Q: Are University Seminars open to the public?
Seminars are closed to the public; however, some seminars welcome new members, both from Columbia and from the larger community. To be invited to attend a seminar, please write to the seminar chair expressing your interest and qualifications in the seminar’s area of study.

Q: Can students attend meetings?
Each seminar has a different policy on guests. Graduate students may be invited by their professors to participate in seminar meetings with the consent of the seminar.

Q: Are speakers paid honoraria?
No. Honoraria are not permitted. There are limited funds for travel and accommodation which must be requested by seminar chairs by June 30th for the fall semester. See also: Belo Award.

Q: Do I have to RSVP to attend dinner?
Yes. Dinners at Faculty House are catered and offered to members at a subsidized rate. The University Seminars office is charged for each seat. Dinners outside Faculty House are, likewise, reserved. RSVPs are collected by the rapporteur the week prior to the meeting.

Q: Who is expected to pay for dinner?
Seminar members and guests are expected to pay for dinner. Speaker & respondent, rapporteur, and chair meals are covered by the office.

Q: Where/how often do seminars meet?
Most seminars meet at the Columbia University Faculty House about once a month during the academic year. Each seminar has a page on The University Seminars website with a schedule.

Q: Are seminar meetings confidential?
Each seminar has a different privacy policy. Although complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, some seminars choose to keep their minutes private for five years prior to their inclusion in The University Seminars Archive. To encourage an unfettered exchange of ideas, each seminar decides whether minutes are closed or open. If the minutes are closed, they are not to be posted online, emailed, or otherwise distributed.

Q: Can seminar meetings be recorded, live-streamed, or discussed on a blog or other public forum?
No. A University Seminar is not a public event. If a seminar would like to reach a broader audience, The University Seminars encourages seminars to plan a conference or symposium.

Q: Can I save or share a Zoom recording?
No. Recordings of Zoom meetings are for the rapporteur’s use only and must be deleted once the minutes are completed. Recordings may not be shared with anyone, including the speaker. Minutes may be distributed in accordance with the seminar’s privacy policy if the policy is open.

Q: Can the Seminars office post seminar minutes on The University Seminars Website?
Even if a seminar has an open policy, The University Seminars office will not post minutes on the department website. Should a seminar wish to publish additional material, Columbia University’s Information Technology Department (CUIT) offers various options for members of the Columbia community. After five years, minutes are included in The University Seminars Archive.

Q: How can I access The University Seminars Digital Archive?
Anyone with UNI/password access can visit the digital archive here: The University Seminars Digital Archive

Q: I am a Columbia Affiliate. How do I become a member of  The Seminars?
Columbia members may be added to the seminar’s roster at any time. The central office must be notified of the addition. An entry form for new Columbia Members must accompany the letter of nomination. Blank entry forms for both types of membership are available on The University Seminars website.

Q: I am not affiliated with Columbia University. How do I become a member of The  Seminars?
Every seminar has a different procedure, but most will have you attend as a guest for a trial period before you can apply for formal membership. If you have attended a few meetings and the chair invites you to become a member, the chair can submit a letter of nomination to Susan Boynton. Once the nomination is accepted, you will be sent a link to our UNISEM Membership Form via Google.

Q: What benefits are available to Associate Members of The Seminars?
Associates have free reading and borrowing privileges at the University’s libraries; these privileges include physical access (with CUID), off-campus access to online resources (with UNI and password) and borrowing privileges with no monthly fees. With a valid CUID, seminar associates are eligible to use Dodge Fitness Center for a monthly fee.

Q: My Columbia ID Card expired/was lost, how do I get a new card?
Email Susan Boynton the following: full name, date of birth, and name of the seminar. Susan will confirm the active status of your membership and, if necessary, update you in the system. Once you receive confirmation from Susan, you may go to the Columbia ID Office in 204 Kent Hall to be issued a new ID card.

Q: Who is eligible to apply for publication funding?
Members, Associates, Rapporteurs, regular guests, and speakers who have presented work at a seminar which has subsequently been accepted for publication may apply through Submittable.

Q: Who is eligible to apply for conference funding?
Seminar chairs may apply for conference funding through Submittable. A conference proposal must come from the work of a seminar. All or some of the members of the seminar must be committed to being central to the conference and the organization of it, and members must agree on the basic need and goal of the conference.

Q: What is the Belo Award?
The Belo Award aims to increase participation from emerging and independent scholars and non-tenured professors from underrepresented groups in The University Seminars’ events. The Award may be used for expenses associated with attendance, over and above the cost of travel and accommodation usually covered by the Seminars Office. Expenses might include dependent or elder care, meals, and other incidentals.

Q: Who can apply for the Below Award?
Chairs apply on the speaker’s behalf through Submittable.

Q: How do I start a seminar?
New seminar proposals are accepted through Submittable and reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Q: Where will I find administrative forms, detailed guidelines for running meetings, and templates?
You will find everything under GUIDELINES. The Guidelines page will direct you to the University Seminars Administrative Portal.