Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


MIU proposals will need more debate

With the 31 top-ranked Madison Initiative for Undergraduates proposals in the hands of University of Wisconsin Chancellor Biddy Martin, UW officials have begun the next step in the process of choosing which proposals to fund.

Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Aaron Brower said more discussion will likely be needed before any decisions can be made by the chancellor.

“What I imagine happening is further discussion both with the chancellor … but potentially more discussion with both committees,” Brower said.


The top-ranked proposal by the oversight committee would give $635,000 to the chemistry department for four new faculty members and four new 50 percent-time teaching assistants.

The proposal, which initially asked for eight new faculty members, sparked the first of many discussions Tuesday night between Martin and members of the oversight bodies on how detrimental cutting requested faculty could be to the proposal.

Martin worried by cutting the number of faculty lines funded, they may inhibit the department’s ability to accomplish the goals listed in the proposal. Dean of the College of Letters and Science Gary Sandefur recommended they include an updated list of which goals are most important to them.

The second-ranked proposal — written by the department of agriculture and applied economics — also requested money for new faculty lines.

In addition to two new faculty members and two 50 percent-time teaching assistants, the proposal requested money to provide scholarships to interested students, which both oversight bodies did not approve.

“I think that broader benefits can be felt with the money,” Associated Students of Madison Chair and Student Oversight Board member Tyler Junger said.

The third-ranked proposal requests money to create an international studies department. While the oversight committee gave this a high ranking, the student oversight board gave it a three, the second lowest ranking.

Provost Paul DeLuca said he thinks the department will add legitimacy to the international studies major.

“This was not identified as a bottleneck area but as a growth potential area,” DeLuca said. “It could actually add the glue to the degree.”

Junger said the student board gave this proposal a low ranking not because it was an unimportant proposal but because there were others which were more important.

“[The ideas in the proposal] are great ideas, but it was kind of the situation where some win and some don’t,” Junger said.

An area that saw a large amount of debate over the past months is advising. Both oversight bodies ended up recommending one advising proposal that would create after-hours advising programs in residence halls.

Ultimately, the oversight committee recommended $1.5 million go toward improving advising in addition to the proposal it recommended. Many people on both committees expressed the wish to get an advising improvement started quickly, citing this as the board’s reason for recommending this proposal.

Junger added the after-hours advising would almost certainly be included in any advising improvements made regardless.

Martin stressed the importance of holding departments accountable for using the money to follow through on the promises made in their proposals. Sandefur said his department would be closely watching the money recipients to see if their promises were kept.

“I think everyone understands that we’ve made a promise to the students and to the regents … so they’re expecting to be held accountable,” Sandefur said.

Brower said in the following weeks there will continue to be discussion on trimming and editing proposals in an effort to fund as many worthy proposals as possible, adding they would also continue to look at how detrimental cutting faculty lines would be to the spirit and intent of the proposal.

Brower added it is important to note while the proposals are in a ranked order, there may be a “false precision” to it, adding if the committees and Martin take a closer look at what may have the most positive impact on UW, the rankings may change.

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