AUSU Council News 2002. Published in THE VOICE September 4, 2002

AUSU Council News 2002. Published in THE VOICE September 4, 2002

on behalf of AUSU

July was an exciting month for AUSU. At long last the Voice Students’ Publication has a permanent home online. Our new site launched with the July 24th issue. The completion of the Voice website is a landmark event as we are now able to move on to an even larger project – the construction of the new AUSU home site. We realize that many of you have been frustrated with the changes that have occurred over the last several months, but you won’t have to wait much longer. We are planning to have the new site up and running by fall of this year, and it will feature everything you liked about the old site plus a lot more.

In the meantime, we have endeavoured to make the current website as useful as possible. To better serve you in the coming months, we have reintroduced message forums, and we hope you will find them valuable for making contact with other AU students. We have also included a section for course reviews, as many of you have told us that this was one of your favourite parts of the previous site. The new website will also feature improved course review pages, including online surveys and reviews for programs of study.

At the AUSU council meeting in July we discussed many other issues of interest to students. Scholarships and awards are under review, and while no final decisions have been reached yet, we are considering some new awards to the top grad each year.

The Groups and Clubs committee has finalized its operating policy and is looking forward to creating its own space on the new website. This committee is dedicated to helping AU students form links through clubs based on common interests. Among our goals is forging links with clubs at other universities to increase networking and to help new clubs get started at AU.

AUSU is also finalizing plans for this year’s Annual General Meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for September 28th. The date should be finalized by the next printing of the Voice, and will be included in the News and Events section. Students may attend at the AU offices in Edmonton, or via teleconference. Keep watching the Voice and the AUSU website for information on how to attend.

Another topic of discussion was volunteers. Some of you have generously offered to donate your time, but we have not been very good at taking you up on it! This is going to change. We are currently discussing projects that will make good use of volunteer hours and you should be hearing from us shortly. We really appreciate your offers of time and expertise, and we do need you!

Finally, an item of great concern to AUSU is the Alberta Government’s suggestion that they may start funding distance education students differently than students in traditional classes. We are keeping a very close eye on this situation, and have sent representatives to relevant meetings to ensure that your voice is heard. Look for more information in the Voice and on our website in the coming months.

on behalf of AUSU

The last few months have been very busy for Council members. The new group of 9 councillors met for the first time on March 16, and a variety of projects have been ongoing since then. Some of the highlights of the last few months:

· New Council spent two days attending a board development workshop in April. It was an opportunity for the new members to get acquainted, begin building working relationships and to start planning for future AUSU projects
· At the April meeting, Council reviewed the honorarium structure. It was felt that previous honoraria rates were low and did not provide fair or adequate compensation for the expected workload. This was hampering productivity and participation, and creating hardship for Council members. Council decided to increase honoraria to bring them closer in line to what other comparable organizations receive for their work.
· Council members attended the International Conference on Distance Education and the International Symposium on Educational Conferencing. Several members of Council presented papers at these sessions that dealt with student issues and ways the student union can work to resolve these.
· Council took an active role in Convocation 2002. We provided a graduation gift of a small engraved clock to each graduate, and sponsored a pancake breakfast, lunch and tea (with AU). AUSU’s participation was greatly appreciated by the university and by the graduates and their families.
· AUSU worked with the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) to prepare presentations to key government officials regarding tuition concerns in meetings held during June and July.
· Council has been actively working on redevelopment of the website, including a new look for the Voice and a new logo.