Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding
between
The Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM)
and
The Office of the Provost
and
The Office of Research and Creative Scholarship/Graduate School
regarding
The Operation of the Research and Scholarship Fee Committee for Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research, Creative Scholarship, and Travel

Purpose

The purpose of the Research & Scholarship Fund and its Committee is to sponsor undergraduate and graduate student research, academic presentation, and creative scholarship. This money will be spent entirely on students and will not be used for faculty, staff, or any department.

Definitions

"Fund" - the fund established by ASUM, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Research & Creative Scholarship/Graduate School pooling money for the purpose of student research, academic presentation, and creative scholarship

"Fee" - the Research & Scholarship Fee that ASUM collects each semester, since the Fall of 2015; this is a result of a student-driven fee passed by ASUM in the Spring of 2015

"Contributing Parties" - entities which are contributing money to the Fund: ASUM, Office of the Provost, Office of Research & Creative Scholarship/Graduate School

"Committee" - the committee established by the Contributing Parties to oversee and allocate funds; its make-up is outlined below

"Chair" - the Chair of the Committee, the ASUM Business Manager

Terms

Per ASUM and Board of Regents (BOR) policies, ASUM is mandated to maintain its funds in- house. Therefore, it will house the funds collected from the Fee within its department.

At the beginning of Fall semester, the Contributing Parties shall transfer their agreed yearly contribution into the ASUM Research and Creative Scholarship Index to be distributed to student recipients as determined by the committee.

Per every award given by the Committee, the Chair shall notify the Contributing Parties and the Distributing Unit of the award and provide thorough documentation, including but not limited to: name, student identification number, a brief description of the project, the dates that the project will occur, and the total recommended award.

The Committee shall, after reviewing in person all submitted requests, determine the portion of each request to fund. The Committee may, at its discretion, establish an internal mechanism to set aside a portion of the funds each semester to provide for unforeseen requests that could not have been prepared during the beginning of each semester by students requesting funds.

The Committee Chair shall be in charge of making a calendar that outlines the schedule for the awards each semester, with the following guidelines: The Committee shall open applications for funding for no less than two (2) and no more than four (4) weeks prior to the start of each semester. The application period shall close by no later than three (3) weeks after the start of the semester. After applications have closed, the members of the committee shall individually review all submitted applications before convening for an in-person, final allocations meeting that shall occur during the first five (5) weeks of each semester to determine the portion of each request that will be funded.

The Financial Aid Office (or any other appropriate distributing unit, such as Business Services, as determined by the Director of Scholarships) shall be responsible for distributing the awards allocated by the committee to the student recipients and shall coordinate with the committee chair to ensure that the awards are distributed properly. Awards should be distributed by the sixth (6th) week of each semester to the recipients. The Financial Aid Office shall allocate funds (charged from the ASUM Research and Creative Scholarship Index) to the recipient's student account. The Chair shall be responsible for notifying the recipient of their award.

So long as an award shall not put a student over-limit, the Financial Aid Office shall include awards in a student's Financial Aid Package for the semester in which their project will take place. The Financial Aid Office will increase a student's cost of attendance by the student's award amount for recipients who have already reached their Financial Aid limit.

The Committee structure has been established to accommodate the inclusion of all Contributing Parties. The makeup of the Committee and its general functions are as follows, per ASUM bylaws:

  1. The Research & Scholarship Committee shall be composed of 12 voting members, of which two (2) will be members of the ASUM Senate, three (3) will be undergraduate students-at-large selected by ASUM, one (1) will be a graduate student-at-large selected by ASUM, three {3} will be graduate students-at large selected by the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship/The Graduate School, and three (3) will be either faculty or staff selected by the Office of the Provost. The Director of Scholarships from the Financial Aid Office shall also sit as an ex-officio non-voting member of the committee, to assist in determining the appropriate distributing unit of each recipient.
  2. The committee shall be chaired by the ASUM Business Manager. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the committee, and shall only vote in the case of a tie.
  3. A quorum for the Research and Scholarship Committee shall consist of at least fifty (50) percent plus one (1) of the committee's current voting members, with a minimum of at least six (6) voting members.
  4. The committee shall be responsible for oversight, management and allocation of the Research & Scholarship fund.
  5. The Research and Creative Scholarship Office and the Office of the Provost shall transfer their contributions to ASUM's Research and Creative Scholarship Index at the start of each academic year. The Committee shall reserve at least 50% of the total joint fund for allocation during Spring semester.
  6. The committee shall convene at least once per academic semester to hear and review applications from undergraduate and graduate students. The committee shall determine what portion of each applicant's request to fund, and shall provide documentation to the Financial Aid Office (or the appropriate distributing unit) and to ASUM for distribution of the approved funding. This final distribution shall be done in coordination with the ASUM Business Manager, to ensure that the allocation of all funds match the committee's approved awards.

Responsible Parties

The following persons are responsible for implementing this Memorandum of Understanding:

Effective Dates

The Memorandum of Understanding will be in effect on August 1st, 2016 and terminate on August 1st, 2017. It shall be up for renewal at the end of the ASUM executives' terms each year. The outgoing ASUM executives shall determine ASUM involvement in this partnership for the following year.

Agreement and Signatures

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is intended only to set forth the general understanding of the parties with respect to the subject matter herein, and does not, and is not intended to contractually bind the parties. This MOU sets forth the complete understanding of the parties. It supersedes all prior agreements and negotiations, oral or written, with respect to this subject matter. The President's decisions supersede all internal agreements / MOUs and the President has the right to terminate any agreement if believed to be in the best interest of the University.