A. Student Services

Student services are defined in UW System Administrative Policy 822, Student Services Funding: “Student services represent the many educational activities which contribute to a student’s overall learning experience.” The National Association of College and University Business Officers [NACUBO] defines student services as “…activities with the primary purpose of contributing to the student’s emotional and physical well-being and to his or her intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instruction program.”

Student services include expenditures for student activities, cultural events, student newspapers, intramural athletics, student organizations, intercollegiate athletics, counseling and career guidance, student aid administration, and student health services. Within the content of that definition, for example, falls such activities as recruitment and retention of students, a function many institutional children’s centers fulfill by providing a service essential for student-parents’ university attendance.

In functioning as a student service for both UW System student-parents and nonparent students, children’s centers may provide services such as:

  • reliable, excellent-quality, on-site (or near to campus), affordable child care, desirable for student-parents’ access to the university’s educational opportunities;
  • child care with flexible hours, desirable both to allow students to meet their academic obligations; the attempt to provide flexibility creates tensions between high quality and low costs, which each institution must resolve;
  • support for student-parents and student employees, providing financial aid advising, academic advice, personal consultation (just as athletic departments and other university-supported units provide support for their student constituencies);
  • contribution to the total institutional learning community: knowledge about high-quality child care, parent education, child development, and about inter-generational relationships.

B. Instruction/Academic Support

NACUBO defines instruction as including “all activities that are part of an instructional program.” Expenditures for credit courses; academic, vocational and technical instruction; remedial and tutorial instruction; and extension courses are included. It also includes “expenditures made toward service for the institution’s primary missions: instruction, research, and public service.”

Instruction/academic support includes support for course and curriculum development and activities that provide a mechanism for students to gain practical experience. At many institutions, children’s centers serve as sites for instruction and/or academic support. Qualified, state-licensed children’s center staff serve as course instructors, internship supervisors, and supervisors of other practicum experiences which are part of students’ degree requirements.

Other instructional/academic support use of children’s centers includes activities such as:

  • credit-generating direct instruction taught by children’s center-affiliated faculty as regularly scheduled courses;
  • credit-generating field placement experiences for student teachers (DPI requirements: student teachers must be supervised by licensed cooperating teachers with baccalaureate degrees in education; three years of teaching experience, one year of experience at the institutional site, and a supervisory course);
  • practicum and observation sites for a variety of academic departments, including: child development, education, psychology, architecture, music, theatre, art, nursing, nutrition, kinesiology, communicative disorders, communication arts, foreign languages, educational psychology, recreation, etc.;
  • developing and testing model curricula and instructional materials;
  • keeping a balanced population of children for a generalizable research sample;
  • mentoring and advising student teachers;
  • contributing to the recruitment and retention of students in child- and family-related academic programs.

C. Basic and Applied Research

NACUBO defines research as “…activities specifically organized to produce research…The category includes individual and/or project research as well as that of institutes and research centers.”

In the case of children’s centers, research is conducted on child development, improvements in early childhood education, and/or improved teaching methods, as well as on a wide range of additional topics. Some of the UW System institutional children’s centers that serve as research sites maintain waiting lists of researchers. Faculty and graduate and undergraduate students use the centers for research activities such as:

  • basic and applied research focused on life span development and family relationships from a variety of disciplines;
  • faculty and student research project pilot sites;
  • teaching/supporting graduate student research in project design and/or use of human subjects.

Representative examples of academic departmental use and some types of completed or on-going projects include: child development (parent-child interaction); early childhood education (comparison of curriculum models); architecture (effectiveness of visual cues in guiding traffic patterns); music; theatre; art; nursing; nutrition; kinesiology (normal motor development); communicative disorders (children’s interpersonal communication); communication arts; educational psychology (mainstreaming special needs children; integration of new children into classroom); interdisciplinary/multicultural programs.

D. Public Service/Outreach

NACUBO defines public service as activities established primarily to provide noninstructional services benefitting individuals and groups external to the UW System including community service programs and cooperative service programs. It also includes advisory services, reference bureaus, consulting, conferences, and similar services to particular sectors of the community.

Most UW System children’s centers and staff members provide public service in a manner similar to that provided by members of an academic department. Public service, or “outreach,” along with teaching and research, is part of the traditional triad of responsibilities for university faculty and academic staff. Often, children’s centers in the UW System establish quantifiable goals and requirements in public service for staff members. Centers sometimes require public service work as part-of-load for academic staff members. Examples of public service and outreach work include:

  • providing state-of-the-art program models for community, professional, and business child care providers to observe, along with appropriate consultation and guidance;
  • providing parent education for university students and community members and additional community education (for example, the UW-La Crosse children’s center provides evening tutoring for Native American and Hmong children);
  • local, state, national and international professional interaction (for example, the UW-Madison children’s centers hosts Japanese and Russian educators from post-secondary and elementary institutions annually);
  • consultation regarding national accreditation standards and service as national accreditation team members;
  • state licensure coursework for community child care providers (40 hour entry-level course in child development), as well as in-service continuing education courses for certified teachers (granting CEU credits);
  • presentations at local, state, and national conferences;
  • membership on local, state and national child care boards and leadership in professional organizations;
  • consultation for community and business child care providers, referral services, and professional development for university and community members.

E. Institutional Support

NACUBO defines institutional support as “expenditures for central executive-level activities concerned with management and long-range planning for the entire institution, such as…support services to faculty and staff that are not operated as an auxiliary enterprise….” Appendix 2 of UW System Administrative Policy 316, University of Wisconsin System Institutional Support Functional Definition Uniform Chart of Accounts includes as institutional support such activities as recruitment of faculty and staff and services in support of alumni and community relations.

Children’s centers provide additional support that benefits the institution at large. Such services include:

  • the recruitment and retention of sought-after faculty and staff which often depends upon reliable, high-quality, on-site child care with flexible yearly schedules at prices comparable to private, community providers;
  • recruitment of sought-after, highly qualified graduate and/or undergraduate students which often depends upon reliable, high-quality, on-site child care with flexible yearly schedules at prices comparable to private, community providers;

Many children’s centers choose to encourage a certain percentage of faculty and staff usage, since these parents normally use full-day and often full-year services, thus providing one source of stable funding which is useful in balancing more expensive flexible-hours care for student parents, more expensive care for very young children, and the other activities of the centers.

F. Auxiliary Enterprises

Since most children’s centers need a stable funding base in order to meet quality expectations and to be able to provide the flexibility needed by student-parents, campus children’s centers may at times be operated partly as auxiliaries** (defined in FAP – Auxiliary Enterprises Support Services Chargebacks (F42), for example, when open for use by community residents.

** Auxiliary functions support other functions already in existence on campus

As do faculty and staff users, community users can provide a stable funding base and a source of economies of scale for children’s centers. They tend to be full-day clients, while students often use the center for only part of the day; thus the full-day clients’ fees are helpful in covering fixed costs.

Opening the children’s center to the community can have additional positive benefits. Community use can provide a positive “town and gown” model, promoting the mutually beneficial cooperation between groups. The institutions help to meet a community need; community members come on to campus, which they might not otherwise do, in the very positive context of receiving high-quality early childhood education for their children. Another benefit of community use is that the addition of “community children” to “university children” may provide a more broadly representative population for researchers.

G. Preferred/Allowable Funding Sources by Activity

GPR/ Fees Seg.Fees User Fees Gifts/Grants
Student Services A A P A
Instruction/Acad. Support P N A A
Research A N A A
Public Service/Outreach P N A A
Institutional Support A N P A
Auxiliary Enterprises N N P A