Assembly allocates $3000 for UTI

by Charles Gardner | 11/7/01 6:00am

As part of the continuing implementation of the Undergraduate Teaching Initiative (UTI), Student Assembly passed a resolution last night allocating $3,000 for four grants to support innovative teaching methods at the College.

The resolution, which was sponsored by Aly Rahim '02, David Hankins '05 and Jonathon Lazarow '05, was not intended to be an end in itself, according to Rahim, but a strong message to the College on the current state of support for undergraduate teaching.

"This resolution aims to make a statement, not merely provide a service," said Rahim, who chairs the Assembly's Academic Affairs Committee and is the author of the Initiative.

"Through its actions, the SA wishes to bring to light this significant deficiency in our institutional support of teaching," he said.

Rahim hoped that the administration and faculty would respond positively to the resolution by contributing at least 10 times the $3,000 allocated by the Assembly to further teaching grants, as recommended by language in the resolution.

"There are going to be meetings arranged with the appropriate administrators," Rahim said, explaining to the Assembly how he intended to move the College to action on this point.

"All that we can do is make our statement," he said. "The ball is now in the administration's court."

The issue has already been discussed with both College Provost Barry Scherr and Dean of Faculty Jamshed Bharucha, according to Student Body President Molly Stutzman '02.

The resolution "puts our money where our mouth is," Stutzman said, stressing the symbolic importance of the Assembly's contribution, which amounts to nearly a tenth of its yearly budget.

The four grants, two of $1,000 and two of $500, will be awarded during the current academic year by the Assembly's Academic Affairs Committee following a selective application process.

The creation of teaching grants was the third of four recommendations of the Undergraduate Teaching Initiative, though the first to be brought before the Assembly and approved.

The Initiative was passed in principle at the Oct. 16 Assembly meeting.

Also discussed at the meeting was Student Assembly's website, which was recently redesigned by members Sam Reisner '02, Reid Thompson '03 and Jared Alessandroni '03.

In a presentation to the Assembly, the trio demonstrated some of the new features that currently exist on the site, as well as others that will appear in the near future.

Already available is online ordering of Mugshots, the upperclassman directory, in addition to a UTI page and a service for reserving Tom Dent Cabin, which was recently acquired by the Assembly.

Future services that are currently in the works are automatic wake-up calls, an extensive online calendar system featuring a listing of campus events and a server to host a range of campus-related films, such as arts performances, discussions and even bonfire videos.

In related news, Student Assembly last Sunday held a meeting of student leaders at the Hinman Forum in the Rockefeller Center.

Designed to foster a dialogue among campus organizations, the meeting featured a dinner followed by round table discussions on current campus issues.

"Our aim within Student Assembly is to be a resource for all students and student groups, and I believe this dinner was a great first start," Stutzman said.