$1,000,000 to spend on quality

By Chris Beauchamp

Student leaders are mulling over a decision on how to spend $1 million allocated for “quality initiatives.”

The money was given to the Students’ Union and Graduate Students’ Association by the Board of Governors concurrent with the tuition increase in December 2003.

“Because we’re conscious of the fact students are paying increased tuition, and we’re recommending another increase, we’re trying to ensure quality of their degree,” said University of Calgary Vice-President Academic Dr. Ron Bond of the money.

“The discussions are in full swing,” declared SU President Jayna Gilchrist. “Proposed ideas revolve around splitting the money into separate faculties, or using it as a collective.”

‘”There has also been talk about scholarships and bursaries, teaching workshops and specific faculty initiatives,” said Gilchrist.

The SU and GSA have been tasked with joint control of the money, but allocation will likely be split based on percentage of student population. The GSA would receive 20 per cent of the $1 million, with the remainder going to the SU.

During the Mon., Mar. 1 SAA meeting,the discussion focused on the results of an SU-sponsored quality education survey. At the meeting, SU Law Faculty representative Brian Kahane, strongly supported individual faculty initiatives. He noted students are demanding simple things such as wireless internet connections that directly improve the quality of education.

Other suggestions included using the money to create new sections in popular courses, altering the Teachers’ Assistant program and focusing on the general student population as opposed to specific faculties.

The survey found quality professors to be the number one concern of students.

“The results from the quality survey provide good information for the discussions,” said GSA President Jeff LaFrenz. “Our discussions have been productive so far, and I feel certain we will be able to work out something that is mutually advantageous. The GSA and SU have a common cause in wanting to increase the quality of both the undergraduate and graduate student experience.”

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