Monday, March 3, 2014

Morris Tech Fee

At the University of Minnesota Morris, we have what I think is a pretty unique opportunity for our student governance. Like other universities, Morris has a "Technology Fee." (Actually, this is wrapped up as a Morris Campus Fee, but for this post, let me use both interchangeably.) But unlike other schools, our students have a direct voice in how those fees are implemented to support technology.

A number of years ago, our student governance asked to have this "Tech Fee" levied so that students might benefit from new an experimental investments in technology. So they went to our leadership at the time and had this fee added. Every year, our student governance hears presentations from across the campus—faculty, staff, and students—on how these groups might invest certain funds to support new technology. And then the governance body has to decide how to allocate monies to each group, if at all.

Last week, I got to watch this year's Tech Fee process. This is my fourth year in Tech Fee, participating with the other IT partners as "advisors" to the student governance group. And as in previous years, I continue to be impressed with the professional and determined approach.

This year, my group sought funding from Tech Fee for four projects: enhancing a student lab, replacing several lab printers, renewing the campus ridesharing system, and (together with one of our faculty) experimenting with a new software program to help students better examine rhetorical texts. We look forward to the new year as we work on these projects. I'm pleased to continue to work with our student governance in the Tech Fee process!

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