By Jan Creaser
"Who is Peggy Patterson and why is she important?" was the bonus question asked of the three Vice-president Academic candidates at the Feb. 22 forum. (For the record, Patterson’s the university Associate VP Student Affairs.) Current Students’ Union VP Academic Toireasa Jespersen moderated the forum for candidates Drew Brown, Heather Clitheroe and Kerry Parker.
The candidates agreed on issues such as library expenditures to increase undergraduate materials like periodicals, journals and electronic support; keeping students informed on SU policies and projects; and ensuring students involved in an academic appeal are well-represented and aware of the appeals process.
They viewed the use of student id numbers on the Universal Student Ratings Instruction Instrument as necessary and unanimously put down direct entry into faculties for first-year students. As well, all candidates felt that changes need to be made to university admitting policies to maintain and increase the quality of the university.
The main question garnering varied responses was: "What is, in your opinion, the biggest or most important academic issue for undergrads at the U of C right now? In five years?"
"The immediate issue is the reputation of this university," said Brown in reference to general rankings of the U of C compared with other Canadian universities. "It has a lousy rep and we need to do something to improve it."
Clitheroe discussed student access to information regarding SU policies, issues and projects.
"There is a perception that the SU is on a pedestal," she said. "We work for the students and more information should be coming out to students."
"I think the quality of education is the most important," said Parker. "Keeping students up-to-date on such things as curriculum redesign and the accessibility envelope is important."
In five years? All agreed that the quality of the library would remain a big issue in the future.