Five colleges and schools within the UW are beginning to implement new advisory councils in an effort to increase student involvement in decision-making on campus.
The councils are the result of a recent joint proposal from the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS).
The College of Built Environments, the Evans School of Public Affairs, the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Foster School of Business are acting as pilot schools for the College- and School-level Student Planning and Budgeting Councils proposal, which was presented to UW deans last week by ASUW President Conor McLean, ASUW Director of University Affairs Evan Smith, and Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) President Charles Plummer.
“Students are bearing the brunt of budget cuts, and they need that stronger voice,” Smith said.
These councils will be made up of students from each college or school who will meet regularly with the dean of their college. Councils will advise their deans on matters of course fees, annual budgets, and both long- and short-term planning for their college or school. They will also provide the Provost’s Advisory Committee for Students (PACS) with annual recommendations for the budget and student priorities.
The proposal for the councils was presented to the deans Wednesday of last week, and it noted that both ASUW and GPSS include in their goals that student views should be present during decision making at all levels of the university. The proposal aims to make this joint goal more of a reality.
Daniel Friedman, dean of the College of Built Environments, one of the five pilot colleges for the proposal, said Built Environments was already in the process of forming a student council before the proposal, and, after a conversation with McLean, Smith, and Plummer, the council formation has new structure and incentive.
“I think that they’ve presented a well-reasoned and articulate expansion of the culture of shared governance at the University of Washington,” Friedman said after last week’s ASUW/GPSS presentation.
The Evans School of Public Affairs also agreed to be a pilot school for the proposal.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Sandra Archibald, dean of the Evans School. “[Students are] paying 70 percent of the bill.”
The Evans School already has a student organization made up of nine elected officers, and Archibald has consulted with them informally in the past. The official Planning and Budgeting Councils will make this student-faculty interaction within the school even stronger.
“It shouldn’t be hard for us to do,” Archibald said of implementing the official council.
The councils, which Smith hopes will be active in every college and school within the UW by the end of the next academic year, will be made up of a diverse group of students from each college or school. Spots on each council will be reserved for a member of the ASUW and a member of the GPSS.
Both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to be on each council, which should “achieve a membership representative of [the] unique diversity,” of each college, according to the proposal.
The idea for these councils is supported by Provost Ana Mari Cauce, and Friedman said that he believed every dean welcomed the proposal.
The pilot councils should be up and running by spring quarter of this year, and ASUW and GPSS plan to update the deans on the progress of these councils again before the full implementation of councils throughout campus next year.
“It’s another step in the right direction to have better channels for student advocacy,” Smith said. “And to get more student influence within the planning and budgeting process within the university, which is more important now than ever.”
Reach reporter Katie Pine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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