The University Seminars are groups of professors and other experts, from Columbia and elsewhere,
who gather once a month to work together on problems that cross the boundaries between university departments. Each Seminar elects its own officers, plans its own program and selects its own members from Columbia, associate members from elsewhere, and any speakers or other guests it invites to its sessions. About half the Seminars invite selected graduate students as guests.
For the benefit of a broader audience, The University Seminars make the minutes of most past meetings available to researching scholars. Each Seminar has a web page, and decides for itself how to use it. (To encourage candor in discussion of controversial issues, Seminars may exercise discretion over the contents and distribution of their minutes.)
The University Seminars subsidize the publication of certain books written under their auspices, and arrange conferences to make public their discoveries or to work with scholars too distant to be regular Seminar participants.
Some Seminars are tight, restricted discussion groups that study unfashionable problems; others are broad-based lecture series where eminent visitors disseminate the latest knowledge. Frank Tannenbaum, the founder of the University Seminars, believed that uniformity would destroy them.
Scholars and others interested in attending a seminar should email their credentials to the appropriate chair.