Each University Seminar is a voluntary group of Columbia faculty and off-campus specialists from academic and non-academic institutions gathered together over the years in continuing, interdisciplinary, round-table meetings for the discussion of the issues with which the seminar is concerned.
Membership in a University Seminar is by election only. The formal membership categories are:
Faculty and staff of Columbia University with an interest in the issue with which the seminar is concerned.
Specialists who are not faculty or staff members of Columbia University. Upon election by the seminar, acceptance of membership by the associate and the approval of the director, the persons so nominated will receive a one-year appointment. Upon the request of the seminar at time of expiration, this initial appointment is renewable for a three-year term.
Records of these two membership categories are maintained in the central office.
Each seminar may also designate the following informal categories of membership:
Seminars are by invitation only. That said, one does not have to be an official member to regularly attend a seminar. Each seminar is independent, with its own policy on attendance. Some are very open, while others require official membership. Specialists, mostly visiting lecturers or visiting research associates or fellows may contact the seminar chair directly to request admittance. One may attend a seminar for years and remain a guest. However, there are some benefits to making membership status official.
Graduate students invited by their professors to participate in the seminar meetings on a regular basis with the consent of the seminar.
Former members, associates or guest members who no longer reside near enough to attend meetings and who have been elected to corresponding membership by the seminar upon their own request.
Records of these last three membership categories are maintained by the individual seminar. These records cannot be replaced by the central office.