MU to emphasize grants

The school’s Faculty Council places burden on professors to keep eye out for promising students who might win awards, benefit from competition.
Friday, March 11, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 26, 2008

MU is looking for ways to help students use resources already on campus to compete for grants, scholarships and awards outside the university.

Former state legislator Vicky Riback-Wilson, recently hired at MU in the Office of Service-Learning, was asked by interim Provost Lori Franz to help students attain more of these scholarships.

“The report looks at how, as an institution, we can better give students the chance they deserve to compete for and qualify for these scholarships,” Riback-Wilson said during the MU Faculty Council meeting on Thursday. “We need a change in the climate of expectation on this campus.”

In speaking with the council, she suggested this could be accomplished by the staff and faculty actively watching for eligible students. “The reason we’re not more successful as an institution is our resources are fragmented,” Riback-Wilson said. “We have the services in place here, but our students don’t know about them.”

Even if the award is not won by the student, Riback-Wilson said the process of applying can be just as important.

“I have heard from students here that just applying is a better experience than some of their courses, by what they learn and gain from the process and the contacts they make,” she said.

The council also heard from MU’s senior coordinator of governmental affairs, Marty Oetting, concerning the state budget’s impact on higher education. Oetting said cuts were made in all state departments except for elementary and lower education and higher education.

“Remember, though, they like to have a balanced budget, and one of only two places they haven’t cut is higher education,” Oetting said.

Once the budget is passed, Oetting said he hopes there will be better opportunities for higher education in Missouri.

“The government and legislative leadership has dedicated itself to looking at higher education once the budget is back into balance,” Oetting said. “They recognize the role we play economically in the state and the role we play in research. They want to get us back to our high point in (fiscal year 2001) with appropriations.”

In other business, the council passed a policy encouraging professors to give excused absences to students for religious obligations. This includes a note on the academic calendar, the addition of a statement in the Faculty Handbook and a statement on course syllabi concerning this policy.

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