I teach a Master's class on research methodology in Basket Weaving. Some of the components involve forcing the students to visit a library (Whaaat, you mean there's stuff that's not online???) and to prepare and present a journal club and a talk and all sorts of goodies. I also require that they attend a scientific conference.
In past semesters I've been lucky that there was some kind of basket weaving conference in town during the semester, so I had them all attend for free, although we have money budgeted to pay the student fees for them to attend the conference (aren't we generous?). We even scored a conference one semester with Big Company sponsoring a free food AND free beer event after the conference.
This semester I only had a few students, and there were no free conferences in town. There were a few with hefty fees (no student discount) and some free-for-students ones out of town. So I divided the amount in the budget by the number of students and told them we could refund a part of their fees.
Each attended a different conference. I had them submit expenses with a cover letter including details on the conference, etc. I had to return a few to be completed with details such as their name, their account number, a signature, etc. I paid them out, and then I put together a packet of documentation for reimbursement, the department head signed, and I handed it in.
I got the packet returned from Finances with a form for buying cookies to entertain guests. I sent that back with a polite letter saying that I didn't buy cookies, but was reimbursing the students for attending conferences.
We don't have a booking number for that. We do have cookies...
I wrote to the administrative assistant. Could he help? Sure, he had a great idea. I now need to fill out excursion forms for each conference. List the place, date, names of the students attending, etc. etc. Then they are insured when the attend the conference. I pointed out that they have already attended, and that they also managed to go to the public library all by their very own selves and I didn't fill out an excursion form for that.
Mistake. I should have filled out an excursion form for that. What if one fell down and broke their leg while getting a book from the bookshelf for class and they are not insured? We'd be liable and .....
So I've asked for the packet of paper back. I will be filling out individual excursion forms, probably back-dating them, and will have spent at least three hours dealing with this that I could have spent preparing lessons or speaking with students about things they find in books or going to the library myself....
My question for the dear readers: What do I do in the fall? Dare I send them out to a Real World (
-- Suzy from Square State
tm) conference and try and reimburse them? Or shall I just play some YouTube videos of conferences and serve bad coffee in paper cups?