Spring 2016 Committee Chair Letter
March 28, 2016
I write on behalf of the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events. The Committee would like to inform colleagues about the issues that we have been discussing this academic year, as well as the policy decisions we have made. The Committee is composed of faculty, staff, and students. As the applications that we receive for funding come from all sectors of the College, we are able to review each one from multiple perspectives and with an eye to the overall budget. This year, in addition to our meetings to review applications for lectures and programs, we have met to review our practices to articulate policies both for our internal workings and for the purposes of clarification to the College. Please read this memo carefully, as we report on several aspects of our work that are consequential for the whole community. Because we want to be transparent about our decisions and practices, this letter may err on the ‘TMI’ side. We have a fixed pool of money to administer – albeit generous and ample – and we need to be sure that it is distributed fairly. Please know that this is a deliberative committee that looks at all aspects of every application, and that has discussed in depth every policy that we report to you.
1. Classroom and Departmental Funds, 2015-2016:
We find ourselves this spring in the position of having run out of classroom lecture funds. We signaled this eventuality several weeks back as we saw the funds dwindling and then again when they were depleted. This shortfall was unprecedented. Each year, the CLCE is allocated $30,000 in funds for “classroom lectures,” for which, in theory, any faculty member can apply for up to $500 per year. The CLCE sets aside money from the Wilson Fund for Classroom and Departmental Funding. We had exactly the same amount to work with this year as we have had in the past: $30,000. Last year, the Committee voted to pre-distribute the funds to departments and programs according to a calculation based on historical patterns of use with an eye to equitable distribution across the campus and throughout the year. The notion was that if programs and departments received funding at the beginning of the year, they could, as departments and programs, determine the best uses for their own classroom funds. Because the announcement from last year’s Committee came over the summer and without a college-wide discussion, the community expressed concern about any changes in our procedure. In the light of that response, this year’s Committee determined that we would maintain the old distribution system this year: individual faculty members would apply for the funds until the money would (improbably) run out. We believe that, because the funds were the focus of discussion over the summer, many more faculty members applied for them than the Committee had previously seen; the mere discussion of the classroom visit funds created such a high volume of applications that such funds were exhausted earlier. Funds have not been reduced; ours is a first-come first-serve system that was heavily used this year. Once the funds are depleted, they are gone for the year. This has been clearly stated on the website all year.
2. Classroom and Departmental Funds, 2016-2017:
As in previous years, all departments and programs are eligible for $1000 in departmental funds to be used for lectures and program. However, until now, department and program chairs must take the step of applying for such funds in May. One small step we voted to take several weeks ago is to pre-distribute the $1000 in departmental funds for which all programs and department chairs currently need to apply, relieving the chairs from the task of applying. To assure equity around the campus, we are releasing those funds to all departments and programs without the need for an application. That should be good news for everyone: Each department and program will receive $1000 toward programming automatically starting in 2016-2017.
Faculty may request funding to support classroom visitors. Such requests are currently processed by CLCE staff members, requiring three separate forms. This process often results in significant delays when the forms are not submitted properly. The present practice is for CLCE to authorize the requests and distribute the funds until they are exhausted. The question of how best to steward classroom funds, and distribute them more efficiently, is in process, and we will report back as soon as we have arrived at a workable suggestion.
3. Need to demonstrate Co-Sponsorship for all applications to CLCE:
We reviewed our current practice, which asks everyone submitting applications for special lectures and events above $1000 to seek co-sponsorship. We will now ask all applicants for CLCE funding to do so, regardless of budget. We decided that it is a beneficial practice, even though it may put a slightly greater burden on department chairs and program directors and staff. We believe that the co-sponsorship model assures participation from all of the sponsoring organizations and has the benefit of calling attention to the event, allowing for broader publicity, and that co-sponsorship is an audience building mechanism. Please note that the application for CLCE funding requests the names of co-sponsors and the funds that have been committed.
4. We want to call attention to the difference between an ‘honorarium’ and a ‘fee.’
We have noted a wide range of honoraria requested for visiting speakers and performers. An honorarium is “a voluntary payment for professional services which are offered without charge” (Oxford English Dictionary). An honorarium is a token of thanks or respect. A fee, in contrast, is a salary, a payment awarded to an individual for speaking or performing at a public event, the amount of which is negotiated with the speaker or performer or their agent. As an honorarium is an ex gracia payment, we expect that it will be modest in scale. Please consult with a member of the CLCE to discuss the amount. We recognize that the community often invites people with considerable reputations who require significant fees. We would like to honor your requests for such speakers to the best of our abilities. We also need to be equitable across the College and keep an eye on our overall budget. We will require a rationale for the fees you offer to a speaker.
5. We will require a wrap-up report starting in September without which no further funding will be available to you:
We currently request a wrap-up report following a CLCE-sponsored event. Until now, such a report was suggested only; it is now mandatory. Starting in September, if one is not submitted, we will not authorize further funds to you. A wrap-up report is short and sweet: Did the event take place? How large was the audience? Was there a reception? What was spent? A revised form will be available on our website.
6. We have voted to pre-allocate funds for annual student cultural events:
There are approximately 10 events per year that are prescheduled Master Calendar events, organized by students, and which are important for community building. We would like to relieve the student groups of the task of elaborate application preparation, and of the risk of not having the funds, for these events. These Master Calendar events are: Shruti Laya, Slater Cultural Show, Mamaland, KSA Cultural Show, CSA Cultural Show, TCO Nightmarket, Yuki Matsuri, Caribbean Expo, Latinx Cultural Show, Hawaii Club Lu'au and Freestyle's Jam.
7. You may not apply for additional funds for a successful CLCE application:
Once the CLCE has approved your application, the Committee will not consider an application for additional funds for the same event.
8. Time your application appropriately:
We cannot entertain applications received less than two weeks prior to the event date. We recognize that occasionally an opportunity for a speaker or event will appear spontaneously. In such an instance, there is no guarantee that the event or speaker can be funded. We need at least two full weeks prior to the event to work with you on any questions that may emerge.
9. We are adding to our application the following items:
a. Money for receptions: When you submit a budget for a reception, please provide your calculation for the price per head of all anticipated participants and not just a lump sum. This enables us to envision your overall plan.
b. Students at the table: When applying for funds to support a luncheon or dinner, students must be included in your planning. Please confirm student participation on the application. Lectures and events are designed, in the first instance, as pedagogical and community building opportunities.
c. Budget for meals: We are pleased to support restaurant meals off campus. We normally support meals for up to 10 diners. When you submit your meal budget, you must be specific about the estimated price per diner. We need to be mindful of the overall community’s requests.
d. Conflict of interest: The application for funds will now include a line asking your relationship to the speaker. We will not authorize honoraria or speaking fees for family members. We have been discussing “best practices” regarding spouses, domestic partners, and other close family members. Questions have arisen in the past regarding honoraria for family members, and it is helpful for us to know whom we are funding.
Lectures or events that are considered by some to be divisive or controversial:
The CLCE reviews applications to ascertain the feasibility and time of events and the accuracy of budgets. CLCE is not responsible for ensuring that CLCE-funded events are not controversial or divisive. We assume that everyone who submits an application has the best intellectual and pedagogical aims of the College in mind. We know that at times one person’s notions of the intellectual and pedagogical aims of the College might conflicts with another’s notions. We believe that all of us at the College have a responsibility to ensure that we do not harm one another. The person or organization organizing an evening is most responsible for shaping a positive dialogue.
One of our tasks is to solicit nominations for the annual Wilson Lecture from the faculty body, and then for the faculty members of our Committee to consider the nominations and pass along recommendations to the President (and this year, to the President Elect). We sent a memo around in late February and we look forward to receiving your nominations. The Wilson Lecture is supported by the Wilson Fund.
If you wish to plan a lecture or event, you should begin with the $1000 program budget given to your Department or Program by CLCE, these funds are administered by your Department or Degree Program Chair, (and Administrative Assistant). If you need additional funding, please apply for the individual $500 lecture allowance. The CLCE is currently reviewing the best method by which to administer the $500 per faculty member, and the process of applying to CLCE for this funding might be changed prior to the start of the 2016-2017 year, (there will be additional communication regarding any process changes). Please begin your event planning by inquiring about these funding sources.
Major Events. The CLCE administers grants of $5000 or more for individual events, more than three times our normal lecture fee guideline. These we designate ”Major Events.” Please be sure to note on your application that your proposal is in fact a Major Grant Application and provide detailed information for all aspects of the proposed program and its budget.
Returned Applications: CLCE occasionally returns faculty and staff applications due to inadequate information leading to delays and possible loss of funding. We strongly recommend that you observe the following guidelines:
A. Only use the current application form. It is posted on the CLCE website (new.wellesley.edu/clce). We continually make changes to the form based on developing budget and evaluative policies, so make sure to use the current online form.
B. It is now mandatory that applicants consult with a member of CLCE about their application. Any member of the Committee can respond to a proposal idea or draft application and can report on our current review procedures and policies. Such consultations have proven helpful to applicants and the success of their applications. Students should consult with Meg Jordan and Karen Shih; all others may speak with any CLCE staff or faculty member.
C. Provide detailed program and budget information. The most common reason applications are returned or rejected is because they do not supply the requested information in sufficient detail. Two areas have the most frequent shortfall:
1. Program information. The CLCE is a multi-constituency body that will not necessarily know anything about your proposed program. It is your responsibility to explain to us in substantive detail what your speaker or performer will do, for what part of the Wellesley community, and why your event is academically or culturally significant.
2. Budget information. CLCE has funds that are limited in amount and earmarked for various uses that we apply to support applications. We examine budgets very carefully and observe in-house guidelines. Food, fees, and travel receive special scrutiny, and we try to keep these amounts as equitable as possible. We ask that you provide itemized budget statements based on documented estimates wherever possible.
Patricia Berman, Art Department,
on behalf of the Committee for Lectures and Cultural Events
Current Members of CLCE:
Administrative Director CLCE: Corinne Frazer
Student Services Representative: Megan Jordan
Cultural Advising Network Representative: Karen Shih
President's Designee : Alice McCallum
Events Representative: Lynne Payson
CLCE Faculty Chair : Patricia Berman 15-18 (A)
Christopher Candland 15-16 (B)
Kyung-Hong Park 15-18 (B)
T. Kaye Peterman 15-17 (C)
Meredith A Ausenbuogh
SOFC Rep: Sarah Jeon