President Cannon meets with Students' Union SLC for first time

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University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon met with the Students' Union student legislative council for the first time Nov. 23. SLC is the highest governing body of the SU and is made up of the executive and student representatives from each faculty. In her address, Cannon outlined how she plans to better the university, described her activities since her inauguration in October and opened the floor to questions from student representatives. She spoke in-depth about a "necessary ingredient" for the success of the school -- pride of institution.

"We're still considered a young university, but we have to move beyond that," Cannon said. "We want to keep that energy but we also want to hold ourselves to the high standard of the more traditional, long-standing universities in the country."

She said the university must hold itself to a "higher standard" to continue working with the community and all levels of government.

"Pride is key, if we don't have pride in what we do, in our students, in this institution, we will never meet the external community," Cannon said.

Cannon said she also aims to help the university become more fine-tuned as a research institution.

"It's about research intensity and a foundation in education," said Cannon. "I'm one of these people who doesn't believe that you can opt out one for the other."

To help the two co-exist, Cannon hopes to enhance all aspects of student life.

"We have to enhance the research even more," said Cannon. "Part of that is delivering more on the academic side, part of that is looking at the student experience we want you to have and how you can enhance that so when you're here at the university, you feel in a tangible way we're investing in and outside the classroom."

During the discussion period, faculty representatives questioned Cannon on how she planned to develop research and teaching side-by-side. Cannon said it's up to university administration to support faculty and hold them accountable to balance the two aspects.

"To me it's a matter of personally holding yourself to a higher standard regardless of what you're doing," said Cannon. "Part of that is a personal commitment and part of it is accountability as well."

One student representative questioned Cannon on the reasoning behind the controversial amalgamation of the Women's Resource Centre and Centre for Community-Engaged Learning. Cannon responded, citing a lack of space.

She said she received the student petition to keep the spaces separate and was looking at options for other space.

Cannon was asked how she planned to ensure the success of the newly amalgamated arts faculty and the stressed nursing faculty.

On the arts faculty, Cannon said more organization must be done internally to manage all the different departments. Regarding the nursing faculty problems, Cannon recognized how "stressed and stretched" clinical instructors are with new government policies and higher student enrolment. Cannon said the nursing faculty issues were a high priority on her list and she is committed to finding solutions.

"Our biggest asset are our students," Cannon said. "They have a strong voice and set the tone for our entire atmosphere."