UW–MADISON NEWS (March 24, 2010) — University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin has identified seven projects – ranging from enhanced advising services to better services for students with special needs – to be the first to receive funding in the second round of the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates program.
Martin has also set aside funding for the development of a comprehensive plan to improve advising across campus.
In the meantime, a group of about two dozen recommended projects is still under review for possible funding this round.
“We’re pleased and impressed by the range and quality of proposals that were submitted,” Martin says. “We’re looking comprehensively across proposals so that, as a whole, the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates is having as great an impact as possible.”
Martin adds, “These have been difficult decisions, and I want to thank the review committees for their exceptional work.”
As in the first round, the review process was comprehensive. Both a student board and the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates Oversight Committee, which is composed of students, faculty, staff and administrators, evaluated the proposals. A group of 31 top-rated proposals was then recommended to Martin.
Martin is gathering more information about the remaining proposals and is expected to make decisions by mid-April.
This round of funding, the second for the Madison Initiative, will involve about $8 million in projects. The first round of funding last fall totaled about $3.8 million, leaving about $4 million for the third – and final round – next year.
So far in round two, funding has gone to the following projects:
– BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Diverse Global Environments) and International Reach to enhance its program pairing international students with U.S. students to promote cross-cultural dialogue, engagement and student success.
– Scholarships @ UW-Madison to extend the Common Scholarship Application Web site to implement the online scholarship application system in all undergraduate schools, colleges and departments.
– University Health Services (UHS) for development of a case-management program in UHS to better serve students who have complex mental health and social support needs.
– McBurney Disability Resource Center to develop Web-based scheduling software for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to make online requests for services such as captioning and interpreting.
– McBurney Disability Resource Center to put in place a predoctoral internship program focusing on best practices for serving postsecondary students with disabilities.
– the Center for the First-Year Experience to coordinate initiatives for transfer students, ensuring that new students are engaged in opportunities on campus and better integrated into the university.
– Cross-College Advising Service and University Housing to expand advising resources in university residence halls and create an after-hours advising program in College Library that would be geared toward helping first-year students.
Martin has also set aside $1.5 million to overhaul student advising. Almost 20 percent of the submissions this round had to do with advising, and improving advising was one of the priorities identified last year as the Madison Initiative was going through its approval process. Both Martin and Provost Paul DeLuca say this pointed to the need for a more comprehensive approach to improving it.
“It became clear from evaluating the proposals that we need to do a better job of providing advising services to students across disciplines and across academic advising, preprofessional advising and career advising,” DeLuca says. “Now is the time to start, and we’ll take some time to develop our best plan.”
Proposals for a third round of funding will be submitted this fall and will be announced in early 2011.
“Given the larger number of excellent proposals than will be funded this round, we hope to see a lot of resubmissions next year,” says Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning.
The Madison Initiative for Undergraduates, approved last spring, involves a supplemental tuition charge to be phased in during the next four years to improve the quality and long-term value of undergraduate education while making it affordable to all. The initiative uses funding from the tuition charge to add faculty and instructional support in high-demand areas, increase access to high-impact educational practices and improve vital student services. It will also significantly increase need-based financial aid by matching the tuition revenues devoted to financial aid with private fundraising.