In my last board report I wrote how October had been the busiest month I’d had since being on the USASA Board. This month topped that.
The big focus this month was the USASA submission into changes relating to the Disciplinary Clusters project in the School of CIL. To put that into English, the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages undertook a review of the school 18 months ago and came back with a list of recommendations. One of the key recommendations was to discontinue the International Relations degree.
While degrees do come and go, the big concern from a USASA point of view was that the degree is not being completely phased out, with many IR subjects simply vanishing and students being told to enroll in business classes (at an extra cost of $500 per course) instead. Furthermore, the changes to IR were announced on the eve of subject enrolment, creating a great sense of confusion and panic for many students.
Every single student I spoke to about these changes felt cheated by them and that is not an exaggeration.
USASA President Kayla Dickeson, the USASA Education Committee, City West Rep Ryan Keneally and I, collated feedback from students about the changes over the period of four weeks and passed this information onto the university in what ended up being a 17-page submission. Also included was a letter from the USASA Student Board outlaying our concerns about these changes and some recommendations we have made.
I attended the EASS School Board meeting as the sole student representative on November 17 and got a chance to speak to Head of School Jason Bainbridge about these changes. A week later alongside Kayla, Jordan, Natansh, and the other Ryan, we attended the Academic Board meeting and presented our case to the university head-honchos for why we do not support these changes. On a personal note this meeting was also the first time I had stood up and spoken at Academic Board meeting. Although I felt nervous doing it with the Vice-Chancellor sitting less than two meters in front of me, I am very glad I did it.
While we could nothing to stop the changes from happening at this meeting, we have arranged a meeting with key staff members in the university in December. The IR subjects may have already been cut, but we are optimistic about getting an improved outcome for the students.
Outside of all the International Relations drama, I have also been working on ensuring there is a smooth transition between the 2017 Student Board and the 2018 Student Board (spoiler alert: I’m on both). Part of this process has involved writing up handover documents to give to the incoming rep (me), including ongoing projects and suggestions and tips. Not only did I have to do this for my responsibilities as Magill Rep, but I also had to do these handover documents for my job as Convener of the Education Committee. As well as the paperwork, myself and my co-Magill Rep Carey Moore met with the incoming 2018 co-Magill Rep Surabhi Shubhraj to discuss plans for 2018.
Finally to conclude, I have jumped on the USASA Pac-Crawl Committee to help organize the April 2018 USASA Pub-crawl. If you have any suggestions or ideas about what you would like for this, please tell me and I will pass it on to the committee.
Other than that I hope everyone managed to get their assessments in and did well at their exams. It sure was a challenge juggling study and the IR submission, but I got there in the end.
Events this month:
November 2 –USASA Education Committee Meeting
November 6 –USASA Student Board Meeting
November 17 –EASS School Board Meeting
November 20 –Meeting about IR submission with Bridget and Kayla
November 22 –Transition meeting for Magill Rep with Carey Moore and incoming rep Surabhi Shubhraj
November 23 –USASA ‘Pac-Crawl’ Committee Meeting
November 24 –Academic Board Meeting
November 28 –USASA Clubs Meeting
December 4 –Meeting with University Provost Mr. Allan Evans regarding changes to IR
December 4 –Meet and Greet with incoming 2018 board
December 4 –USASA Student Board Meeting