 2010. The audited financial statements, like the Treasurer’s report, provide detailed information on the Society’s sources of income, expense areas, and assets for each fiscal year (July-June). Assets include bank accounts and an endowment that generates income in support of Society programs. Other archived documents are reports on membership surveys from 2002, 2008, and 2014 (the Society will conduct its next survey in 2020). Also contained in the Members’ Area of the website is the SEM Newsletter, both the current issue and back issues to 2002. Published four times a year, the newsletter offers articles on Society business and initiatives as well as information on members and the field of ethnomusicology.

Much more information about SEM and ethnomusicology is featured in other areas of the SEM website. Consulting the short Guide to the SEM Website (with a link in the center of the homepage) is a fast way to find out what is available and where it is located. To learn about current Society priorities, for example, consult the Strategic Plan and the Special Projects area of the site. To consult copies of Annual Meeting program and abstracts books back to 2006, see Conferences/Past Annual Meetings.

Finally, questions can always be directed to the Business Office or Board. The Business Office and Board receive inquiries on a daily basis and strive to respond as promptly as possible. Communications from SEM members and the general public are always welcome!

- Stephen Stuempfle, SEM Executive Director

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