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.

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 PDC offers a CV Review Session at the Annual Meeting, in which senior members of the society are available to review and critique CVs and cover letters one-on-one with those applying for jobs in the near future. Conference attendees who wish to take advantage of this opportunity should bring at least five copies of both their current CV and a generic cover letter for this session.


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: Greg Decker (2022; pdc@societymusictheory.org)
  • Ellen Bakulina (2021), Justin Hoffman (2021), Brian Miller (2022), Crystal Peebles (2022), John Combs (2023), Abby Shupe (2023)

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 Feminist Issues and Gender Equity (FIGE) 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.

Relevant Links

Other Resources

Special Sessions

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

  • 2020: Roles and Ethics in the Peer Review Process
  • 2019: Contemplating and Making the Transition to Academic Administration
  • 2018: The Dynamics of the Job Interview
  • 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