SU Review: VP Academic

By Gauntlet Editorial Board

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi–you’re my only hope!”

Obi Wan Kenobi was a Jedi Master the Rebel Alliance turned to in times of Imperial oppression. In times of academic oppression, undergraduate students turn to Brittany Sargent to defend their rights and ensure they’re treated fairly by administration.

Working with more elected officials than any other vice presidents–seventeen compared to the other’s four–Students’ Union vice-president academic Brittany Sargent has found that the best strategy for making good on campaign promises this year has been through splitting up the workload among the commissioners and faculty reps working under her.

Immediately after taking office, Sargent worked on putting together a policy reference book that would look at several holes in university policy to give students a cohesive guide to refer to when they had questions in regard to these policies. The “SUper” book was published in time for the fall semester, and over 1,000 copies have been distributed–and a major platform promise had been fulfilled.

Sargent has been looking into revamping USRIs, a portion of her platform inherited from her predecessor. Progress has been slow, largely due to administration’s refusal to make changes until student response rate goes up. The task, then, has fallen to Sargent to promote USRIs and find incentives to get students to fill them out before changes can be considered.

She also promised to work on increasing awareness of research opportunities for undergraduate students. Although there is already a resource available to students to find these opportunities, Sargent plans to focus on making them more easily accessible to students. This portion of her platform is a work in progress and Sargent has delegated some of the work to an interested member of the Student Academic Assembly. Delegation was a strength identified by her commissioners.

Under the banner of increasing awareness of the teaching and learning centre, Sargent has begun to work with a group of students to create a policy document about community based learning and the importance of experiential based learning on campus. Sargent explained she expects the policy document to come through SAA in the new year.

In addition to her platform goals, she has also been working on the creating an online exam bank, which will allow students to access past exams for free and prove to be a very useful study resource. Although she has run into roadblocks surrounding intellectual property and taking away revenue from SU clubs that currently profit from selling these exams, she has gotten a commitment from administration to have things finished on their side by the end of the school year, and is working on finding an amiable solution with the departmental clubs.

In the upcoming semester, Sargent hopes to continue to chip away at the completion of her platform promises, while working on cleaning up SAA policies and improving visibility of faculty representatives to undergraduate students. In the upcoming semester, SAA members expect Sargent to do quite well in accomplishing the remainder of her goals.

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