Working Group Considerations for 2023-24 Awards
Many of you have questions about how your existing Corridor awards and activities may be affected by changing public health guidelines and ongoing COVID-19 concerns. We offer these tips below, to help guide you. Please remember: Corridor funds are awarded for proposed activities as outlined in your award budgets. Modifications to approved budgets require pre-approval.
Things to Consider
- Working Group Award Budget: Approved awards are maximum budgets. Unspent funds will be returned to the available funding pool for Working Groups during the next proposal cycle.
- Ask first before altering any proposed plans or budgets outlined in your award letter. Address general questions to the CNY Humanities Corridor at CNYHumanities@syr.edu. Working Groups wishing to modify their host campus, semester, nature of the activity, honoraria, or accessibility funds must submit a budget modification request via the Revise an Existing Award form. View our tips for crafting an appropriate budget.
- Online activities: Unexpected shifts from in-person to online activities may warrant a revisiting of your award budget to account for certain types of new expenses, including online campus IT support fees and accessibility services.
- The Hypothetical Scenarios (below) and Working Group Models help illustrate how funding might be suitably used for online activities, e.g., for honoraria (for experts, workshop or retreat facilitators, authors, etc.); accessible online formats (e.g., captioning, transcriptions); campus IT support; scholarly materials; consultant or vendor fees; and more.
- Virtual event formats should utilize campus resources and existing software, streaming, or meeting platforms whenever possible.
- Software such as Blackboard, Box, Canvas, Dropbox, Google Drive can often be used to share materials and information with Working Group members across institutional boundaries.
- Your group's Corridor web page can often host event information, links to resources, and registration information. Submit an activity form to get the information on our event calendar.
- Postponing activities: Working Groups wishing to postpone a fall semester activity to spring, should notify the CNY Humanities Corridor (CNYHumanities@syr.edu) of their plans to do so. However, please remember, current academic year activities cannot be postponed into the next academic year.
- Canceling activities: Working Groups canceling any award-supported activities should notify us as soon as possible and plan to submit a new proposal in the next funding cycle.
- Public health and safety guidelines may continue to change and differ across the Corridor’s 11 campuses and the nine counties they span across upstate New York. Please keep the potential for differing policies in mind if you anticipate planning any in-person gatherings.
Things to Avoid (in Budgets and Planning)
- Paying students: Direct payments to students are not allowed using Corridor funding. That includes both undergraduate and graduate students. The reasons for this policy are complicated, but there are potential unforeseen impacts to need-based student financial aid packages, as well as restrictions on international student compensation. The mechanisms and policies for hiring students also differ across our institutions, and a majority of our Corridor institutions do not have graduate students.
- Exceptions to this rule arise if a student is already a formal employee of an institution serving as, for example, a student IT staff member who is hired through their official existing IT employment designation, rather than being paid a stipend via a student account.
- Paying individual people within the Corridor: The Corridor does not allow honoraria (or commissions, etc.) to be paid to employees (faculty and/or academic staff) at the 11 Corridor institutions.
- Websites: Creating websites for Corridor events or groups is strongly discouraged. Maintaining websites for accuracy, accessibility, and timely content requires a long-term plan, and Corridor funding cannot be used for continued upkeep. Instead, consider using other tools for sharing resources among your Working Group participants or creating a web page on an existing departmental website.
1 - Working Group X has an approved award budget of $1,500 covering an invited speaker’s travel and lodging, a catered meal with students, and a $400 speaker honorarium. But the event shifts to an online format. Since the only expense for this activity is now the honorarium, can the Working Group give the speaker a higher $1500 honorarium instead of the approved $400?
- The answer to this possible scenario is no. The honorarium level originally proposed as suitable would remain appropriate in the new, online format. Unspent funds will be returned to the available funding pool for Working Groups during the next proposal cycle.
- However, if this hypothetical Working Group wished to consider, for example, inviting two additional outside speakers for a panel discussion, then an amended budget request would be considered to pay three speakers an honorarium of $400 each. Note: additional speakers may not be appropriate for all activities.
2 - Working Group Y has an approved activity budget of $2,500 for a 3-day conference on one Corridor campus. If the conference cannot proceed as planned, can they, instead, host a series of events online and add some new activities, beyond what they originally proposed (e.g., performances, exhibits, publications)?
- This hypothetical Working Group’s creativity blossomed, as they re-thought their activity, but many of their new ideas go well beyond what was originally proposed and approved.
- In this scenario, it would be important to distinguish re-imagined activities approximating the original activity and timeframe from new activities that are wholly different or that add significantly to the kinds of collaborations involved.
- This distinction would then help guide “Working Group Y” toward two possible courses of action:
- First, to propose a shift from a 3-day conference on one campus to a series of fall online events (generally in line with their original 3-day conference but adjusts the timing and modality), they would submit an amended budget request for reconsideration among the Corridor Directors.
- Second, for new activities which differ radically from a Working Group’s original proposal/award (in format, timing, or both), they could pursue Corridor funding for their new ideas by submitting a proposal in a future CFP cycle.
3 - Working Group Z has an approved activity budget of $2,500 for an invited collaborator’s travel, lodging, and catered working group meals. Given unforeseen circumstances, their collaboration will now be virtual format. Could the Working Group re-envision their research collaboration and re-allocate some of their award to purchase the invited collaborator’s book (or a relevant book) for all the Working Group members, so they can collectively discuss and deepen their engagement with this scholar/in this field?
- The answer to this possible scenario is a yes. Working Groups still need to submit the Revise an Existing Award form because the nature of the activity has changed. The collective purchase of a book to facilitate the research Working Group’s collaboration is something that may make sense for some Working Groups. Unspent funds will be returned to the available funding pool for Working Groups during the next proposal cycle.