In-Person Seminar/Workshop Meeting Timeline

Effective July 1, 2023

For Seminars and Workshops Only


Seminars invite members from CU and other institutions including, but not limited to, colleges and universities. Members attend regularly through the academic year. If someone expresses interest in a seminar, they may request an invitation to attend a seminar as a guest by contacting the seminar chair directly and expressing their interest and qualifications in the seminar’s area of study. 

Workshops are formed around the in-depth study of an intellectual problem or task for a set period of time (one to three years), culminating in one or more scholarly works—e.g. a book, issue of a scholarly journal, website or online publication, conference, colloquium, or another scholarly meeting.


Pre-Meeting Tasks and Faculty House Considerations

  • Rapporteurs should confirm that a new  Academic Year Planning Form was submitted by the Seminar/Workshop Chair to The University Seminars office. The preferred deadline for planning forms is June 30th of the prior academic year, For example, for the academic year 2023-2024, the preferred deadline for planning forms is June 30, 2023.
  • If a meeting planning form was not submitted by a Chair at the end of the previous academic year, the Rapporteur  should let the Chair know a form must be submitted to Pamela Guardia as soon as possible to book any meeting in the current academic year. 

  • Rapporteurs should follow up with Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) to confirm meeting dates, locations, or virtual meeting requirements.
  • A seminar or workshop that plans to host guest speakers or respondents who require travel must submit a Travel Fund Request Form to the Director of The University Seminars. Before proceeding to finalize plans, the organizers must confirm that the request was submitted. See Travel Funds page for more information.
  • Review the Booking Travel and Group Meals pages if applicable. See Resources sub-menu above for more relevant links.
  • Organizers should confirm meeting schedule with Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) throughout the year.
  • Organizers should make sure they include the Seminar/Workshop Number and Name, and meeting date/time on the subject line in all email correspondences. The University Seminars receives hundreds of emails a day so do mark "Urgent" when appropriate.
  • Make sure the seminar's or workshop's page on The University Seminars main website is correct. Report any changes or updates to Summer Hart ([email protected]).

  • Rapporteurs should update and maintain email lists of seminar members, associates, & seminar/workshop guests.

  • If a Seminar or Workshop meeting date submitted cannot be accommodated at Faculty House for any reason, the chair and rapporteur will be notified.
  • Additional dates or changes to the schedule must be sent to Pamela Guardia ([email protected]); however, it is not always possible to accommodate last minute requests.
  • Faculty House bills the The University Seminars office directly. To avoid unnecessary charges, organizers should contact our Pamela Guardia to make any changes or ask a question regarding a meeting at Faculty House.
  • Last-minute Faculty House meeting space requests must be reserved at least two weeks in advance. Please note, FH availability is limited and The University Seminars may not be able to accommodate a seminar/workshop meeting.
  • Seminar and Workshop meetings held at Faculty House are granted funds based on the number of meetings scheduled and the cost of the rooms reserved as stated in the new Academic Year Planning Form.
  • The University Seminars does not guarantee funds for meetings held outside of Faculty House; seminars/workshops should contact the Director of The University Seminars, Susan Boynton ([email protected]), if these additional expenses are anticipated and forward a quote for the space requested to the Director and Gesenia Alvarez ([email protected]). 

The University Seminars office can provide basic, in-house equipment to hold hybrid seminars or workshops over Zoom or over other virtual meeting applications, as supply allows. Additionally, the office can provide projection, speakers, microphones, pointers, and varied AV cables and adapters for a non-hybrid, in-person meeting.

  • The University Seminars Office provides equipment to Seminars and Workshops for meetings at the Faculty House free of charge. Equipment is supported as much as possible by The University Seminars Office. Chairs and Rapporteurs borrow equipment with the understanding that there are limits to the technology and to the support that The University Seminars Office can provide.
  • The University Seminars Office does not provide technical support free of charge for conferences, symposia and other 'high-stakes' special events. A separate AV budget applies to these special events and should be included in applications for conference funding or provided by other sources. Contact Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) for more information about technology for special events.
  • The office will provide laptops for presentations upon advance request. 
  • Rapporteurs must make equipment arrangements with Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) and Giran Ceballos ([email protected]) at least TEN days prior to the meeting. Equipment will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and as available. 
  • Seminars and Workshops assume full responsibility for borrowed equipment Repairs and replacement costs of equipment damaged through misuse are charged to the Seminar/Workshop.
  • Rapporteurs (or other organizer) sign out equipment prior to the meeting and are required to return all of the equipment in the provided storage case at the end of the meeting unless explicitly instructed otherwise.
  • Chairs who wish additional instructions or discuss meeting and/or technology options may contact Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) to schedule an in-person or Zoom consultation.

Two Months Prior to the Meeting Date

  • Rapporteurs should confirm and communicate meeting arrangements and responsibilities with their  Seminar/Workshop Chair(s) and Pamela Guardia ([email protected]). 
  • Organizers should confirm date and time of meeting and any travel arrangements needed (if applicable) with guest speakers and respondents (if any).
  • Check the seminar or workshop webpage at The University Seminars main website and confirm or correct meeting details: speaker name and topic, and event date and time. Send any website corrections or updates to Summer Hart ([email protected]).
  • Confirm availability of meeting and dinner space at Faculty House or other location. 
  • Arrange travel, hotel and parking for guest speakers, respondents, and other guests (if applicable) with The University Seminars Administrative Assistant, Giran Ceballos ([email protected]). Review the Booking Travel and Group Meals pages if applicable. See Resources sub-menu above for more relevant links.
  • For group meals held at Faculty House, send approximate catering count to The Administrative Assistant, Giran Ceballos ([email protected]). Make sure this number is as accurate as possible. Since our Faculty House meals are considered catered affairs, last-minute additions or cancellations may not be honored by Faculty House.

One Month Prior to Meeting Date

Announcements serve multiple purposes in addition to reaching out to a seminar or workshop's membership. Each seminar/workshop has an individual page on The University Seminars website, with a statement of purpose, contact information for the current chairs and rapporteurs, and a schedule of meetings. See Meeting Announcements page for more details.

  • Send email meeting announcement to seminar/workshop members, associates, guests, and The University Seminars office ([email protected]).
  • Make sure to include a link to the Credit Card Payment Form for seminar/workshop guests not eligible for complimentary meals at Faculty House only (see Group Meals). For hybrid meetings Include the Zoom details (or other videoconferencing) or send Zoom invitation separately upon RSVP. 
  • The rapporteur will direct all speakers to the Speaker Acknowledgement Form. The speaker will complete the form online. If the speaker cannot access the form, rapporteurs may contact Summer Hart ([email protected]) for an alternative form.
  • Obtain bio and paper for circulation to members, as appropriate.
  • Reserve AV Equipment with the Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) and Giran Ceballos ([email protected]). 

On The Day of A Meeting

  • Arrive early. Check for proper signage in the lobby and outside of the meeting room.
  • Check in with the office, obtain a sign-in sheet, drink voucher, and meal envelope.
  • Sign-out reserved equipment and test set-up with The University Seminars Administrative Assistant, Giran Ceballos and the presenting guest speaker.
  • For group meals at Faculty House, check dining table and confirm the correct number of seating.
  • Circulate handouts (if applicable), sign-in sheet, forms or other physical material.
  • Check-in with chair(s), guest speaker(s), and respondent(s) (if any)..
  • Read the privacy policy of the meeting. Record the policy and acknowledgement of the policy in the minutes. See section below for details.
  • If the policy is contested or altered, record the change in the minutes.
  • Attendee Sign-In: Every participant signs-in by providing their name and affiliation into the sign-in space. Our office provides a Seminar/Workshop Meeting Sign-in sheet. 
  • Record the attendees’ names and affiliations into the minutes.
  • Take the minutes. Follow the steps outlined under Minutes.
  • Collect checks (or cash - which we strongly discourage) from guests unable to pay for the meal via Credit Card Form. Submit checks and/or cash in the marked envelope provided by The University Seminars office. 
  • Optional: Collect or direct guests to make payments via Credit Card Payment Form for the following: unreserved meals, extra wine bottles, and CU Onsite Parking.
  • Rapporteurs may collect donation checks. Make sure the donation check is not combined with a meal payment. Donations are deposited in a separate bank account managed by the Alumni and Development Office. International bank checks are not acceptable for meal payments.
  • Donations can be made via our Donate button at our main website: university or by personal/institutional check (see Gift Accounts for details). Donations are not accepted via our Credit Card Payment Form or in cash. 

At the start of each meeting (virtual or in-person), rapporteurs read the seminar’s/workshop's agreed upon privacy policy including whether the seminar/workshop is “open” or “closed.” All attendees must acknowledge the policy in a manner agreed upon by the seminar/workshop and this acknowledgment is also recorded in the minutes.

Sample Privacy Policy Script

Seminars (Workshops) are intended to foster an open and unfettered intellectual exchange among peers, allowing attendees the freedom to try out ideas without the inherent limitations of a public discussion. Minutes are taken at all meetings. After five years, minutes are included in The University Seminars Digital Archive as part of Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Each seminar/workshop has an individual privacy policy, which may be "open" or "closed." A seminar/workshiop with a "closed" policy agrees to keep minutes private *prior* to their inclusion in the archive. With an "open" policy, the seminar/workshop decides when and how to circulate minutes. The University Seminars office encourages participants to adhere to the privacy policy of their seminar/workshop but cannot guarantee confidentiality, even with "closed" meetings. Copyright of meeting minutes belong to the Trustees of Columbia University. Speakers maintain full publication and all other rights to their papers and presentations.

The [seminar name] has a [choose one] open (or closed) policy.

[Additionally, if the meeting is being recorded (audio and/or video) by the Rapporteur for the purpose of taking accurate minutes.]

The meeting will be recorded for the purpose of taking the minutes. The recording will be deleted after the minutes have been compiled. The recording will not be saved, circulated or enter the archive.

The rapporteur will state whether the meeting is "open" or "closed." If the meeting is held in-person, participants will be asked to raise their hands in acknowledgement.

  • If a participant does not agree with the policy, this is noted in the minutes.
  • If the meeting is held virtually, participants will be asked to acknowledge by virtual hand raise. Participants may not raise hands prior to the policy being read.
  • Rapporteurs will also collect the names and affiliations (N/A if unaffiliated) of everyone in attendance. This information will go in the minutes. For meetings held in-person, the rapporteur will circulate a Seminar/Workshop Meeting Sign-in sheet. 

Post Meeting Tasks

  • Return all borrowed equipment. Return equipment in an orderly manner. This will help extend the longevity of our equipment for use by our growing community. 
  • Return payment checks (if any were collected) and envelope to the office.

  • Return all signed out Audio-Visual equipment to the labeled tray in the office, carefully packed in the proper cases and all cords coiled neatly.

  • For hybrid meetings, download and save the meeting recording from Zoom. (Available on cloud for 30 days).

  • Submit minutes (see Minutes page).
  • Submit timesheet (see Rapporteurs page). 
  • Send pre-approved reimbursements to the University Seminars Administrative Assistant, Giran Ceballos ([email protected]). See Reimbursements page,

End of Year

  • Upload any outstanding minutes. The deadline for all meeting documentation is June 30th. Rapporteurs will not have access to the submission form after this date. If there is a reason minutes cannot be submitted on time, please contact Chief Creative Officer, Summer J. Hart ([email protected]).
  • Communicate resignation or intention to stay on with Seminar or Workshop Chair and The University Seminars office ([email protected]).
  • Submit reimbursements. A rapporteur should request reimbursement within 10 business days of the expense and must request reimbursement no later than 120 days after the date of the expenditure. Late submissions may only be reimbursed with the approval of the department. Supporting documentation must be provided in order to describe the circumstances leading to the late submission in order to evaluate whether it is a taxable event. Expense reimbursements requested more than one year from the date of expenditure will not be reimbursed.
  • Submit all outstanding timesheets by June 15. Graduating International Students make sure you do not submit hours post the expiration date of your student visa documentation. Contact the Associate Director of Financial Operations, Gesenia Alvarez-Lazauskas ([email protected]) with any questions regarding timesheet submission.
  • Submit New Academic Year Planning Form (if necessary/on behalf of chair.)
  • Respond to Directory edit requests (if necessary/on behalf of chair.)