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Wednesday May 9, 2001

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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences seeks $15M

By Michelle McCollum

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Funds would benefit scholarships, professorships and student programs

UA's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has launched an extensive fundraising campaign for $15 million to enhance its departments' academic, research and outreach programs.

Of the projected $15 million, $5 million would go to endowed professorships and $2 million to student scholarships. The other $8 million would be claimed by specific departments, which include psychology, linguistics and the Latin American Area Center.

Each department will focus on area-specific activities like adding a fifth floor to the Haury Anthropology Building, creating an online dictionary database for American Indian languages and building a Women's Plaza of Honor.

Organizers for the Women's Plaza of Honor, proposed by the University of Arizona women's studies department, have a goal of raising $1.5 million, and say they hope to give students not only another spot on campus to relax, but also a place where they can become aware of the important women who impact their lives, said department head Liz Kennedy.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to recognize women in Arizona or women who have contributed to the public sphere, and who have contributed to our family and work lives," Kennedy said. "It will hopefully also eventually create an endowment for women's studies."

Similar hopes of student learning enhancement have propelled the political science department to ask for $500,000 to expand its Model United Nations Program, which has previously "been running on a shoestring," said department head Bill Mishler.

"We're always strapped for resources to update materials, and we have to rely on a lot of volunteer services. If we had some extra money we could get up-to-date maps, and use online services," he said.

"There are more people interested in doing this than we can accommodate, and (the money) will definitely be an advantage to the undergraduate students who plan it, and the high school students who participate," he added.

The campaign was launched in mid-April, and those involved with the fundraising took part in a workshop, where fundraising expert Kay Brace taught the important aspects of raising money through private donation. She offered tips on how to approach private donors, and when to strategically announce the fundraising to the general public.

"We did this because we wanted people to feel involved and excited in what we were fundraising for," said Margaret Wilder, associate dean for administration and planning in the UA Dean of Students Office.

The fundraising campaign also includes two "mega-initiatives," Wilder said.

The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Initiative and the Mind, Brain and Society project are both aimed at benefiting the entire campus in many fields inside and outside of the college.

The borderlands initiative will create endowments for faculty positions and funding for immigration studies, among other things, Wilder said.

The Mind, Brain and Society project will study issues from many diverse fields, such as Alzheimer's disease and language acquisition.

While the "mega-initiatives" are still in their beginning stages, Wilder said she is confident they will be a success and that the university will benefit from the growth.

By using private donations, SBS will be able to gain support from the outside community.

"SBS is leading this effort, but it is on behalf of the whole university," Wilder said.

The campaign will end in 2005.