RFG Administrative Guidelines

Meeting and Event Organization

Events format
We recognize that each RFG has a distinct trajectory of development and preference for event formats, including public lectures, seminars, readings of new works in the field, and presentation of research by members. Central to the RFG program is a commitment to fostering dialogue and collaboration among UCSB faculty and graduate students around common research goals. To this end, whatever the mixture of formats your RFG uses, it is expected that the group will meet at least two times per quarter and that at least one meeting per quarter and at least half of your total meetings will be devoted to research-related activities such as works-in-progress presentations and discussions of new works in the field.

Room reservations
IHC meeting rooms may be reserved via the online Room Reservation Request. The McCune Conference Room (6046 HSSB) seats 100 and is available for lectures and conferences. The IHC Research Seminar Room (6056 HSSB) is dedicated to RFGs and research activities directly sponsored by the IHC. We hope you will use this room routinely for RFG meetings. Policies for using these rooms are available on the website. Please note that the IHC staff is not able to move furniture or clean up after your event. It is the responsibility of the person who books the room to handle these matters. Also note that Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-7 PM in the McCune Room are reserved for IHC programming. RFG conveners who wish to use the McCune on a Tuesday or Thursday can place a request for the room, but those requests will not be finalized until 30 days before the start of the term. Exceptions will be granted by permission of the Director.

Audio/Visual equipment
The McCune Conference Room is equipped with a data projector and a podium with a built-in Mac Mini and a DVD player. The Research Seminar Room is equipped with a flat-screen monitor and media unit with a built-in Mac Mini and DVD player.  There is no charge for use of the IHC’s media equipment. However, the IHC staff does not provide technical support. If you want to test a laptop or other equipment, please do so in advance of your event. If you want to hire a technician to be on hand to provide technical support for an event, you can order this at least 48 hours in advance from Kerr Hall/Instructional Resources: 893-3549. Kerr Hall also offers free tech support over the phone. If you need emergency technical support during an event, Kerr Hall can send someone for a fee, and it may take 30 minutes for the tech to arrive.

Financial Guidelines

Expenditure of Funds
Your RFG funds may be used toward the costs of bringing guest speakers to campus, graduate student assistance, or refreshments for your meetings. RFG funds are intended to support the core activities of your RFG and hence are not intended to be used for co-sponsorship of departmentally-run programming initiatives. (IHC cosponsorships are available for that purpose; visit https://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/cosponsorship/ for details). You are welcome to use your RFG funds to cosponsor events that are central to the mission of your RFG.

The IHC Business Officer is the IHC source for all things financial. The IHC normally handles the entire accounting of the expenses for the RFG, which means all receipts go to her for payment. She keeps an accounting of all funds contributed from other campus departments for each RFG event, along with the IHC’s contribution, and processes invoices accordingly. RFG leaders are encouraged to submit a working budget to the Business Officer at the beginning of the academic year.

Catering and entertainment reimbursements
The Program and Events Coordinator or Administrative Coordinator can advise you on catering options and university rules regarding food service. The actual catering arrangements are the event presenter’s responsibility, as is clean up after the event. The IHC has a kitchen which is available for use, with the assumption that the presenter assumes responsibility for clean up.

The campus catering policy states that on-campus providers (UCen Catering, Special Events Catering) have right of first refusal for any catering on campus that uses department funds. If on-campus providers are unable to cater the event, the group must select a caterer from the University’s list of approved caterers. Details on the catering policy are found here:


UCSB accounting makes a distinction between catering arrangements where an off-campus provider brings food to the campus, and situations in which food is purchased off-campus by faculty or staff and brought to campus; the latter is NOT considered catering, and is not covered by the campus catering policy discussed above.

If RFG conveners would like to be reimbursed for food they have purchased and brought to campus, or if they would like to be reimbursed for a meal in a restaurant, they should submit the following to the IHC Business Officer:

  • original itemized receipts
  • a flyer or printout of a webpage describing the public event

RFG funds may not be used to purchase alcohol. Note that as a consequence of budget constraints, a maximum of 40% of your total RFG funds for the year may be used toward expenses for refreshments and meals. For an event that is internal to the RFG’s membership such as a works in progress session or a reading of new work in the field, we ask that you spend no more than $40 on refreshments. If your RFG’s refreshment costs reach this maximum, further expenses will not be reimbursed.

Graduate Student Assistance
Some RFGs choose to hire a graduate student to help with the RFG’s administrative labor. If you would like to hire a student, please email the IHC Business Officer in advance so the appropriate hiring paperwork can be processed. Include in your email:

  • the student’s name and home department
  • whether or not the student is currently employed as a TA or RA, and the percentage of time the student is employed.
  • the nature of the work to be done (this can simply be “administrative work”)
  • the pay rate
  • the number of hours you plan to have the student work
  • the start and end dates of his or her employment

To process an honorarium check, the IHC Business Officer will need four weeks’ notice unless the RFG is willing to pay a rush fee to Accounting for expedited processing. Please complete an honorarium form and return to the IHC Business Officer. The Business Officer will need a copy of a letter of agreement between the RFG and the speaker; this can be an email. The letter should state the amount of the honorarium, the date of the event, and the form of compensation or reimbursement offered to the speaker (honorarium, travel, hotel etc.). Honoraria for foreign visitors are very time-consuming to process, so the IHC will only process honoraria over $1000 for foreign nationals. The best way to compensate foreign travelers is through travel reimbursements.

Hotel reimbursements
Some area hotels have discounted rates for UCSB; be sure to ask for any discounts when you reserve rooms for your guests. Some hotels have the ability to bill the IHC directly; if you would like to explore this option, please contact the IHC Business Officer. In order to receive reimbursement for a hotel expense, please submit an itemized hotel receipt (also known as a folio) to the IHC Business Officer.

Travel reimbursements
RFGs should book their own travel and hotel accommodations for visitors.  The IHC can reimburse your visitors for their travel expenses; please complete the Domestic Travel Expense Worksheet. Visitors should fill in their personal data at the top of the worksheet. They do not need to complete the account number or vendor ID. They should be sure to complete the address section clearly as this address will be used for mailing their reimbursements, and sign the form in the space indicated.

Visitors must provide original, itemized receipts for each expense; this includes hotel bills, rental vehicle agreements, or gas receipts for a rental vehicle. For airplanes, trains or buses, they must provide proof of travel in the form of a boarding pass or ticket stub. Private car mileage may be reimbursed at the rate of 58 cents per mile. To claim mileage, visitors should be sure to include number of miles driven round trip and their license plate numbers. Visitors must check the box marked “Check here to confirm your liability insurance” to indicate that they have liability insurance; otherwise payment will be delayed. If visitors receive reimbursement for mileage, they cannot request reimbursement for gas as well.

If the traveler is a nonresident alien who is not a UC employee, please submit a copy of the visitor’s visa or passport, and a “Declaration of Immigration Status” form, which may be found here. For questions regarding travel reimbursements, please contact the IHC Business Officer.


Some RFG meetings may be for members only, in which case a simple email notification can be used to announce the event. When RFG events are open to the public, the RFGs can use the IHC’s publicity process. Once the basic details of an event are finalized, please submit a publicity request form. If you are unable to find a high-resolution image, you may also send a description of the type of image you would like to use in the “comments” section of the publicity request form. The IHC offers RFGs the following publicity:

  • IHC website: your event will be posted to the current events listing on the IHC’s website.
  • Weekly events email digest: your event will appear in the IHC’s weekly events email digest, which is distributed to campus distribution lists and to the IHC email list.
  • Design and production of hard copy and electronic flyers (upon request): If you check the appropriate box on the website, the IHC will produce a flyer for your event. Flyers must be requested at least three weeks prior to your event. The Senior Artist will provide a PDF proof for your approval before the flyer is printed. Flyers are automatically distributed to campus departments via Mail Services. The IHC’s student assistants post flyers on official campus kiosks and will display them in the IHC publicity rack. The IHC can provide hard copies of flyers for your own distribution. The Senior Artist will provide you with an electronic copy of your flyer for email distribution.
  • Online calendars and local press: each month, the IHC submits its events calendar to local media and to local and campus online calendars.

Please send any corrections or changes to your events to the Program and Events Coordinator.

RFG Development

The IHC is committed to fostering and nurturing the Research Focus Groups, for it is in the intellectual exchange among colleagues that the Center’s mission is fulfilled. The Director and Associate Director are interested in working with conveners as they conceptualize research trajectories, themes, conferences, and publications. Feedback and suggestions on the IHC’s administrative support of the Research Focus Groups is also welcome.

Interdisciplinary Classes

RFGs may offer 1-2 units of credit through INT594 for graduate students who regularly participate in RFG activities. This can be very helpful on graduate student transcripts to show their sustained interest in a particular area. If you are interested in offering an INT594 course, please contact the Associate Director. The IHC’s seminar room is available to you for seminars taught through Interdisciplinary Studies.

RFG Websites

Each RFG has its own page on the IHC website: https://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/research-support/rfgs/. The Program and Events Coordinator can assist you with updates to your RFG’s page.