1 University of Saskatchewan Graduate Students’ Association Course Council Meeting July 9, 2009 4:30 pm in Arts 105 AGENDA Call to Order 1.0 Approval of the Agenda 2.0 Approval of the Minutes 3.0 GSA Executive Reports 3.1. President 3.2. VP Operations 3.3. VP Academic 3.4. VP Student Affairs 3.5. VP Finance 3.6. VP External 4.0 GSA website 5.0 Grad Commons Update 6.0 Announcements 7.0 Adjournment 2 University of Saskatchewan Graduate Students’ Association Course Council Meeting April 16, 2009 4:30pm, Arts 143 MINUTES Attendance: Ashley Mascarenhas (Chair), Janice Victor (President), Alison Ward (VP Operations), Zafer Dallal Bashi (VP External), Mohamed Mohamed (VP Finance), Wei Wang (VP Student Affairs), Adam Splawinski, Kris Sullivan, Graham Fairhurst, Matthew Munson, Sara Pieper, Emma Turner, Erin Smith-Windsorm Adam McKenzie, Chris Brooks, Wojtek Quibell, Heather Agnew, Devin Ens, Meshon Cantrill, Ana Novakovic, Charlene Magnus, Nick Malian, Arron Metcalfe, Erin Sterner, Wendie Marks, Amanda Hunter, Christian Dedzoe. 0.0 Call to order at 4:48 pm 1.0 Approval of the Agenda Motion 1.0: Be it resolved that (BIRT) the agenda for April 16, 2009 be approved. Moved by Arron Metcalfe, seconded by Christian Dedzoe Carried unanimously 2.0 Approval of the Minutes Motion 2.0: BIRT the minutes for the March 19, 2009 meeting be approved. Moved by Chris Brooks, seconded by Adam McKenzie Carried unanimously 3.0 GSA Executive Reports 3.1 President’s Report Motion 3.0: BIRT the President’s report is accepted into the minutes. Moved by Christian Dedzoe, seconded by Arron Metcalfe Carried unanimously 3.2 VP Operations Motion 4.0: BIRT the VP Operations’ report is accepted into the minutes. 3 Moved by Christian Dedzoe, seconded by Erin Smith-Windsor Carried unanimously 3.3 VP Academic The VP Academic is not yet present. Motion 5.0: Whereas the VP Academic has not yet arrived, BIRT the VP Academic’s be presented later in the meeting. Moved by Arron Metcalfe, seconded by Adam McKenzie Motion carried with one abstention 3.4 VP Student Affairs Where is the email list going to be published? o It is just in the planning stages right now Motion 6.0: BIRT the VP Student Affairs’ report is accepted into the minutes. Moved by Amanda Hunter, seconded by Chris Brooks Carried unanimously 3.5 VP Finance The VP Finance is not yet present. Motion 7.0: Whereas the VP Finance has not yet arrived, BIRT the VP Finance’s be presented later in the meeting Moved by Chris Brooks, seconded by Christian Dedzoe Carried unanimously 3.6 VP External In regard to the Chamber of Commerce discussions, will certain members of the private sector provide specific types of funding or general funding for the University to use at it’s discretion? o On average there is less investment from the private sector, but there was no discussion on the details of the funding. Motion 8.0: BIRT the VP External’s report is accepted into the minutes. Moved by Chris Brooks, seconded by Emma Turner Carried unanimously 3.5 VP Finance Has brought cheques for Course Councils to pick up o This is an effective way to distribute the cheques Who is responsible for taking attendance at the meetings? o The VP Operations is responsible. The sign-in sheets can be viewed at the GSA office. 4 Motion 9.0: Whereas most of the CFS shirts have not yet been sold, BIRT the GSA pays the outstanding balance owing on the t-shirts from the CFS fund. Moved by Mohamed Hamid Mohamed, seconded by Chris Brooks. One abstention, motion carried. Motion 10.0: BIRT the VP Finance’s report is accepted into the minutes. Moved by Christian Dedzoe, seconded by Chris Brooks Carried unanimously 4.0 Elections 4.1 Elections Report The CRO (Alison Ward) presented the elections report. Was the to the nomination form being incomplete used as an excuse to justify the other irregularities? In which nomination period was the nomination form incomplete? o The first one Several councilors felt that the issue of Facebook (i.e. private vs. public) needs to be clarified for future elections Motion 11.0: BIRT the elections report is accepted into the minutes. Moved by Chris Brooks, seconded by Christian Dedzoe. Carried with one abstention. 4.2 Appeal of the Elections Zafer appealed the election results to course council on the basis of several instances where the Constitution was not followed. Firstly, the second call for nominations should not have been extended for the position of president because a nomination for that position (his) had already been received. He felt his nomination should not have been deemed void due to the form being incomplete because in past years he had filled out the form the same way and it had been accepted. Secondly, he felt that the other presidential candidate should have been disqualified because he was campaigning during the election via a status update on his Facebook page. Thirdly, he claimed that an email sent by a Chris Brooks containing opinions about some of the candidates was sent using the GSA mailing list. Council discussed the issue. Chris Brooks clarified that his email was only sent to members of his department and that he did not use the GSA mailing list. There was much debate on each of the points raised by Zafer. Motion 12.0: BIRT due to irregularities in the electoral process the, another election for the position of president will be held. Moved by Zafer Dallal Bashi, seconded by Amanda Hunter. Motion carried with 13 for, 5 against, 8 abstentions. Several comments were made after the motion. We need to learn from what has happened. A handbook for the CRO is in the planning. Councilors are obligated to disseminate 5 information about the GSA, but is should be unbiased. Email and Facebook policies should be clarified. The election policies are flawed and should be re-examined. 4.3 Call for Volunteers for VP Student Affairs A call for volunteers was sent out for the VP Student Affairs position, but no one has stepped forward. Motion 13.0: BIRT a by-election for VP Student Affairs will be held concurrent to the election for President. Moved by Alison Ward, seconded by Emma Turner. Carried unanimously. The CRO asked for volunteers for the elections committee. Emma Turner and Sara Pieper volunteered. 4.4 Clarification of Campaign Policies Councilors should not tell people who to vote for, just respond to their questions People generally don’t ask councilors questions. The role of a councilor is to make recommendations based upon their observations Others believe that councilors should not make that decision Things have been handled incorrectly in the past The issue is the timing of when the email was sent (during the election). You can’t control other people’s actions Members of the elections committee did not any emails about the election during the campaign period The subjects of the email should be cc’d so that they can respond to it Is the problem with the medium? Would it be different if the statement was made to a group in person? Councilors should not be prevented from addressing their friends Motions shouldn’t contravene Canada’s constitution (i.e. freedom of speech) Motion 14.0: BIRT the GSA considers campaigning to be communication activities done by candidates or persons those candidates have authorized to campaign on their behalf. Moved by Chris Brooks, seconded by Arron Metcalfe. For: otherwise it would be a limitation on freedom of speech Against: wording is very grey; should not allow a mass email For: councilors should be an independent voice Motion carried with 16 for, 2 against, and 1 abstention 4.5 Social Networking Policies This is a communication issue and was therefore addressed by the previous motion Can’t expect anyone to delete a blog post, which is a similar issue The election committee acted appropriately Facebook is someone’s own personal business as one has to go look for it Is there a difference between public and private profiles 6 Motion 15.0: BIRT the issue of Facebook was a communication issue. Moved by Sara Pieper, seconded by Graham Fairhurst. Motion carried. What follows this motion? Motion 16.0: BIRT in amendment to motion 14.0, personal profiles on Facebook and other social networking sites do not constitute campaigning but Facebook groups do. Moved by ???, seconded by ???. Motion carried. 5.0 Grad Commons Update Janice presented the update in the President’s report. 6.0 Announcements There were no announcements. 7.0 Adjournment Motion 17.0: BIRT the meeting be adjourned. Moved by ???, seconded by ???. Motion carried. 7 Graduate Students’ Association President's Report – July 9, 2009 ______________________________________________________________ I would like to take this opportunity to note that this executive has been doing an exceptional job of taking over their portfolios. This executive has surpassed my personal expectations for the amount of work, time and dedication given to their positions. 1. Graduate Commons The license to occupy has been signed following the review of the lawyer with minimal changes as per his recommendations The budget for the commons project is becoming inflated. Actions are being taken to remedy the situation. The budget issues are due to a variety of reasons including: o Change in scope/plans o Errors in initial estimates o Misunderstanding of the phasing of the project The Graduate Commons Advisory Committee has met once to discuss the budget issues. o There is concern re: the ability to find more financing from the U of S o It is concerning that the U of S commitment based on the license to occupy is not being met already As a priority area of the Second Integrated Plan, there is resistance to the commons as a priority area o Other stakeholders are seeking ways to assist in the complete funding of the Commons Ryan Martin, our project manager from FMD has been instrumental in ensuring that this project goes forward: o Demolition of the site is complete o The project is moving forward With the assistance of the FMD designer and the decision making committee, site specific decisions are being made University advancement, via the annual giving campaign that we initiated, is confident that they will be able to raise $75 000.00. To date $6 000.00 has been raised from the 5300 letters sent to graduate student alumni. 2. Meetings and Committee Work Tuition Policy Project Meeting o The first meeting for this is scheduled for July 10th Marquis Hall Renewal and Food Service Committee o Have not attended a meeting to date CGSR Executive Committee o Attended two meetings to date o Discussion primarily around the development of a systematic Graduate Program Review (GPR) 8 It is anticipated that this will be going forward in September 2010 Review of all graduate programs on a seven-year cycle Graduate student involvement is indicated but not concrete Working toward having minimum standards for graduate student involvement in the review process o A preliminary discussion has begun regarding the systematic review of the CGSR Vision 2057 Steering committee o Have not yet attended meetings o Committee directing the long term land use policies of the U of S o Nothing of relevance to report at this point College Quarter development o Have not yet attended meetings o Housing development is in the works The university has committed to increasing the number of beds for graduate students. Complete details are forthcoming Planning and Priorities Committee o Conversation regarding the retention of graduate students occurred. This is an area that the University has not paid particular attention to but acknowledges it is necessary in the future Policy for conduct in research o GSA executive has forwarded our comments on this document for inclusion/consideration ULC Advisory Board o Have not attended any meetings to date o Nothing to report Non-Academic Alternative Dispute Resolution o Intended to be an informal mechanism for addressing non-academic disputes At the training sessions, several concerns were raised about the logistics of the program and some revision and clarification is being done GSA Public relations committee o Not convened to date New committee and committee structure will be developed GSA Publications Committee o Not convened to date New committee and committee structure will be developed University Council o Attended one meeting Brought the commons project to the attention of council Discussed the increased presence of the GSA in the upcoming year to the attention of council Long Term Planning Committee o Not yet convened 3. Position Statements The executive will be developing position statements about issues in the upcoming year. Those statements will include: 9 o Tuition o Provincial graduate retention tax o Student labour rights o Graduate committee responsibilities o Housing o Transportation o Funding o The Universities commitment to graduate students (as per the Second Integrated Plan) 10 Graduate Students’ Association VP Operations Report – July 9, 2009 ______________________________________________________________ 1. Bursary Selection Met with Allison Ward, Mohamed Mohamed and Charlene Magnus. 19 completed applications were received. $3000 was divided between 11 recipients. A weighted average was used to determine the amount awarded to each individual. 3. Committees Jared attended the Master’s Committee meeting in my absence on June 16, 2009 5. Other Writing minutes and agendas and compiling reports for course council, executive, and AGM meetings 11 Graduate Students’ Association VP Academic’s Report – July 9, 2009 ______________________________________________________________ Report of the Vice-President Academic of the Graduate Student’s Association for the period of May 1-July 8 Since coming into office in May, my time on duty has moslty been spent in committee meetings or dealing with student concerns regarding final grades. Academic Advocacy: There were three inquiries in regard to final grades. Two students were informed of the procedures involved in questioning and challenging grades. Both cases were resolved informally and to the satisfaction of all parties. The third case involved some difficulty on the part of the professor and the department head. Both were made to comply with university regulations and agreed to show the student her final examination and explain her grade. No further action was requested by the student. However, in light of the way this case unfolded, I feel obliged to report to council that Dr. David Mykota, head of the Department of Educational Psychology has given students false information about their rights. He has offered no explanation or apology. The professor in this case may well have been unaware of academic regulations, but a department head is required to know these. As a result, Dr. Mykota is on my watch-list for the rest of my term and anyone who has concerns about this department head or this department is encouraged to contact me at email@example.com In the course of my work as academic advocate, I have reminded faculty and administration that the GSA is a union and we will at times be confrontational. Committees: the minutes for all committees can be made available through myself or through our administrator, Johra. Issues of note are mentioned below. Academic Programs Committee May 19: Uncontroversial except for the proposal to combine all language degrees in the Department of Languages and Linguistics (except for French) into one BA in Modern Languages with specialisations in different languages available. As this proposal was endorsed by the department head, I did not feel it appropriate to oppose it. However, I raised this concern: the rationale given for this is that it will facilitate bureaucratic ease, free the department from having to offer courses that tend to have low enrolment, reduce pressure on a department short on resources, among others. My concerns are: 1. if this is a response to lack of resources, to endorse it would be to accept the paltry resources trickling down to humanities programs—when there are millions being spent on aesthetic makeovers, I cannot accept that the university is unable to hire more faculty; 2. the values of bureaucratic efficiency are not those of good scholarship—for example, it is more efficient to have 100 students/class and conduct all exams by computer cards—this is hardly the recipe for good scholarship; 3. related to 2, low enrolment is ideal for upper-year humanities courses; 4. I wasn’t prepared to endorse it because I hadn’t consulted with the graduate students in Languages and Linguistics. 12 If you are a student in this Department, let me know what you think of this at firstname.lastname@example.org However, it was approved with one abstention (me) and subsequently finalised at University Council (June 18). June 2 Lunch at Boffin’s. Had a roasted vegetable sandwich. June 9 Uncontroversial. One interesting item is that we are going to make a more common practice of cross-listing (double listing) courses. Approved here, and at the next University Council meeting, was the double listing of BIOL 224 and BMSC 224 Animal Body Systems. University Council May 21 Greeted Council on behalf of the new GSA and assured everyone that we would be an active and visible force on campus this year. June 18 A professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics spoke against the BA in Modern Languages proposal passed by the APC. Many faculty in the same department defended the change. A motion to send the proposal back to the department for further discussion was defeated. The proposal passed. Joint Master’s/PhD Committee June 23 Of interest is a form that CGSR is wants to require all students to sign with their supervisor and department head. It is three double-sided pages in length and 80% of its content is irrelevant to many colleges. It was suggested that a shorter form or a template that different departments could build from would be better. This discussion provided me with an opportunity to point out that the U of S suffers severely from an obsession with forms, centralization and standardization. I cited the example of requiring all courses to include final exams which is “ridiculous” for essay-based programs and makes us look foolish in comparison to other universities. Discussion of the form was deferred to the next meeting. I would like to design a better form to replace this one. The only question I think it needs to ask is, “Have you read and understood the following University guidelines…” with a list of relevant documents. If you have other ideas, feel free to send them to email@example.com PhD Committee June 23 Short and uncontroversial. The Master’s, Joint Master’s/PhD, and PhD committees will all be combined into one committee this fall. 13 Graduate Students’ Association VP Student Affairs’ Report – July 9, 2009 ______________________________________________________________ 1. 2009 This years Orientation will be for all “New Students” rather than just undergraduate students so we are asked to join in and have a presence at the activities planned for Orientation Week o U of S Marketing insists GSA have a booth at the LIVE Expo in the PAC Sept. 1, 2009 1:30 to 4:30 o Req’d: GSA Dayplanners, pamphlet of GSA Execs and duties o We will get pamphlets from: International Students Organization Open Door Society: International Students Spouses Program Public Health Nursing Student Counseling Services o The ISO will be having a Welcome on Sat. Sept. 5, 8:45 am to 12:00 noon and GSA is asked to take part. o Noon until 5 pm they will host bus tours for students who are new to Saskatoon. Our presence is requested. o USSU Welcome Week Sept. 8 to Sept. 11: o GSA should have a visible presence as requested by Robin Meuller, Orientation Coordinator. She will make arrangements for a table set-up for GSA throughout the week. o GSA Welcome BBQ scheduled for Friday Sept. 25 from 4 to 8 pm o Johra will take care of room scheduling and sound permit o Liquor permit – Mohamed? Jared? o Boryski (butcher and grill) – most hamburger patties… halal? Vegan? Cooking surface space separate for each type of patty o Music equipment to be provided by Boommusic.com o Health & Dental orientation TBD 2. GSA Tab on PAWS I have introduced myself and initiated contact with Monisha Shukla, PAWS Administrator as well as Rick Bunt, CIO for ITS. Further progress to follow… 3. NSID acquisition for new Graduate Students Robin Meuller has advised that currently the CGSR is in the midst of transitioning to a new computer system and therefore again NSIDs will not be provided to new students prior to reaching campus. Instead, she has suggested a PDF outlining the GSA planned events will be emailed to accepted students to be mailed back to our office. 4. Meetings and Committee Work Academic Support Committee Mtgs on June 8, June 12 and June 17 Orientation 2009 Mtgs on May 29, June 2, 14 Alumni fundraiser envelope stuffing June 18 ISO meeting May 29, June 22, June 25 Graduate House Mtgs on June 23, June 30 15 Graduate Students’ Association VP External's Report – July 9, 2009 ______________________________________________________________ 1. 1. CFS Semi-annual National General Meeting: May 17-20, 2009 - Notable Closing Plenary motions passed: Production and dissemination of anti-oppression kits available to all member locals; “No Abilism!” initiative; and several motions to lobby the Federal Government for improved First Nations post-secondary education access and funding. Graduate Caucus - Examined a trend among graduate students regarding the difficulty of repaying student debt. - Brought forward concerns over government graduate student funding cuts, and few full- time research and teaching position upon graduation. 2. GSA Handbook - Updated address information. 3. Graduate Student Public Transit Survey - Developing a questionnaire to assess the needs of graduate student with regard to public transportation. 4. Committees Master’s Committee: June 16, 2009 - Approved new course proposal ENVS 831.3 but recommended clarification of credit hour requirements. - Passed recommendation for Advisory Committee to approve proposal for the reduction of credit requirements for the M. Sc Dept. of Veterinary Pathology. VP Research Search Committee June, 2009 - Unable to attend. However, requested previous VP external, Zafer Dallal Bashi, to be present. - Committee members received a number of C.V.s for the position of VP Research and established an evaluation procedure. - Every application was evaluated and a list of prospective candidates was developed. It will be reviewed in a second round in August. - For specific questions or suggestions that you would like to forward to the committee contact Zafer Dallal Bashi at: Zad819@mail.usask.ca. CGSR International Committee, July 8, 2009 - Focus on international graduate student recruitment and facilitating international student’s integration into life in Canada, Saskatoon, and the U of S campus. - Intention to formulate best practices guidelines to improve international graduate student recruitment process.
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