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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Second round MIU proposals reviewed by oversight board

The Madison Initiative Student Oversight Board chose 22 recommendations after sifting through more than 100 second round proposals for funding as part of the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates last weekend.

The recommendations are not the final decision on which projects are funded. They will be submitted to Chancellor Biddy Martin Feb. 16 and Martin will make her final decision in early March.

A main point of contention in the group over the Saturday and Sunday meetings was whether the issue of advising could be addressed through department centralization or specialization.


While the second round proposals for the Madison Initiative hailed from many different departments, no more than ten proposals were requests for additional advising services.

Dean of Students Lori Berquam, who was present at the meeting but did not have voting privileges, said the advising issue should be addressed holistically rather than by piecemeal advising proposals.

The only advising related proposal the committee recommended for approval was the expansion of advising in residence halls, including extended hours in College Library and residence halls, five new faculty members and doubling the current team of Cross College Advising Service Peer Advisors for a total of $245,000.

The committee tried to strike a balance between recommending proposals that would benefit all University of Wisconsin students and proposals that would hire faculty for a specific department.

The committee will bring the 22 proposals to Martin next month. Of those 22 proposals that seem especially relevant to the goals of the Madison Initiative, 10 are highly recommended. The following proposals are some of those 10.

The Certificate in Written Communications proposal received praise from the committee and was one of the proposals recommended for approval by the chancellor. The 15-credit certificate was proposed by the Department of English and the estimated cost of implementing the certificate is $203,227.

“Supplementing writing skills makes students marketable,” Jon Alfuth, a voting member on the committee said.

Alfuth added a certificate is a compliment to any major.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering submitted a proposal totaling $1,519,978 over three years for the salaries of new faculty members, additional staff and an undisclosed number of TAs.

Tyler Junger, chair of ASM and non-voting member of the committee, said not all faculty-hire proposals could be made because there were various factors that could not be determined by the committee, including budgetary decisions and whether the area of study was in high demand.

According to Junger, the College of Letters and Sciences ranked their proposal for faculty hiring for economics higher than they did for their French and Italian proposal.

However, Junger said departments large in size that require many students of different majors to go through it, such as the Economics Department, should look for their funding elsewhere.

Smaller programs that are stretched thin in their faculty numbers, such as French and Italian, would be preferred to receive Madison Initiative funding.

The Department of French and Italian submitted a proposal with $181,500 for the budget. The funds would cover three assistant professors, new equipment and moving expenses, according to the proposal.

The committee cut out the faculty advising position of a biomedical engineering proposal, lowering the total recommended budget to $1,334,524 and will highly recommend the rest of the budget to Martin.

The McBurney Disability Resource Center made a request for scheduling software with a submitted budget of $29,000.

The software would allow deaf and hard of hearing students to efficiently file a request for an interpreter to attend any event on campus. According to the proposal, the status quo needs 64 hours for a request to be filled. With the new software, it would be 15 hours.

The School of Business included two faculty members and four TA’s in their submitted proposal which totaled $400,000. The second part of their proposal included funding for the Center on Business and Poverty totaling $100,000. This would include scholarship and volunteer opportunities.

The total budget for the Madison Initiative is $10 million with $3.8 million of the available funds used for last semester’s proposals, $6.2 million remains for this round.

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