Finishing Your Proposals

Jeff Stanzler (MSC Faculty)'s picture

As we near the Thursday, April 6th deadline for you to complete your proposals, and as you hone your arguments, do your final research, and finish the actual write-up of your proposal, we want to briefly discuss  consultations and the structure of your proposal:

Consultations

As you know, we expect you to take consultations with at least three people outside of the MSC who have specialized knowledge or insight about your issue (including but not limited to professionals, professors, government officials, representatives of advocacy groups, and community leaders) and to engage them in substantive discussion regarding your proposal’s scope, practicality, and likely impact on the lives of people (especially young people) in Michigan. Please note that consultations must be conversations with real, live people, not something you read on the web.

In selecting your consultants, please consider the following:

  • Consultants should not be relied on for confirmation of ideas you have already developed, but rather should be sources of broader understanding and critical guidance in defining your proposal.  The best proposals will have at least one consultant that pushes back on, or raises questions about the proposal.
  • The right consultant can spare you considerable time and effort in directing your research, gaining insight into the issue or topic that concerns you, and formulating a cogent proposal to address it.  
  • Finding consultants is often a process that may require making a number of initial inquiries before you ultimately identify the people most qualified to support a compelling proposal.  
  • Please note: Your consultations must be listed in the "consultations" section of your proposal, and they must be documented by (a) a video or audio clip of the discussion and/or (b) a text summary of the discussion or (c) a text transcript of part of the discussion. All documentation must be included in the proposal or uploaded as an attachment.

We encourage you at any stage in this process to confer with instructors or topic coordinators for guidance or feedback: we are here to help. Faculty are listing office hours over the coming days, so please sign up for office hours or message the faculty at: mscinstructors@umich.edu

Proposal Structure

As you complete and polish your proposal, carefully responding to the context questions in the template, there are some other key structural steps to which you must attend. Be sure that:

  • Your preambulatory clauses clearly and succinctly define the problem your proposal is addressing, and should persuade the reader that this is a problem needing to be solved.
  • Your operative clauses clearly and in detail state the solution you are proposing (that you’ve chosen from among the three potential solutions you outlined earlier). These clauses are, in effect, directions telling the legislature exactly what needs to be done.
  • You’ve thoughtfully outlined possible counter-arguments to your proposals.
  • You’ve carefully described your research process.  
  • In cases where the proposal was created by a team of two, you’ve described which partner did what.  

Proposal Checks

Most of you have been in for your proposal checks, but those of you who’ve not yet done so can still have your checks this week (until March 31). We are no longer offering extended office hours as we have been for the past few weeks, though. Come in to see one of the faculty during listed office hours this week, or message the faculty asap at: mscinstructors@umich.edu to set up a proposal check meeting this week.

Online Participation

Make sure, of course, to continue taking part in the online discussions, whether guided by the Topic Coordinators or your peers (remember that each of you is expected to start at least two discussions). You are also invited to begin commenting on other proposals and, of course to respond to comments on your proposal from your topic coordinator. The spirit of MSC is helping one another to do the best possible work, so please read some of the proposals written by your peers and offer comments, specific praise, and any suggestions you might wish to pass along.

Next week, we’ll talk about the rating process that will begin on April 7th, through which you will choose the proposals that will make up the Winter 2017 platform that we’ll all present in Lansing on April 19th…stay tuned.