Seminar Grant Guidelines

As an incentive for increasing the number of high quality Freshman and Sophomore Seminars, we award an unrestricted grant to any Senate faculty member, active or emeritus, offering a one- or two-unit seminar taught in addition to his or her regular teaching assignment. Eligible seminars will qualify for a $3000 grant.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the grant

What can the grant funds be used for? The grant may be expended for any purpose for which research or professional development funds can legitimately be used--travel, equipment, research assistance, etc. Note that any goods (including electronic and computing equipment) bought with these or any other university funds are the property of the university, and your department may ask that you return this equipment if you leave the university or retire, for instance.

The grant can also be used for expenses related to the seminar, including entertaining students for dinner at one's home, within university guidelines pertaining to entertainment expenses.

Note that the grant funds cannot be used to pay yourself a summer salary, though you may choose to use the grant to pay the salary of a research assistant, for instance.

Who is eligible to receive an FSS grant? Any Senate faculty member, active or emeritus, offering a one- or two-unit seminar taught in addition to his or her regular teaching assignment, is eligible.

Are there special rules that apply to emeriti? Yes. For our purposes, any freshman or sophomore seminar, of any unit value, is likely to count as an overload, since the regular teaching assignment for emeriti is by definition zero.

Can faculty members teach a freshman or sophomore seminar, and receive a grant for it, while on sabbatical? Yes. A one- or two-unit seminar taught by a faculty member on sabbatical would be considered an overload; therefore, a grant would be awarded in such a case. However, teaching such a seminar would not qualify the faculty member for "sabbatical in residence" status, which requires the faculty member to teach a three-unit course. Faculty members on "sabbatical in residence" status do not qualify for the FSS grant.

What is the policy on team teaching? The eligible faculty members on the team will split the $3000 grant equally.

Is there a limit to the number of FSS grants one faculty member may receive? There is a limit of one $3000 grant per semester. Additional seminars taught in subsequent semesters are likely to be eligible. A grant will be awarded automatically the first time you teach a seminar as an overload beginning in fall 1998. However, additional grants to a given faculty member will be awarded only if the initial offering has been successful. This does not mean that every student evaluation needs to be glowing, but we are looking for evidence that you have made a conscientious effort to ensure that students were intellectually engaged in your course and that they had ample opportunity and encouragement to participate in the discussions.

When can I start spending the grant? Around the beginning of each semester the Freshman and Sophomore Seminars office sends a form to the Chair of each department sponsoring one or more seminars. If the Chair answers the questions on the form in such a way as to indicate that a given faculty member is eligible, the grant funds will be transferred to a departmental account specified by that department's fiscal staff approximately midway through the semester in which the seminar is being offered. If you would like to begin spending the money before the semester starts, on course preparation or the like, you might have your fiscal staff contact Aileen Liu ( to verify that the funds are indeed pending transfer, and receive a fund number.

Where might I find the answers to questions not covered above? Please feel free to contact Aileen Liu (

Thank you for your interest in the Freshman and Sophomore Seminars.