The University Record, October 23, 1995

Four new 'Partnerships for Outreach' are key in state budget request

University officials, in submitting the University's budget requests to the state government, proposed new and expanded "partnerships for outreach" to the state of Michigan and its citizens.

The University's request for a 1996-97 appropriation increase includes funding for "an expansion in our many outreach activities, bringing the knowledge and abilities of our faculty and students directly to the citizens of the state and addressing their needs," according to Provost J. Bernard Machen.

The University's request covers two other important components, he noted: "a further expansion in the undergraduate research program, which has benefited from previous state support" and an estimated rate of inflation of about 3.1 percent, "which means that our total General Fund budget will have to be 3.1 percent larger in order to allow us to continue to do the same things."

Four activities are included in the new and expanded partnerships for outreach to the state and its citizens, Machen said: 

Center for Learning through Community Service "will increase opportunities for students to serve the community, learn from the experience, and strengthen their social responsibility," Machen said. "More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students participate in some form of community service. They are rehabilitating homes for the homeless, operating programs for children and families and devising strategies for neighborhood revitalization. They are serving meals in soup kitchens, cleaning up the environment and organizing against violence in the schools.

"The Center will increase involvement of students in several projects, including:

(1) Project SERVE, engaging them in service-delivery and problem-solving in low income areas of Ypsilanti, Flint and neighboring cities;

(2) All-Michigan Communities Initiative, enabling them to conduct service-learning projects that address unmet needs in all 83 Michigan counties;

(3) Detroit Initiative, addressing educational, environmental and economic development needs through community-based organizations citywide and;

(4) Community Strategies Against Poverty, addressing child development, school-family and neighborhood needs in collaboration with non-profit agencies in southeastern Michigan.

"The Center will enable faculty members to incorporate service in for-credit courses in academic departments and professional schools across the curriculum. It will support research projects which actively involve community groups in knowledge development and disseminate the findings to citizens statewide."

 

The State and Local Policy Research Center "will allow the University's considerable expertise in state and local tax, spending and regulatory policies to be brought to bear on current issues facing governments, in Michigan and around the country.

"While individual faculty and students have always been involved in many policy issues, such activities have generally not been coordinated, nor have public officials ever had a clear sense of where they might best seek such assistance.

"Both problems will be solved by the establishment of a center whose missions are to provide scholarly research on policy issues of relevance to state and local governments and to improve the policy-making process by providing research to policy makers. The center will achieve these missions by pulling faculty together from many departments and professional schools."

 

Economic Development Outreach "will extend and coordinate the U-M's resources into communities throughout the state. While the initiative will involve all areas of the University, the Business and Industrial Assistance Division (BIAD) of the School of Business Administration will serve as the anchor.

"BIAD is a 15-year-old outreach program that has provided management and technical assistance to Michigan's small manufacturers, minority businesses, entrepreneurs, community organizations and local governments. While considered the most successful and effective university-based business outreach program for economic development in the state, BIAD's dependence on external sources and funding cycles has limited the scope and stability of its commitment to its client firms and communities."

 

Institute for Educational Innovation in K-12 "will serve as an interdisciplinary University effort to partner with Michigan schools. The purpose of this partnership will be to transport new programs and technology, proven through research by University faculty members, to the schools. The goal of the Institute is to make more educational resources available to the schools at no cost to them.

"For most of the University's history, its faculty has been involved in K-12 education. Because of funding limitations, many efforts have been limited to Ann Arbor or southeastern Michigan. The Institute will offer new resources to extend programs throughout the state that have been and will be developed within the University. Access to knowledge through computer technology will be a primary thrust of the Institute. We believe this will be of immense benefit to all schools, but will prove especially beneficial to remote districts, to new schools (such as charter schools) and to districts with limited resources."

The U-M is requesting an increase of $7.5 million in state appropriation for these partnerships for outreach.

Another $2 million is being sought for expansion of opportunities for research by undergraduate students, Machen said.

"One of the important benefits received by an undergraduate student who attends a major research university is the opportunity to receive instruction from some of the nation's leading scientists, scholars and artists, and to learn directly from them about their efforts to advance the frontiers of our knowledge. How much more exciting, therefore, is the opportunity to participate directly in the research itself!

"Several years ago, the University initiated a program designed to make this opportunity a reality for our students. In 1993, the state provided a modest increase in our base appropriation to assist us in the expansion of this program, and we are asking now for a further increase to help us make this research opportunity an integral part of every undergraduate student's educational program.

"In times of rapid change such as we face in the coming decades, our students will need not only the knowledge of facts but the ability to adapt, to assess, to respond. The skills required for the successful conduct of research are ideal for this purpose. We intend to involve in this program faculty from all of our schools and colleges."

Finally, Machen noted, the University's request for an inflation adjustment of 3.1 percent in 1996-97 would amount to $8.9 million.

"It is important" Machen added, "not to lose sight of a different but closely related issue, that of cost control and cost reduction.

"For nearly 20 years, the University has been imposing significant cost reductions as part of its annual budgeting process. In each of the past five years, for example, each unit has had to reallocate at least 2 percent of its budget in order to maintain its programs."

As requested by the state government, the U-M also submitted its request for 1997-98 appropriation increase. This request seeks a 3.3 percent inflation adjustment. "The future rate of inflation is difficult to predict," Machen said, "but if the actual rate turns out to be different, we would alter our request accordingly." In addition, the University requests a $10 million base increase for 1997-98 to support further expansion of its partnerships for outreach to the state and its citizens.

The Regents approved the University's budget requests for 1996-97 and 1997-98 at their October meeting.