EGSS Meeting Minutes: 1 February 2012

Here are the minutes from the EGSS’s Feb. 1st meeting! Highlights include GSS Exec nominations, the upcoming fundraiser, the Pathways to Success event about non-academic jobs (Feb. 13-14), and a TA Union representative for English (we need one!). Apologies in advance for some of the formatting problems.

EGSS Agenda                                              1 February 2012

  1. I.            Approve last meetings minutes
  2. II.         President’s Report
    1. GSS Exec Nominations

i.      Ask if anyone you know is interested in becoming an EGSS excecutive.  Nominations will be open for a few weeks. More administration and serice experience!

ii.      Talk to Sandra if you are interested!

  1. TA Union Rep for English

i.      TA rep???

ii.      Tara: Stephanie?

iii.      Sandra: We need a rep.  Not too late to nominate someone.

iv.      Tara: How long is the term?

v.      S: Until perhaps August and it would begin immediately.  2 hour/month commitment fed at the meetings. 2nd Tuesday of every month. This person would be the liaison to the TA union.  Very important! Call for nominations. (You must be in the union to be a steward) Perhaps contact Alison

  1. Pathways to Success Alert!!!! FEB. 13-14th about non-academic jobs. Professionals from various employments may come and speak.
  2. BC GSS Student Bill of Rights

i.      GSS has been speaking to other BC universities to create a universal document for basic rights of BC grad students

ii.      Forming a coalition with other schools would enhance our bargaining power

iii.      Across the board at BC universities people have been having trouble with funding packages.  What you get promised when you come could be changed to a legal binding contract if perhaps unite if get together with other schools

iv.      Maybe the Ac-Pro committee could chat about what the other schools are formalizing

v.      UVic GSS is leading this action maybe formalized by the end of the year—we’ll see

  1. FGS Travel Grants

i.      Any experiences you could share about travel grants?  The GSS is trying to guage the success and experience of applying for travel grants.  Contact Sandra if you have stories to share

ii.      Tara: When she applied end of August for October travel they had already issued all of their funds.  Year before said no (because of seminar involvement not a traditional panel).  And two years earlier it was no problem.

iii.      General question: What do they count as actual participation?

iv.      Daniel: Do they have a transparent system of how they give money?

v.      Not really

vi.      Leah: Applied and put on a wait list, but did not get funding and had to pay with departmental and own money.  But department has been talking about how to best utilize their travel funding since there is left over

vii.      Tara: Nobody in the department got funding for the MSA conference and they all applied

viii.      T and D: perharps nobody has received funding in the last 2 years?

  1. Sessional Teaching for PhDs

i.      Nothing has still been resolved with budget things in the department

ii.      Half as many positions could be offered next year

iii.      Every PhD that comes in is promised 3 semesters of sessionals.  Perhaps they won’t be able to fulfill that promise

iv.      Tara: Will there be opportunities for PhDs to run writing labs instead?

  1. Increase in TA-ships 2012-13

i.      b/c 146 could become large lecture section TA-ships could increase

  1. III.       Vice President’s Report
    1. Information from the department on the security breach

i.      Did e-mail Chris, Colleen, and Robert Myles and they are all just as mad!

ii.      AIS was not affected.

iii.      If you have an award not compromised

iv.      There is a website (2 websites?) with all of the information on reimbursement of any bank fees

  1. MA survey results

i.      Picinics, grad lounge, and congeniality all good!

ii.      Would have liked a more informal student gathering where old and new students could meet and chat

iii.      Steep learneing curve with navigating department and TA stuff

iv.      In the future more opportunities to meet with 1st and 2nd years to mingle

v.      Hopefully more mentorship with students, funding money

vi.      Concrete ideas for how to meet up with faculty in between the beginning of the year and Christmas

vii.      Walking tacos this semester in profs offices?

viii.      Sandra: Scavenger hunt in profs offices?

ix.      Also at department meeting: idea from a student form interdisciplinary course

x.      Somebody left us a quarter million dollars in their will!!!!!!! What?!?! Specifically to be used for bursaries

  1. IV.       Social Committee
    1. Pub Night

i.      There was a survey about when and where?

ii.      Suggested to alternate locations and move to biweekly.

iii.      Nobody made it last night L

iv.      E-mail notifications for where it will be every other week

v.      Sandra: How many people responded?

vi.      8? More? Lori knows

  1. Fundraiser

i.      Met with Chris Douglas and Jamie Dodds.  It is an annual auction and entertainment

ii.      Not many grad students involved last year and would like to have more involved this year

iii.      Auction items could be a pie.  Offering your truck for an hour?

iv.      March 30th is the set date

v.      Entertainment ideas: bad poetry contest.  Open to suggestions!

vi.      Other things: afternoon coffee may not happen.  And should we still have an end of the year party since the fundraiser is so close?

vii.      YES! Maybe after papers are in?

  1. V.          Conference and Colloquia Committee
    1. Colloquium with Reception on Mar. 15th

i.      More concentrated event

ii.      CFP goes out 2/2/12 through Colleen.  Students can either do a traditional 15-20 min pres. Or a paper jam proposal (about 8 min. and can be more of a rough idea)

iii.      Paula: Will there be poster presentations?

iv.      Adele: that is a possiblility to consider

v.      Sarah: perhaps a survey to gauge if people want posters?

vi.      Alyssa: Posters do cost money

vii.      Adele: perhaps just stick traditional style

  1. Funding options

i.      Possibly catered? So looking to GSS, FGS, Dean of Humanities, and Chris.

ii.      Chris says money could from the travel fund if EGSS approves.

iii.      Sarah: GSS money cannot be used for alcohol.  So maybe money from Chris could go towards reception

iv.      Vote on money from Chris: 12-0-0 and the vote passes

  1. Reception ideas

i.      Invite writing department and MFA to do readings

ii.      This could be more stylish reception aka WINE!

iii.      Daniel: reception off campus to avoid alcohol constraints

iv.      Adele: it’s a cheap use of the Grad House if we stay on campus

  1. I.            Academic and Professional Committee

a.       Bi-weekly newsletter
i.      Goal: to address the communication issues.  Students don’t know what happens with the EGSS.  And currently students are overwhelmed with e-mails
ii.      Could combine EGSS news, department news, CFPs, and campus news
iii.      Could be in sections EGSS, CFPs, TA news, etc.
iv.      Problematic because we don’t have students e-mails
v.      Plan to talk to Chris and Colleen about this plan

vi.      Alyssa: what about a listserv?
vii.      Tara: there is a listserv
viii.      WHAT?!
ix.      New Plan of Action maybe? To reactivate listserv or use the EGSS website more efficiently
x.      At least start with putting that information of the EGSS website and then perhaps just e-mail people that the newsletter is on the website
b.      Common calendar for graduate students
i.      Thank you Max for putting one up!
ii.      Flesh out the calendar maybe a little further. We could have a bigger calendar with classes and TA classes/meetings on it as well
iii.      More communication with 147/TA profs and people
c.       Mentorship program reform
i.      Systematizing the program.
ii.      Grad handbook: says it should be an informal buddy system
iii.      But wait it’s so informal that nothing happens
iv.      Problem that students don’t know who their student mentors are
v.      Tara: maybe to have students more active remove the form letter from Colleen
vi.      Alyssa: could be extended to faculty as well
vii.      Kevin: I received reminder e-mails, maybe this could be an option
viii.      Daniel: the expectation could be you write an intro e-mail to your mentee and that if you volunteer you put effort into it
d.      Language exam transparency
i.      It is an opaque system in how they are graded, who grades them, is it systematic, when do you get it back? Can you have it back?
ii.      Pass or fail reading is perhaps not enough
iii.      The exam process is at the discretion of the person who wrote it
iv.      It would present more ease of mind if people knew what the formal process was
v.      Tara: at the very least people should know why they failed
vi.      Max: the department has been talking about reforming the exams and they are asking why even have it at the MA level?
vii.      Max and Sandra: could bring it up at the next department meeting
viii.      Kathleen: you can get the exam back but you have to know who to request it from
ix.      Tara: maybe have digital mark ups as also a part of the language exam
x.      Max and Sandra: came up as a possibility in the department meeting and it was laughed off as not a possibility—Daniel is going to fight that
xi.      Lots of clarification needs to happen
e.       Candidacy exam space for doctoral students
i.      We want to be able to take the exam in an office assigned for official exam space
ii.      Want to make sure that candidates know it’s an option
f.        general workspace information dissemination
i.      There is more space available than the grad lounge!
ii.      Humanites lounge by philosophy department
iii.      Draw up a paper message of where to go and put it into people’s box.
iv.      Sandra: Maybe include it in the welcome meeting more clearly? Perhaps a tour?

  • II.         Other Business
    1. Proseminar practice right now for MA oral defense.  2 different time requirements 15 and 20 minutes.  They are going to fix that in the grad handbook