Mentoring Programs

The SMT Committee on the Status of Women offers three mentoring programs, which address different aspects of professional life.

Proposal Mentoring

This program pairs music theory graduate students and junior scholars who identify as female, non-binary, or trans with mentors who have been served on national and international program committees and/or are music theorists whose paper proposals have consistently met with success. Mentors will provide feedback on a conference proposal for the Society for Music Theory’s annual meeting or a regional music theory conference. Mentors will advise the mentee on how to strengthen the proposal’s writing style, organization, etc., to maximize the proposal’s chances of being accepted.

An email soliciting participants in the Proposal Mentoring program (both mentees and mentors) is sent to SMT-Announce after the November SMT meeting, in advance of the upcoming conference proposal season. Pairings are typically made by mid-December.

The aim of the Proposal Mentoring program is to promote gender equity in conference presentation rates within music theory. 

Inquiries about the Proposal Mentoring program by prospective mentees or mentors may be directed to Severine Neff, the proposal mentoring coordinator at sevneff [@]

Virtual Research Groups

This program establishes groups of 3–4 peers who identify as female, non-binary, or trans, at any rank (graduate student to senior scholar) who meet online. Groups will discuss writing goals and solutions to common writing problems, and get feedback from one another on their writing. Between meetings, peers will share their work and edit the work of one fellow peer. Groups normally meet three times. Once a group has completed its meeting schedule, members may ask to be paired with an outside mentor. This person will bring fresh eyes to the project and offer tips on appropriate journals or publishers. Past participants have found the VRG particularly helpful in:

  • completing drafts (chapter/article/conference paper/etc.)
  • simply writing more
  • peer support
  • networking

The goal of the Article Mentoring program to promote gender equity in article publication rates within music theory. 

For details on participating in the Virtual Research Groups  program as a mentee or mentor, contact Cora Palfy, Virtual Research Groups coordinator at cpalfy [@]

Professional Mentoring

The Professional Mentoring Program provides mentoring for any SMT member to confidentially discuss gender-related professional issues with volunteer mentors who have navigated similar situations in their own careers. Mentors are available to discuss a broad range of issues such as job searches, tenure and promotion, negotiation, work and family, harassment, discrimination, and others. More information and links to mentors can be found on our Professional Mentoring page. Questions may be directed to Eric Isaacson, Professional Mentoring Program coordinator, at isaacso [@]

Disclaimer: Please note that all communications between you and the mentor will be private. The mentor commits to maintaining private communications; you must keep any information your mentor confides in you private as well. Also, in accordance with Item 2 of the SMT Mentoring Policy, the opinions expressed and advice given within any of the CSW’s mentoring programs are solely those of the individual mentor and do not represent the views or actions of the CSW or the Society for Music Theory. SMT and the CSW will not accept any damages or other liability arising from the mentorship.