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Running Your Workshop

On behalf of the Rackham Graduate School thank you for your interest in the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop (RIW) program. Rackham sponsors an ongoing program of interdisciplinary workshops, which is overseen by Associate Dean Arthur Verhoogt. This program has two goals: First, it is designed to encourage exchange and collaboration among graduate students, faculty, postdocs, and staff who share intellectual interests but do not necessarily have an easily available forum in common because they have different academic affiliations. Second, it is designed to help advanced doctoral students form working groups that support the development of research projects and dissertation-writing.

At this time, Rackham is following guidelines which are aligned with university policy to ensure a fiscally responsible running of the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops. With the expectation that current university spending restrictions will be lifted in the new fiscal year which begins July 1, 2021, we will allow proposed budgets for RIWs not to exceed $5,000 for proposals submitted by July 14 and $2,500 for proposals submitted by January 4. All Rackham funds are subject to university policy. If restrictions are not eased, the RIW will not be able to be reimbursed for any portion of the award on categories that remain curtailed.

Transfer of Funds

Successful applications will first receive approval of funds from the Associate Dean after submitting their application, but will not receive funds until the end of the year and only after successful submission of the year-end report which is due by June 1. Funds are drawn from the General Funds account, so a General Fund short code associated with a new Project Grant specific to the workshop is required. Once the year-end report is submitted and approved by the Associate Dean the RIW will receive an email stating the year-end report was approved and funds will be disbursed to the short code provided after 10 days. Any follow-up regarding disbursement of funds should be with the Finance Administrator, who if necessary will contact Rackham.

The year-end report must be submitted by June 1 and be submitted through the RIW System. Funding is for one academic year or one semester only, but ongoing workshops may apply to continue. (See Year-End Report and Renewal Applications.)

Eligibility and Payment for Graduate Student Coordinators

At least one student coordinator must be a candidate, in third through sixth year.

Exceptions are rarely made for students beyond the sixth year to serve as coordinators. Any such request should include a message from the student’s faculty supervisor, as well as the faculty sponsor of the workshop, indicating that the student is making good progress towards completion of the degree and that this responsibility will not impede their progress.

Experience shows that when the members of a workshop wish to continue their activities over several years, it is advisable for the RIW coordinator(s) to work actively during the academic year to identify and mentor potential successors. A pattern in which there is one continuing and one new coordinator each year seems particularly effective at ensuring smooth transitions.

Student Stipend Payment

Depending on when the application was submitted (July or January), the graduate student coordinator or coordinator(s) receives a maximum of $1,500 (for one coordinator) per academic year with the minimum stipend being $500. No matter how many graduate student coordinators are assigned to a group, the ceiling for compensation remains the same. For example, if there are two coordinators sharing the responsibility for the workshop each would receive one half of $1,500; if three graduate student coordinators were sharing the responsibility each would receive one third of $1,500.

The graduate student coordinator payment is not an hourly wage but an award in recognition of the contribution coordinators make to the university’s intellectual life. Units are asked not to treat RIW funding as a form of financial aid, and should not reduce other financial awards due to coordinators.

The staff members providing administrative assistance will be able to provide assistance with the payment process.

Through the use of a Financial Aid Item Type in the M-Pathways Financial Aid/Student Financials system, payments may be made to participating students as a stipend. These payments are not subject to taxes, except in the case of international students.

If further assistance is needed in making payment, please contact Rackham Finance and Fellowships.

Website

Each group is required to create a website within one month of workshop approval and should email the website link to rackriwapps@umich.edu.

Some workshops simply create a single page with information about their mission and activities. Others create a secure site that is central to their activities—updating schedule information and distributing readings (possibly even engaging in discussion) on the web. In either case there should be a public page that includes the coordinators’ contact information, for individuals who would like to join the workshop. This will be listed with other current workshops on the Rackham website.

Meeting Space

Rackham currently does not have space specifically designated for RIW activities. Workshops are, however, eligible to reserve Rackham rooms per Rackham’s approved scheduling and cost guidelines.

If your workshop is registered with Central Student Government and you have a shortcode that begins with a 9, your workshop is eligible for the Student Organization rate. If your workshop is not registered with Central Student Government, you will pay the university room rental rate. See the Room Scheduling section of our website for information about costs and scheduling.

Accessibility Options

For students planning RIW events who have questions or concerns about accommodations for participants or who wish to make requests for specific accessibility needs, please contact the Rackham Facilities Office: rackhamscheduling@umich.edu or 734.764.8572.

Contact

Questions should be directed to 734.764-4405 or via email at rackriwapps@umich.edu.