Madison Initiative: Exceeding Expectations

Last week marked the first Madison Initiative Oversight Committee meeting since the board presented our final recommendations last spring to then Chancellor Biddy Martin. Our committee has since been reconstituted to focus more on the “oversight” of the current projects being funded rather than the allocation of the differential tuition collected. For those unfamiliar with the Madison Initiative it is a differential tuition model which started in 2010 aimed at targeting high impact and transformative curriculum development on campus as well as closing the $20 million gap in need based financial aid. More info can be found here

I received a breakdown of different data from my last meeting that I felt compelled to share. They are very remarkable and I’m very proud to have been part of this process. Look below at some of the great things we’ve been able to do in only a few short years. The full report can be found here.


Financial Aid:

  • $5.2 million (8500 students) given the held harmless grant.
  • $8.4 million (2200 students) need based financial aid-. Average grant $3900 per student
  • 36 students from rural Wisconsin received grants of $7000 each
  • An additional lucky 350 students will be receiving grants of around $2000 each at the end of the semester. Talk about a great surprise Christmas gift!

I think it is quite clear that the MIU has met if not exceeded the goals and expectations laid out by former Chancellor Martin. With these types of numbers it is hard to believe there was a sizable, albeit often uninformed, chunk of the student population who were against the ideas behind the MIU.  Nevertheless this is not an end all be all fix to our University. We much continue to ask for a larger investment from the state and to be provided with the tools and flexibilities needed to run an efficient, competitive, and culturally rich university.

If you have a story about how you’ve been impacted by the MIU please share below.



5 responses to “Madison Initiative: Exceeding Expectations

  1. Had to pay the extra tuition because my parents wouldn’t sign FAFSA forms. Then had to pay an extra $100 because I couldn’t come up with the extra tuition to pay it on time. Kinda sucked.

  2. Thanks for the update, Tom! From the perspective of another student who took part in the process of reviewing proposals for these funds, I can also say that I’m really proud to see the projects being realized. The revamped WisCEL space on the 3rd floor of College Library is a particularly striking and tangible example of the kinds of innovative teaching/learning practices and environments that will hopefully come out of this.

  3. Thanks for the update Tom. I’ve periodically tried to keep myself informed, but have lost track over the last year. I think you are more or less correct to label the MIU as “exceeding expectations,” especially if we only look at the first 2 goals. It was the 3rd goal that always interested me the most — expand best practices and innovation in teaching and learning, curricular design, and student services, in order to enhance student outcomes, as an educator — and it is the 3rd goal where I think the data isn’t either available yet, given its time frame, or was never seriously considered necessary to really think hard about and make explicit.

    If we bracket the consolidation and enhancements in advising (a no doubt great accomplishment of the MIU), the data presented in the report really only fall into goals 1 or 2; goal #3 is absent. Nor did I ever see any explicit mechanisms place that would enable the gathering of data on #3 (I had general ideas on mechanisms that may work, but I don’t see anything within the report resembling any MIU dictated, University wide criteria that were created to promote expanding best practices, especially within the cohort of the 76 newly hired faculty). I think this is the MIU’s greatest shortcoming so far, and its biggest missed opportunity. I’d be curious to learn more about others thoughts on goal #3.

  4. Pingback: « ASM Shared Governance

  5. former alum

    Tom, as an alumn who watches what goes on at the UW, you guys really had it together at ASM. You had the proper balance between working with and against the administration and resisting the Leeland ‘I use quotes by homophobes’ Pan and his ilk who have terrorized the campus for years with opinions and views not held by the majority of students. There were real solutions proposed, with numbers. You guys should be proud.

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