VP Education Shortcomings, Take 1

Jeff Gulbronson - VP Education
Posted on: November 6, 2016

Hello, and welcome to the penultimate Iron Warrior of the term! Originally, I was going to be writing my article about Co-op 2.0, but then I realized which number issue this was. That means it’s also my last serious article as EngSoc Exec, so I wanted to take a cue from previous executives and talk about my time in office, what I wish I’d been able to do, and where I see the role going. First, I’d like to point out that much of what’s been accomplished these past 16 months would not have been possible without the help of others, and I’ll do my best to give them the credit they deserve. I apologize in advance if I miss you.

There are many things I’m proud I’ve been able to do during my time as VP Education, starting with Career Fair. I’ve been lucky to have amazing directors both terms, and it would not have been able to grow as an event without the efforts of Eric Shi, Channa Potter, and Jenny Ma. We have a location we’re able to consistently use, employers that return term after term, support from CECA, and some good momentum to carry forward. (It’s also the reason my portfolio is the only one that ended last term with a profit.) In addition, hardware workshops were introduced this term and have been a huge success. Thanks to Eric Shi, Ken Geertsema, Wesley Fisher, Daniel Lizewski, Tianyu Guo, David Perna, Kathryn Lynch, and Solomon Kingsley. I hope that the amazing work you’ve done carries over into consequent terms. On that note, moving services under Education was something I pushed for, and my team supported me with, that I’m glad to have done. This includes the ongoing resume critique service we’re starting, which has been in large part due to my amazing student services commissioner, Arianna Skirzynska. And lastly, I’m happy that I’m leaving the position with positive faculty relations. My predecessor Josh Kalpin did a lot to legitimize the position, and I’m confident when I say the next VP Academic will start off with positive recognition from the faculty.

Now, on to what I didn’t accomplish, and wish I could have given more time. Firstly, it would have been nice to revamp the workshops we offer. I think that some of the workshops we run could likely be changed both in format and content, and while the hardware workshop did a good job of adding something new, I would have liked to see more of a change. I also would have liked to set up an academic rep meeting across all programs/years. It would be a good opportunity to provide tips for reps when talking to professors, and the Associate Dean Teaching is very interested in attending. I think it would especially be important for first-year reps, who might be nervous or not sure what to say in meetings. Tacking onto that idea, I would have liked to have promoted the position of VP Education further. The role is a great resource for students on both academic and co-op policies, and I was able to help students that approached me. However, I’m sure that for every student that did talk to me, two didn’t, because they either didn’t know about the role, or what it can do to help them.

Finally, where I see the role going, which will be VP Academic from now on. For the most part, I think it’s heading in the right direction. The transition of services to Academic is something that I hope continues, as I believe it fits in with the portfolio. I see the VP Academic also taking on the role of student representative at the Examinations and Promotions (E&P) committee, which is currently held by the President. This is something that’s been recommended in the past, and I think fits in well with the VP Academic’s primary purpose of advocating on behalf of students. And finally, I predict (or perhaps hope) that the student body will be more informed about the position, so that it can be utilized as a resource when needed.

I think that covers most of what I wanted to talk about, and if you made it this far, then good on you! If you’re interested in anything I said and want to chat, you can usually find me in the Orifice (CPH 1327). I look forward to seeing what my successor brings to the role, and contributing to EngSoc outside of being an executive.