Policies and Guidelines for Requesting University Lectures Committee Support

I. About the Lectures Committee
    A. Role of the committee
    B. The Fitch Fund
II. Eligibility for lecture support
    A. Who may request support
    B. Specific exclusions
III. Submitting requests
    A. Number of requests
    B. Submission of requests
IV. About the proposed lecture and lecturer
    A. Subjects of lectures
    B. Stature of lecturers
V. About lecture scheduling
    A. Dates, hours and locations
    B. If changes are necessary
VI. About the budget
    A. Funding
    B. Honorarium
    C. Travel expenses
    D. Hotel/meal allowance expenses
    E. Other lecture expenses
    F. Arrangements for international speakers
VII. Responsibilities of the sponsoring unit
    A. Local arrangements
    B. Publicity
    C. Attendance reports
VIII. Lecture co-sponsorship
    A. General information
    B. Lectures sponsored by registered student organizations
XI. Suggestions


    The Lectures Committee supports departments, academic programs and student organizations that bring distinguished lecturers to the UW-Madison campus. Lectures are intended to enrich the general intellectual and cultural life of the university community. The committee itself does not initiate lecture arrangements. Rather, it receives and acts on requests from eligible university groups that are interested in inviting outstanding speakers to the campus.

    The financial support the committee provides is made possible by grants from general university funds, the Anonymous Fund, the Knapp Bequest, the Meiklejohn Fund, and the Fitch Fund. Because the committee's funds are very limited, we expect that applicants will seek funding from other sources before requesting the support of the Lectures Committee. (Note that it is not appropriate to request support from the agencies that have made grants to the committee.) Further, commitment by the sponsoring units to provide partial financial support for the lecture will strengthen the request.

    If the Lectures Committee approves a request for lecture support, the committee will help publicize the lecture through campus posters and the university's on-line calendar of events. The committee expects to provide these services and will not grant requests for support of lectures to be publicized without them. All lectures that the committee supports must be readily accessible to the university community, open to the public and free of charge.

    The William Fitch Scholarship Fund is available "to bring to Madison prominent business people to give lectures on the American free-enterprise system." The Lectures Committee administers these funds in the same fashion as regular lecture series funds. While the same regulations apply, use of these funds is not charged against a sponsoring unit's credit for the use of regular Lectures Committee funds. In other words, whereas the committee normally supports at most one lecture per semester for any one unit (as detailed in section III.A.), if the lecture topic meets the Fitch Fund's requisite criteria, the unit remains eligible to receive support for another lecture taking place during the same semester as the Fitch Fund lecture.

    The committee wants to bring availability of support by this fund to the attention of all potential applicants. We believe that virtually any department, academic program or student organization could qualify for support through the Fitch Fund, so we encourage applicants to consider this avenue.

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    Units eligible to request funding are: 1) academic departments; 2) officially recognized interdepartmental programs, centers, and institutes that have an identifiable student constituency; and 3) student organizations formally registered with the Office of the Dean of Students.

    The Lectures Committee will consider on a case-by-case basis requests from university-based centers and institutes, but only when 1) the center or institute is closely integrated with student programs and 2) the application includes evidence to indicate substantial student interest in the proposed lecture.

    Registered student organizations are eligible for committee support only when an academic department endorses their request and agrees to co-sponsor the lecture. As described in section VIII, an academic department that endorses a request from a student organization is in no way restricted from submitting its own request for lecture support. Any student organization interested in requesting committee support must review the document Requesting Lectures Committee Support by Registered Student Organizations prior to submitting a lecture request.

    No subdivision of a department is eligible for committee support. The committee will not support a "guest" or substitute lecturer for a university course[1] under any circumstances. The committee will not support a lecture presented as part of a program that requires registration and/or charges an attendance fee unless that lecture is made free and open to the public.

    [1] Lectures Committee funds are intended only for specially organized lectures. These lectures should take place outside a regularly scheduled class or departmental forum. The committee is not opposed to having the lecturer participate in additional academic activities such as presentations in classes, discussions with undergraduate and graduate students, meetings with faculty, etc. On the contrary, the committee will be pleased to see the sponsors making as good use as possible of the lecturer's visit. It should be clear, however, that none of these activities could be entertained as substitutes for the lecture financed through the Lectures Committee. It is also important to remember that this committee cannot be responsible for funding these additional activities.

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    The Lectures Committee attempts to distribute funding equitably to groups across the campus. To this end, the committee will allow any eligible unit, as defined in section II.A., to submit a maximum of two lecture requests per academic year, with the provision that the proposed lectures cannot take place during the same semester. A unit that does not request support for a summer or fall semester lecture is not entitled to request support for two spring semester lectures in lieu of not requesting support for a lecture in a previous semester. Likewise, a unit that does not intend to request support for a spring semester lecture is not entitled to request support for two fall semester lectures. 

    Numerous departments, programs and/or student groups on the campus have significant shared interests. We encourage these groups to collaborate to (in effect) expand the number and scope of lectures available to their members.

    The committee will consider requests for support as long as funds are available. We urge applicants to submit requests as soon as possible and well in advance of the date of the proposed lecture. Each year the committee has had to deny a number of requests because they were submitted too late. The committee cannot accept rush requests.

    Submit completed requests for support online via the University Lectures Support Request Form (apps.ohr.wisc.edu/staffdev) directly to the committee's support staff. A complete request includes pdfs of the following: Lectures Committee Support Request Form (online); co-sponsor letters of support; speaker's c.v. (or equivalent evidence of qualifications); one travel estimates; and justification of honorarium and hotel/meal allowance (only in cases when the honorarium requested exceeds $600 and/or more than one-day hotel/meal allowance is requested). Refer to the application instructions page to download forms and to read the application assembly instructions.

    C. The committee reviews new requests once each month throughout the calendar year. Requests are due by the 15th of the month to be included on that month's ballot. Incomplete requests will not be distributed to the committee until all required information and attachments are supplied. The committee urges applicants to submit requests as early as possible to ensure funding availability. If the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next business day. When inviting an international speaker, be sure to allow sufficient time for the visa application process. See section VI.F. for more information.

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    As stated in UW-Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures, the function of the Lectures Committee is to consider "requests for lectures of general interest that are not primarily supplementary to or extensions of programs of instruction provided by colleges, schools, or departments." Consistent with FPP, the committee looks forward to supporting lectures of general interest to members of the university community.

    Since undergraduate students compose the majority of the university community, we urge sponsoring units to choose lecture topics and speakers that are of interest to undergraduates. Subjects of interest to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students also will be considered. Subjects chosen should appeal to persons outside, as well as those inside, the sponsoring units. In all cases, the subject of the lecture should be consistent with the professional standing of the proposed lecturer.

    The committee is interested in how the proposed lecture will contribute to the general intellectual and/or cultural life of the university community. Highly technical lectures or lectures appealing to a restricted audience should be supported by grants from institutional or research funds. Address requests for such lectures to the dean of the appropriate college or school, rather than to the Lectures Committee.

    The committee will entertain requests for lectures that are of an unusual nature, such as those given in a language other than English, only if the application includes adequate justification.

    The Lectures Committee supports bringing speakers of proven distinction to the UW-Madison campus. Requests for support must include evidence (written in English) of the lecturer's qualifications and professional standing. Such evidence should state the lecturer's educational background and cite specific examples of authored publications, exhibitions, films, awards received, or other pertinent works or achievements. This may take the form of: an abbreviated curriculum vitae; a resume; a biographical sketch; an entry from Who's Who; or any similar documentation in which the proposed lecturer's professional credentials are readily apparent.

    Evidence of the proposed lecturer's qualifications and professional standing may not exceed four pages in length. The committee believes that a concise document (comparable to those submitted to external funding agencies) should communicate this information adequately. The proposed lecturer's full c.v. will not be accepted for review.

    Specific exclusions: The committee does not provide funds for lecturers, however distinguished, who lecture under contract for commercial agencies or who earn their living as professional lecturers.

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    Sponsoring units should schedule lectures so as to maximize attendance by the diverse university community, especially undergraduates, as well as by the public audience. The committee will accept applications for lectures scheduled to occur during the fall and spring semesters as well as during the eight-week (DHH) summer session. When selecting a lecture date, give careful consideration to cycles in the university's academic calendar. Lectures proposed during vacations, near vacations (e.g., Thanksgiving week, the Friday before Easter), during or near examination periods, or on a major religious holiday will not be approved without compelling justification. The lecture must be held at a location on or immediately adjacent to the campus, one that is easily accessible to the general student audience and is wheelchair accessible. The lecture must be open to the public and without charge.

    Schedule the lecture for a time when student attendance is possible and likely, usually 12:00 noon or later. A proposed lecture time before 12:00 noon requires compelling justification. Lectures proposed on Friday evenings or on weekends generally will not be approved. Similarly, a lecture proposed for the same time as another committee-supported lecture will not be approved unless the scheduling conflict is absolutely unavoidable.

    In a past analysis of attendance data for lectures, we found that early afternoon (between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.) and early evening (between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.) lecture times were more likely than other times during the day to attract audience participants. We also found that lectures on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays tended to attract larger audiences than lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays.

    If the date, time, and/or location of a lecture must be changed from what is submitted on the Support Request Form, a written request and justification for the change must be submitted to the chair of the Lectures Committee. Prior authorization for changes is required. If prior authorization is not obtained, the Lectures Committee may withdraw its support of the lecture, and the sponsoring units will bear the full financial responsibility for its costs.

    If it becomes necessary to change the date of an approved lecture, the new date must fall within the same academic year for which the lecture was approved. If this is not possible, the lecture request will be considered null and void. Should the sponsoring unit still desire support for the lecture, the unit will need to submit a new request.

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    The Lectures Committee expects that applicants will seek funding from other sources before requesting committee support. The committee is able to maximize the number of lectures it supports each year because of commitments by the sponsoring units to provide partial financial support for a lecture. Thus, the committee is more favorable to funding requests that present evidence of such support.  In addition to the application to the Lectures Committee, it is expected that applicants will seek funding from event co-sponsors and other funding sources.  This allows the committee to maximize the number of lectures supported each year.

    The financial support the committee provides is made possible by grants from general university funds, the Anonymous Fund, the Knapp Bequest, the Meiklejohn Fund, and the Fitch Fund. Although the level of funding from these sources has been steady in recent years, it is subject to change annually. Consequently, financial support of lectures is always contingent upon the committee's annual budget.

    In recent years, the committee has provided an average of $900 to $1,000 per lecture. This figure includes honorarium, travel and hotel/meal expenses.

    The committee uses a variable honorarium system for recognizing lecturers. An applicant may request an honorarium of $400 or $600. Higher honoraria may be considered for exceptional lecturers[3]. When requesting support for a lecture, the applicant must specify the honorarium level requested. If the requested honorarium is above the $600 level, the applicant must justify the level requested, as described below. Note that the sponsoring units may use other funds to supplement the honorarium requested from the Lectures Committee.

    Evaluation criteria and expectations identified below should guide the applicant's selection of an honorarium. These serve as the bases of the committee's evaluation of the appropriateness of the honorarium level requested. The committee will adjust the honorarium (upward or downward) based on the applicant's documentation.

    Honorarium evaluation criteria include: 1) the extent to which the proposed lecture addresses a topic of general interest; 2) the level of interdisciplinary support for the lecture; 3) the audience size realistically anticipated; and 4) the stature of the speaker. The lecture request must include evidence speaking to each of these points.

    The committee's expectations for materials submitted with the lecture request depend upon the honorarium level requested. When a higher honorarium level is requested, the committee also expects the applicant to include more comprehensive plans for: 1) publicizing the proposed lecture; and 2) attracting students (particularly undergraduates) to the proposed lecture.

    Contrasting examples may help illustrate appropriate honorarium levels in actual lecture requests. A $0 honorarium lecture might: be of interest primarily within a single department/program; have perhaps one co-sponsor; have interest limited to faculty and graduate students; anticipate an audience of less than 50 persons; and have no special publicity planned. In contrast, a lecture requesting the maximum $600 honorarium might: be on a topic of broad interest throughout the university community; have several co-sponsors; have the lecturer address the lecture topic at a level readily accessible to non-specialists; anticipate an audience of more than 100 persons; and include a plan for active, campus-wide publicity. (Note that these examples are presented for illustration only. They should not been seen as prescribing the content of any specific lecture request.)

    [3] Requests for higher honoraria for exceptional lecturers require compelling justification. C. TRAVEL EXPENSES
    All air travel must be booked through Fox World Travel or Concur.  Airfare may be quoted or booked online via Concur or you may contact Debbie Talbott, UW System admin onsite agent at 608-263-1044 or dtalbott@uwsa.edu.  Airfare reservations made through other services will not be reimbursed.  Fares should be based on economy class, 30-day advance purchase.  Airfare estimates that do not follow these guidelines may not be fully funded.  A screen shot of the airfare cost must be included at the time of submission.  Only one airfare quote is necessary.

    The University Lectures Committee recognizes that some speakers may require accommodations in travel, lodging or presentations.  For example, a speaker with a chronic health condition may not be able to travel by air due to their physical limitations or an elder lecturer may need to a travel companion to safely arrive on campus.  If your lecturer requires such accommodations, please briefly state the accommodation and the reason this accommodation is required.

The committee has a general policy of granting only one day of hotel/meal allowance at the rate of $175 (as of December 2016). The hotel/meal allowance is intended to cover the lecturer's meals (at the UW rate of $59) and lodging expenses (at the state rate of $115/night) and applies only to the date of the lecture, not to the lecturer's entire stay on campus.  As with the honorarium, the hotel/meal allowance can be supplemented by the sponsoring and co-sponsoring units through other funds.

The sponsoring unit must reserve the lecturer's lodging arrangements and must secure the state rate of $115/night or less.  Consider using an on-campus facility such as Lowell Center or Union South, both which provide quick and easy access to the UW campus.

While the committee's policy is to grant a one-day hotel/meal allowance, if the lecturer provides other services of a public (i.e., university-wide) nature on another day, the sponsor may request additional hotel/meal allowance expenses. In such cases, the applicant must detail and fully justify the request for additional amount.

All other lecture expenses (e.g., room rental, receptions, dinners, etc.) are the responsibility of the sponsoring unit.

If agreeable to the speaker, the sponsoring unit may make arrangements with DoIT to record the lecture using streaming media for future listening and/or viewing over the internet. Although the Lectures Committee cannot pay the expense for this service, the committee will be pleased to add a link to the recorded lecture on its web site.  Please include information regarding live recording on all publicity of the event.

A variety of lecture recording resources exist across the UW campus, including:

UW-Madison Classroom Media Support
Available at the following locations:
Animal Science 212, Bascom 272, Birge 145, Biochemistry 1120, Biochemistry 1125, Education L150, Education L185, Education L196, Humanities 1217, Humanities 1221, Humanities 3650, Ingraham 22, Ingraham B10, Microbial Sciences 1520, Nicholas 1125, Nicholas 4235, Noland 132, Noland 168, Psychology 105, Psychology 121, Russell Labs 184, Social Science 5206, Social Science 5208, Social Science 6116, Social Science 6210, Sterling 1310, Sterling 1313,
Van Hise 104, Van Hise 114, Vilas 4008

Biotechnology Center

College of Engineering

The Fluno Center

The Pyle Center

School of Business / Grainger Hall

School of Medicine and Public Health / Health Sciences Learning Center

School of Nursing / Signe Skott Cooper Hall
School of Pharmacy / Rennebohm Hall

Funds for live captioning and CART services (up to $220) are available to all lectures with anticipated audiences of 100 or more participants.  Interested units, must work directly with the McBurney Disability Resource Center to make arrangements.  Funds for CART services may also be requested after the proposal is approved for lecture funds.  Please contact admin@secfac.wisc.edu if you need assistance with identifying possible locations to use live captioning.

How to Request Captioning/Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Services
Reimbursement Procedures
Sponsoring units that wish to invite international speakers to the campus should be advised that such speakers are covered by special federal laws related to: 1) travel and immigration documentation; 2) payments that can be made by the university; and 3) the speaker's U.S. tax liability. Enforcement of these laws has changed in recent years and become more stringent; the committee does not control this situation and has no ability to override it.

Because the process for securing necessary travel documents can be relatively complex and lengthy, the sponsor should contact the Office of International Faculty and Staff Services (265-4000) at least three months in advance of the speaker's visit if the visa application process is not otherwise underway. An international speaker's visa class dictates the individual's eligibility to receive payment for giving a lecture and to receive reimbursement for travel expenses; therefore, it is critical that the speaker obtain an appropriate visa.

All international speakers must provide the university with either a Social Security Number (SSN) or a United States Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Direct questions about the SSN/ITIN to the committee's support staff. Please check: Payment to Foreign Nationals Immigration and Tax Considerations prior to applying for funding for international speakers to check what types of payments are covered. Some visas do not cover honorariums, if you have questions regarding visas, please contact Jose Carus, Accounting Services: jcarus@bascom.wisc.edu

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    The sponsoring unit is responsible for making all local arrangements for bringing the speaker to the campus and for the lecture itself. To reserve lecture rooms on campus, contact the Timetable and Classroom Scheduling Office at 262-6345. To reserve lecture rooms in the Memorial Union or Union South, contact the Wisconsin Union's Central Reservations Office at 262-2511.

    Sponsoring units are responsible for publicizing the event.  Upon request, the committee can assist with placing posters on public bulletin boards and kiosks around campus and including an announcement for each lecture in the University's online calendar of events.  It is highly recommended that events are distributed widely through relevant list-serves.  The University Lectures Committee support of the lecture should be noted on all publicity along with the University Lectures logo.  A publicity plan must be submitted prior to the lecture.


    Immediately following the lecture, complete and return the lecture attendance report. This report solicits attendance figures and other information about the lecture for the committee's annual report to the Faculty Senate.


    The Lectures Committee requires units that initiate lecture requests to secure the co-sponsorship of at least one other department, program, or student organization to assure wider publicity and to make the best use of limited resources. This is an explicit change from previous years when the committee merely encouraged co-sponsorship. Soliciting multiple co-sponsoring units will strengthen the lecture request even further. In cases of co-sponsorship, only the initiating unit will be "charged" for sponsorship. The chair (or equivalent) of each co-sponsoring unit must write a supporting letter that documents the nature of any monetary or in-kind support that the co-sponsoring unit will provide. Applicants must include the letters of co-sponsorship with the lecture request.

    A department making plans for its own lecture may wish to invite a registered student organization to co-sponsor a request that the department initiates. The committee encourages such efforts as they may result in increased student interest and attendance at the lecture.

    Like departments and area programs, registered student organizations may request support from the Lectures Committee, but student organizations must obtain co-sponsorship from an academic department. The committee encourages departments to give full consideration to proposals that student groups may bring to them for co-sponsorship.

    The chair of a department acting as a co-sponsor with student organizations must write a letter endorsing the request from the student organization. That department will be responsible for handling the financial disbursements of the lecture expenses (i.e., honorarium, hotel/meal allowance, and travel). As in other cases of co-sponsorship, a department co-sponsoring a request by a student organization will not be "charged" for sponsorship.

    The document Requesting Lectures Committee Support by Registered Student Organizations details special considerations related to lecture sponsorship by student organizations. Any student organization wishing to sponsor a lecture must review this document prior to submitting a lecture request.

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The Lectures Committee invites suggestions from interested individuals regarding ways to improve the quality and efficiency of its services to the university community. Communicate suggestions to the committee's support staff or to any committee member.

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