SU to restructure faculty representation

The Students’ Union is considering a project that will make the Students’ Academic Assembly more effective and improve the flow of information between faculties and the SU.

The Campus Core Project, which is still in its preliminary stages, would see SAA adopt a structure similar to the Engineering Students’ Society.

“Faculty by faculty, we’re going to have to get all the stakeholders together,” said SU President Bryan West. “But so far the response from the deans has been extremely positive, and from the ESS as well.”

The advantage of the ESS model is that it’s composed of representatives who are already members of their department society. This allows for greater dialogue between departments and the ESS, with the ESS itself acting as a link between the departments, said West.

“From what I understand, it will foster more interfaculty communication,” explained ESS President Mark Skovmose. “It will close gaps and improve communication between faculties by bringing the executives of each club closer to the SU.”

Currently, SAA is composed of four academic commissioners and 13 student representatives acting as intermediaries between SAA and their own faculty. The SU President and Vice-President Academic also sit on SAA, which is responsible for the academic policy of the SU and helps students with issues such as academic assistance or appeals.

Campus Core will replace the Faculty Representatives with Student Faculty Councils. The councils will consist of an elected president and VP who will take on the role of Faculty Representatives. One will sit on university boards while the other will act as liaison with SAA. The remaining SFC membership will be composed of representatives from faculty clubs. Such varied membership will benefit SAA, said West, because while faculty reps are often well connected to their own department, many struggle to keep track of other departments in their faculty.

“It’s a really good way to get students involved in the SU,” said SU VP Academic Paige Forsyth. “A lot of students don’t know what SAA is and this could change that.”

Campus Core is still in its infancy and West said the SU is trying to assess if the program will be a real benefit to students before they work out the details.

“Students’ groups’ needs are completely different from faculty to faculty,” said West. “In the smaller faculties, there’s already a dominant student group. In those situations, it’s about how we can support what they do. In larger faculties, it’s very scattered and disorganized. In that case, what we’re looking at is building something new.”

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