An update from the GSA President: March 2023
GSA has been hard at work this last month.
The last month has seen non-stop events. Almost everyday I enjoyed meeting the vibrant graduate student community throughout the university. From new faces to some of the familiar ones, I can say that all orientations, including our own, were incredible.
I would like to give a huge thank you to the GSA Staff and Representatives for all their efforts in organising and delivering another show-stopping orientation.
Now that orientation is over, it’s time for all of us to continue working hard whilst trying to enjoy our time in the university community.
One of the best ways to get involved at the University of Melbourne is as a GSA Representative.
GSA has a proud history of elected leadership of the organisation. Our new structure implemented by my predecessor is designed to provide targeted and clear leadership of the organisation. This includes the GSA Board, GSA Representative Council and GSA Faculty Council.
The GSA Board is just that: The board of the organisation. However, it differs from a traditional board in a few ways. First, the members of the GSA Board are involved in advocacy work, and help support the President when needed at stakeholder meetings. Board members may sit of some University governance committees, and internal governance committees. Likewise, members may stand for board officer positions, such as President, General Secretary, Vice President and Treasurer. It is important to note that GSA Board Members do not work on operational matters such as event planning (outside of the GSA Ball). Board members have a two-year term and have an expected commitment of 4 hours a week.
The GSA Representative Council is a sub-committee of the GSA Board and is home to our directly elected Officers. These Office Bearers include Activities, Families, Disabilities and Equity, Health and Welfare, Education (Research), Education (Coursework), International, First Nations, Queer, Environment and Sustainability and Women’s. These officers work more closely with relevant staff, such as Policy and Advocacy and Student Engagement, to organise events, advocate for students and provide advice to the GSA Board. Many of the GSA’s key wins come from the hard work of the Representative Council. The Representative Council Officers have a small budget to organise events or campaigns, and perform more of an operational role, and have an expected commitment of 4 hours a week.
The GSA Faculty Council is our newest wing of GSA. With two representatives from each faculty, my vision for the Faculty Council is one where Councillors have a variety of opportunities to work with the faculty leadership on either faculty governance committees, 1-1 meetings and wider forums to build networks and feed faculty-based issues to GSA at the quarterly Faculty Council meetings. With additional opportunities to represent GSA at faculty orientations and act as a conduit between on the ground issues and GSA.
Dual Delivery and Lecture Recordings
Over the last 12 months, the GSA has worked with the University to provide input on the Advancing Students and Education Strategy, which outlines the vision for education at the University of Melbourne for the future.
We are very proud to note that our constant advocacy on the need for flexibility has been heard.
The new strategy clearly outlines that the university will “enhance flexibility for graduate students” and “offer our graduate students significant flexibility and choice in their study.” This includes the adoption of “strategic use of dual and hybrid teaching modes to provide both flexibility and choice to graduate students.” The expansion of “high-quality online graduate education,” with adoption of “complementary models of face-to-face study, such as campus-based intensives, offshore study, and industry and community-based experiences.”
GSA warmly welcomes this commitment and vision for graduate student study and would like to especially thank Pro Vice Chancellor (Education) Jamie Evans for his hard work in developing the strategy. Likewise, I’d like to thank Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Life) Sarah Wilson for also listening to graduate student concerns on the matter.
While this commitment is welcomed, it means that there is plenty of work needed in ensuring proper implementation of the commitment. This last month we have received several troubling emails from students regarding some subjects not providing lecture recordings. If you are in this situation, please email me so I can have the issue investigated. We understand that in this period of immense change that there may be some confusion for academics between undergraduate and graduate modes of study.
As always, if you ever have a concern, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org