University Lectures Committee

The charge of the University Lectures Committee is to invite distinguished speakers to lecture in Sewanee. Although the committee does not sponsor a lecture series of its own, it does solicit proposal for funding of lectures that on significant topics that will be accessible to a general university audience. Three times per academic year, the committee invites requests for funding of lectures scheduled for the 2019-20 academic year. The University Lectures Committee offers three deadlines for proposals: September 30, February 1, and April 15 (for early proposals for the subsequent Advent semester). To be fair to all, the Committee discourages proposals outside these cycles, but will consider such proposals in extraordinary circumstances.

To apply for funding, please fill out the form below. Please do not send e-mail or paper requests.

The rest of this announcement clarifies the criteria the committee uses to evaluate proposals.

Proposals may be submitted by students or faculty members. Individuals, organizations, and departments are encouraged to co-sponsor events as a way to demonstrate the broad appeal of a speaker and as a means to find financial support for the lecture's expenses and rally attendance. Students applying are encouraged to seek guidance and sponsorship by faculty, departments or programs. The Committee views its mission to stimulate campus dialogue. As we seek to fulfill that mission in a myriad of ways, there is some flexibility in funding. We welcome larger requests for events that have multidisciplinary support and appeal. And we are keen to aid smaller events that might otherwise be overlooked. No proposal is too big or too small. However, in an attempt to disburse funds widely, we have adopted the following general criteria:

  1. Requests for amounts under $2000 are more likely to receive funding. Normally, honoraria should be within the range of $300-600. Higher amounts are possible, but will require a compelling justification and will undergo careful scrutiny.
  2. Although the Committee encourages the solicitation of major speakers, we are reluctant to support lecturers who work through speakers’ bureaus, because of their inflated fees, expenses associated with supporting a business venture, and lack of flexibility. However, for proposals involving a lecturer who works with a speakers’ bureau, the Committee will normally look for compelling justification of the invitation as well as significant additional financial support from sources outside the Committee.
  3. Additionally, expenditures for food should be sensible and not merely a token complement to the event. Rather, the Committee is not likely to support funding food or refreshments when they are expensive, not a genuine component of the overall intellectual experience, and their cost is not at least partially defrayed by financial support from sponsoring or co-sponsoring programs.
  4. Please note that the Committee is charged with funding events open to all students, faculty, and staff. Funding for presentations or workshops targeted primarily for students in a particular course, department, or program should be sought from other sources.

On behalf of the University Lectures Committee,

Richard Apgar, Chair

Penny Cowan

Melody Lehn

Yanbing Tan (Fall 2019)

William Brosend (Spring 2020)

Alison Miller

College Students (2) TBD

SOT Student TBD

Marichal Gentry

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‌Committee Forms

University Lectures Committee
Proposal to Lectures Committee Form