Earlier today, I returned from what was an excellent but tiring SU executive retreat. Over those five days, the outgoing and incoming executives bonded and shared knowledge that will hopefully contribute to the progression of the Students’ Union. At this point, I am running on adrenaline. To put things into perspective, Rory and I were the first to return to our cabins last night to go to sleep, and that was at 3 AM. We woke up around 8 AM. All in all, this has been a great day: after getting into the city, I had a Committee on the Learning Environment (CLE) meeting within the General Faculties Council, where a draft version of the proposed grading and assessment policies was presented. From 6 PM to about 8:30 PM, I had my first Council meeting. If the first official meeting is a sign of things to come, then this will be a phenomenal year.
As I said in my opening remarks, excellent councillors have two habits. One, they prepare diligently for each meeting; two, they ask questions within Council. Do not underestimate the latter of these two habits. Questions go a long way in influencing the direction of the SU. Many councillors did both of these things – preparing effectively and then asking detailed questions – in the lead up to today’s meeting. In particular, I was quite impressed by Councillor Kusmu’s questions. One of his questions dealt with funding for undergraduate research, whereas another question concerned the possibility of creating an undergraduate research journal (this question built upon a previous question posed by Councillor Zinyemba). Because of these two stellar questions, my undergraduate research plan will include the possibility of providing additional funding to existent undergraduate research journals, or perhaps setting up a Students’ Union-led undergraduate research journal. At the moment, there are at least two undergraduate research journals for students: Eureka and Constellations. My research over the next week will determine whether any other research journals exist.
Today’s Council meeting was impressive in that these two councillors (in addition to a handful of others) asked questions that inspired me to think about different issues for the VPA portfolio over the upcoming year. As the year progresses, I hope that Council continues to value the question period, which is one of the best opportunities for both executives and other councillors to improve the Students’ Union.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, if you have ideas for my VPA goals, do not hesitate to give me a call or send off an e-mail.