Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

SCS Guidelines for Payments to Speakers

The guidelines below describe situations where a speaker might be invited and compensated financially. Such situations might include: a speaker in a seminar series, a guest lecturer in a class, or a keynote speaker at a colloquium or CMU-run professional conference.

  1. We should at a minimum pay for reasonable travel costs for invited speakers.
  2. Payments may be made to persons invited to speak whose primary employment is as a paid speaker (a “circuit speaker”) according to the individual speaker's “usual fees” or another negotiated rate.
  3. No payment of any form should be made to CMU faculty, staff, or students for speaking. In the event that a forum/colloquium/workshop includes a sponsored budget with payments for invited speakers, we still should not pay speaker fees to CMU staff/faculty/students. Tangible gifts are OK, but not cash or cash equivalents.
  4. It is our intent to allow pay, above reasonable travel costs, honoraria to external speakers for the purpose of recognition or expression of gratitude. Note that it is possible to convey recognition/gratitude without making any payment to a speaker, so payments to speakers should not become routine or expected within a department or as part of a speaker series. When a small payment is determined to be the best mechanism in the case of an individual speaker, such payments should be limited.  Plans to pay any speaker, including those referred to above in item 2, above $1500 should be discussed with the Associate Dean for Finance and Administration prior to scheduling the speaker.