IFAS Internal Management Memoranda

Office of Conferences and Institutes--Roles and Services

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 6, 2006

INTERNAL MANAGEMENT MEMORANDUM NUMBER: 6C1-6.100-2-1 (Revised)

SUBJECT: Office of Conferences and Institutes--Roles and Services


  1. The Office of Conferences and Institutes (OCI) serves IFAS Research, Academic Programs and Extension. As an IFAS-wide resource, OCI provides services such as planning and delivery of non-credit programming including conferences, workshops, seminars, institutes, teleconferences and short courses. This assistance includes planning, budgeting, and arranging for non-credit programs offered by IFAS departments and centers.

  2. The Director of the OCI shall have the administrative responsibility for the personnel, goals, planning, budgeting and all other matters in the operation of the office. The Director shall be accountable programmatically to the Deans for Extension, Research and Academic Programs, and reports directly to the Executive Associate Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

  3. An Advisory Committee of the OCI is appointed by the Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    1. Membership consists of five rotating persons and one permanent member, and is appointed from across IFAS departments and centers. Members serve terms of three academic years.
    2. The Committee meets with the OCI Director a minimum of one time each calendar year. This meeting may be conducted by conference call or in person.
    3. The Director provides the committee with an annual report of OCI's work, goals and achievements.
    4. The Advisory Committee serves in an advisory capacity to provide feedback and counsel regarding the operations of OCI.
  4. If an IFAS non-credit program has each of the following characteristics, then the faculty program coordinator should work in concert with OCI in planning, delivery and evaluation of the activity:

    1. It is sponsored at least partially by an IFAS unit and supports the statewide mission of IFAS.
    2. Its purpose is educational.
    3. It is not exclusively for academic credit and may or may not qualify for Continuing Education Units.
    4. It is short-term.
    5. It is broader in scope than in-service and includes other special meetings or functions as assigned by the Senior Vice President.
    6. Charges a registration fee or has other income sufficient to cover all conference expenses.
    7. It will directly benefit the people of Florida.
    8. An IFAS faculty member, administrator or designee will serve as coordinator or chairperson. In addition, County Extension programs may, at their option, utilize OCI as long as they meet criteria specified as listed in a. through h. above.

  5. The faculty program coordinator who represents the IFAS sponsoring unit has primary responsibility for:

    1. Programming decisions including presentation topics, meeting agenda, composition of printed materials and selecting, inviting and accepting speakers for the conference.
    2. Identifying potential sponsors for solicitation and providing contact information for trade publications to promote the conference.
    3. Providing OCI with up-to-date mailing lists of possible attendees if needed.
    4. Avoiding schedule conflicts with similar conferences that may detract from the IFAS program's attendance.
    5. Initiating contact with the OCI in a time frame that allows for sufficient planning. (SUGGESTION: The faculty program coordinator should contact OCI at least six months prior to the proposed event date. In many cases, depending on the date and desired meeting site, 8-12 months would be prudent. NOTE: Large meetings, especially those with trade shows, major poster sessions or other special requirements, and/or those to be held in popular areas such as Orlando, sometimes require two to three years advanced booking to secure meeting space.)
    6. Not engaging in contract negotiations or contract for services from vendors without consulting OCI.
  6. The OCI assists by providing the following services on an as-needed basis for individual conferences:

    1. INFORMATION
      Prepare a quarterly calendar of upcoming conferences; assist with scheduling to avoid conflict with special events and holidays (i.e., Gatornationals and Rosh Hashanah); provide procedures and agenda; how to organize and run a conference; provide checklists and worksheets for conference planning; and maintain a directory of contacts for facilities, agencies and businesses.

    2. FINANCIAL PLANNING
      Advance budgeting of conference expenses and income, setting appropriate registration fees, handling registration fee collection, deposits, billings, payments and final budget reports.

    3. CONFERENCE REGISTRATION
      Receipt and acknowledgement of pre-conference registrations, conduct on-site registration, prepare attendee packets of conference materials, i.e., name badges, proceedings, note pads and pens.

    4. LOGISTICS
      Site selection of host facilities, contract negotiations not limited to guest room accommodations, meeting space and special services. Planning, negotiating and ordering of meals and breaks. Ground transportation, travel arrangements, tours, field trips and excursions. Ongoing communication and correspondence with involved vendors. All other arrangements for the meeting.

    5. PRINTING
      Layout, design and proofing assistance with announcements, programs, proceedings, abstract booklets and conference signs. n doing so, OCI serves as a liaison with local printers and IFAS Communication Services for the production of printed materials.

    6. MAILING
      Serving as liaison with the IFAS mailroom for mass mailings of announcements, programs and promotional materials. OCI is to maintain a diskcopy of previous conference attendees. Note: It is the responsibility of the faculty coordinator to provide OCI with up-to-date mailing addresses.

    7. RESOURCE MATERIALS
      Maintain a set of reference books and pamphlets on conducting workshops, adult education, and training and development. List of facilities for meetings in Florida.
    8. SPEAKERS
      Communication including pre-conference correspondence regarding arrangements for travel and audio visual requirements. Processing honoraria for speaker fees.

    9. PUBLIC RELATIONS
      News releases with the IFAS Communication Services Office. Photographs of awards, presentations, or special events. Orientation and welcoming of participants and speakers. Letters of appreciation.

    10. EVALUATION
      OCI is to manage distribution and collection of written evaluation forms to be completed by participants.

    11. RECORD MAINTENANCE
      Pertinent data from each conference will be maintained for three years.
  7. Under the fiscal policy and procedures of the State of Florida, the registration fees and other income from qualifying non-credit programs shall be deposited by and bills paid through the IFAS Office of Conferences and Institutes. Furthermore, the operating policy is that programs shall generate income sufficient to pay all direct and indirect costs of the event.