Although the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates Oversight Committee intended to make final proposal recommendations to Chancellor Biddy Martin after their third meeting Wednesday, the committee may end up going back to the drawing board after a last minute suggestion.
Both Associated Students of Madison Vice Chair Tom Templeton and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Aaron Brower said though rankings have been assigned to proposals, nothing is set in stone.
“We don’t quite know what the group opinion is yet,” Brower said.
Templeton echoed this, saying there have been rumblings of another meeting for the committee, though he added it is highly unlikely.
The idea for another meeting came out of a suggestion by Brower that by cutting or switching which faculty lines were added, MIU may be able to fund more proposals.
Other members of the committee questioned whether they had time to re-open the discussion on the proposals. Vice Chancellor for Academic Staff Joanne Berg said she thought it was time to end the discussion and make their recommendations.
“Frankly, I feel like we’re starting to push proposals that we like, and that’s starting to feel a little uncomfortable to me,” Berg said.
Templeton agreed, saying there was no way to fund every worthy project.
“Ultimately there’s just not enough resources to fund everything we like,” Templeton said.
However, the committee did see some standout proposals. A favorite proposal from the Wednesday meeting would create a common scholarship application for all departments within the University of Wisconsin.
Berg said a student would plug simple information into the application, and a database would tell the student what scholarships are available.
Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences Gary Sandefur said this program was worthy of funding because it helped students find obscure scholarships.
“There are some pretty strange scholarships…. There are scholarships for philosophy majors from Sheboygan. Sometimes students aren’t even going to find that,” Sandefur said.
Berg said students not being able to find scholarships is a serious problem. She said UW does not spend about $1 million in scholarships every year because students do not apply.
Templeton said he thought this project was a great example of what MIU is intended to be about.
“It’s something that’s really in the spirit of the Madison Initiative in that it’s going to be highly visible and highly effective,” Templeton said.
Members of the committee noted there was a vast difference in some ratings between the student oversight committee and the shared governance committee.
Templeton said the student board may not have as much information about all the proposals as this committee did. He added some ratings, like the low ratings the student board gave to advising proposals, need to be qualified.
The student board rated advising proposals low because they want to take care of all advising issues with one proposal.
“They were saying, ‘We do want to fund advising, we just want to fund them all together,’” Templeton said.
The proposals are scheduled to go before Martin Feb. 16.