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. RFG programming should conclude by the end of spring quarter each year; June 1 is the deadline for submitting all expenses.

RFG events may be conducted virtually or in person. The IHC is unable to set up or host online (Zoom) events. RFGs will need to generate Zoom meeting links and registration pages themselves (through convener/facilitator Zoom accounts), and the IHC can then post those links on your RFG website and event pages. Here are a few options for managing your online Zoom meetings:

  • Advance registration: The Zoom meeting link will be provided to those who register for the event. You can do this directly through Zoom (instructions here), use an online Google form, or have people email you directly and then share the link with them.
  • Waiting room: If you have a sense of who will be attending the meeting, you can share the meeting link directly on your RFG event page and then you can let people in from the waiting room. (UCSB recommends using a waiting room and/or passcode for all meetings.)

The IHC generally programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 pm. Please do not schedule events that conflict with the IHC’s. Consult our events calendar to see our full events line-up.

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. These are the responsibility of the person who books the room. 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 the UCSB Instructional Development Media Office: media.events@id.ucsb.edu.

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 cosponsorship 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.

If your RFG is a sponsor or cosponsor of an event, please ensure that this is acknowledged in all PR material and social media posts, especially in publicity generated by other event sponsors (should be noted as “cosponsored by the IHC [Name] Research Focus Group”).

RFGs must submit expenditure requests in a timely manner throughout the year, and no later than two weeks after the event has occurred. All outstanding RFG expenditure requests must be submitted to the IHC by June 1 for processing before fiscal close. The IHC will not accept expense requests after this date.

In most cases, the IHC handles the entire accounting of the expenses for the RFG, and all receipts go to the IHC for payment. The IHC 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 IHC Business Officer at the beginning of the academic year. If an RFG’s IHC funds are not used by the end of the year, they will not be rolled over in the RFG’s account to the following year.

Catering and entertainment reimbursements

Catering arrangements are the RFG’s responsibility, as is clean up after the event.

The campus catering policy states that the on-campus provider, UCen Catering, has right of first refusal for any catering on campus that uses department funds. If UCen Catering 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:


Advanced approval of UCen Catering or a catering permit are not required in the following instances: food is purchased off-campus by faculty or staff and brought to campus, a campus unit orders pizza (any dollar amount), or the catered food service from an approved vendor does not exceed $300.00.

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 email the IHC Administrative Assistant the name and email of the person to be reimbursed, itemized receipts, and the event flyer or webpage.

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 pay a graduate student to help with the RFG’s administrative functions. Students can be given a stipend at the end of the quarter or year for their assistance. If you would like to allot a graduate stipend, please email the IHC Business Officer by Week 8 of the quarter the following information: the student’s name, the student’s perm number, and the total stipend amount. (Note that in rare circumstances, stipends can impact student loan/financial aid amounts. It is recommended that students consult with the Office of Financial Aid to confirm how a stipend might impact their loans/aid.)

To process an honorarium check, the IHC will need four weeks’ notice unless the RFG is willing to pay a rush fee to Accounting for expedited processing. Please email the IHC Administrative Assistant with your honorarium request and a copy of a letter of agreement or email between the RFG and the speaker that states 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 performing work in the U.S. are very time consuming to process, so the IHC will only process honoraria over $1,000 for foreign nationals. The best way to compensate foreign travelers is through travel reimbursements. Honoraria for work performed virtually are not subject to the same protocols and tax-withholding; the IHC can process honoraria for less than $1,000 for virtually performed work.

We are prohibited from using IHC RFG monies for honoraria for UC faculty members. If you are considering compensating a UC faculty member for participation in an RFG event, please consult with the IHC Business Officer.

Hotel reimbursements
Many area hotels have discounted rates for UCSB, so 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 Administrative Assistant.

Travel reimbursements
RFGs should book their own travel and hotel accommodations for visitors.  The IHC can reimburse your visitors for their travel expenses; please email the IHC Administrative Assistant with the visitor’s name, contact information, list of expenses being reimbursed, and supporting documentation for the event (flyer, website). Visitors must provide itemized  receipts for each expense; this includes hotel bills, rental vehicle agreements, or gas receipts for a rental vehicle. 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 Administrative Assistant.


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 list of upcoming events.
  • Weekly events email digest: Your event will appear in the IHC’s weekly events email digest, which is sent to campus distribution lists and to the IHC email list.
  • Design and production of hard copy and electronic flyers (upon request): Flyers must be requested at least four weeks prior to your event. The Senior Artist will provide a PDF proof for your approval before the flyer is finalized and posted to your website, IHC signboards, and campus/IV kiosks. The IHC can provide up to 50 color 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 IHC Assistant Director.

RFG Development

The IHC is committed to fostering and nurturing 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 Assistant Director can assist you with updates to your RFG’s page.

The RFG page can function as your RFG’s activities archive. To add an activity/event to your RFG page, complete a publicity request form. For upcoming events that you would like the IHC to publicize, fill out the form at least three weeks before your event (or four weeks before if requesting a flyer). For events that have already occurred and that you would like included on your page, complete a publicity request form for each event and the IHC will add these. Each event requires an image; if you do not have an image for the event, the IHC will use a placeholder image with your RFG’s name.