Virtual Meeting Timeline

For Seminars and Workshops Only

Effective July 1, 2023

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. 

For virtual meetings, we assume you will not require travel funding or other meeting funds. If you do require a rapporteur or chair meal, contact Pamela Guardia ([email protected]). You may be able to request a reimbursement for meals eaten during the meeting. The threshold for individual meals is $50/pp (tax and tip included). Chairs have the option of extending this perk to their guest speakers and respondents but there are accounting requirements. Please review the Before Submitting a Reimbursement section in the Reimbursements page before extending a meal invitation to guest speakers and respondents.

Pre-Meeting Tasks

  • Rapporteurs 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.
  • Check your seminar's or workshop's page on The University Seminars main website. Report any changes or updates to Summer Hart ([email protected]).
  • Rapporteurs and Chairs should update and maintain email lists of seminar members, associates, & seminar/workshop guests.

Two Months Prior to the Meeting Date

  • The University Seminars office ([email protected]) should be cc'd in all email correspondences. The seminar/workshop number, name, and meeting date and time should be included in the subject line of all email correspondences. 
  • Don't forget to 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]).
  • Ensure Chairs have hosting rights to Zoom meetings. Contact Pamela Guardia ([email protected]) for information regarding Zoom accounts.
  • Schedule meetings in Zoom with the appropriate parameters (recurring meetings, password entry requirement, waiting room, auto-record).

One Month Prior to Meeting Date

  • Send email meeting announcement to seminar/workshop members, associates, guests, and The University Seminars office ([email protected]). See Meeting Announcements page for more information.
  • Include the Zoom details (or other videoconferencing) or send Zoom invitation separately upon RSVP. 
  • The rapporteur will direct all speakers to the Speaker Acknowledgment 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.

On The Day of A Meeting

  • The rapporteur or chair is responsible for monitoring the discussion, tracking raised hands or comments in chat and muting and unmuting participants. This role is established in advance of the meeting. 
  • Read the privacy policy of the meeting. Record the policy and acknowledgement of the policy in the minutes. If the policy is contested or altered, record the change in the minutes. See section below for Privacy Policy details.
  • Record the name and affiliation of all attendees. Rapporteurs must Include the record of attendees’ names and affiliations in the minutes.
  • Make sure everyone is made aware if the session will be recorded. Recordings are for taking minutes only and may not be shared post-meeting. All recordings are property of The Trustees of Columbia University.
  • Optional: Let the attendees know that donations to the seminar 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. 

Rapporteurs should make sure your environment is comfortable, their computer is charged, internet connection is stable, and they have everything they need to participate in the meeting. Rapporteurs should log in to Zoom early to test audio and video. If a rapporteur has trouble with connectivity, audio or video, they should leave Zoom, close their internet browser, and try again.

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

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 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. For virtual meetings, participants will be prompted by the rapporteur to type their names and affiliations in the chat. See Zoom page for more information.

Post Meeting Tasks

  • 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

See End of Year Tasks in Rapporteurs page.