See http://www.ausu.org/election/candidates.php for a list of all of the candidates.

How did you first become aware of AUSU Council, and why do you want to be a part of council in 2004?

I first became aware of AUSU Council when I sat in on a council meeting in the winter of February 2002. At that meeting I volunteered to help with the website. I decided to volunteer because I felt that I could make a positive contribution to the organization. About two months of volunteering for the website committee and still wet under the ears I ran for student council and was elected.

Tell me a little about your experience with distance education: How many AU or distance Ed courses have you completed, and what have you found hardest, or most rewarding, about distance study.

I have completed one degree from AU and I am currently working on a second degree from AU. The most rewarding aspect of distance education is the flexibility it allows in my schedule to continue to work. It is also rewarding when I complete a course and even more so when I complete a degree. The part I find most difficult is the lack of peer support and peer interaction. My overall experience has been very enjoyable and most rewarding. Further, AU has taught me time management skills to balance my role as a councillor, student and dad and to develop self-discipline to meet the needs of my courses.

What role, if any, has AUSU played in your AU experience so far? If AUSU has not played a role, what could it have done to facilitate your learning?

As a council member, AUSU has taught me about the wide range of needs of distance education students. AUSU has shown me that it is important and fundamental to have a union represent the students to the university community. AUSU has made me aware of the diverse nature of our student population. Further, AUSU has been instrumental in helping me appreciate issues affecting the student population. In general, AUSU has exposed me to the variety of needs and demands that distance education students face and this has been an important and rewarding experience.

What work or life experience(s) have you had that you feel will be particularly valuable to you in working with council?

In the past I have worked with a volunteer board of directors. This experience gave me the ability to work in a group environment and work with external stakeholders. As a general manger, I gained managerial skills, accounting skills, and skills for dealing with people. Further, as a graduate from the University of Calgary, Mount Royal College, and AU, I have become familiar with the needs, wants and services that students expect from their council. I feel these skills, aptitudes and experiences will be an asset to council.

If someone were to ask you why they should choose to attend AU, over other universities, what would you tell them?

I have had several friends ask this question and the answer is always the same. AU provides exceptional quality of learning. AU uses the mastery learning theory to teach students their course material. This method of learning leads to greater understanding and retention of course material. In fact, when I explain to potential students that I have graduated from U of C and MRC and that I find the AU learning model to exceed those of other institutions, they are quite surprised. I them tell them they do not need to be in class by 8:00 am every day. This comment always gets nods of happiness from potential students. I then explain to potential students and friends that AU courses give students flexibility in doing their course work because it is done at home at your own speed, time, and leisure.

Speaking generally, what do you feel is the primary role of a students’ union (i, student advocacy, services, financial support, etc)?

The primary role of a student union is student representation. Council represents the students in all matters of student life including advocacy, services, financial support, and external/political representation. Therefore, a students’ union role is guided by the students. If students want more services then it is the union’s role to ensure that these needs are met. If students feel slighted by the University, it is the union’s job to represent the best interest of students. The union exists for the students.

Is there one, most important thing that you want to do for AU students as a member of council?

The most important issue for me is to see a move towards a more balanced and equitable distribution of scholarships for students. The current scholarship structure is geared towards academic merit. It truly important to reward students who do well in their courses. There is also a need for scholarships based on needs. Providing scholarships for students with financial need will make for a more equitable and balanced scholarship program than is current. One of the most important things that I would do for AU students is examine the current scholarship program administered by council. In addition, it is equally important that a degree granted by AU is perceived as equitable to a degree granted by a non distance education university in both the eyes of other universities and by future employers.

Working with AUSU council means working with a group. What do you see as the benefits and/or disadvantages of working as a part of a large group or board, rather than as an individual.

For me the greatest benefit of working in a group is the feeling of camaraderie and team work. Team work leads to dynamic discussion on topics of importance to both the students and the union. Working on a board like AUSU, means input from all members are valid and important in reaching decisions that will affect students. Further, working with a group provides more ideas to be brought to the table which may not been raised in an individual setting.

See the February 25th (v12 i08) and the March 3rd (v12 i09) editions of The Voice for interviews with candidates Lonita Fraser, Melanie Gray, Stacey Steele, Cindy Stobbe, Joy Krys, Teresa Neuman, and Shannon Maguire.

The pdf versions of these issues are available at: http://www.ausu.org/voice/pdf/pdflist.php

The interviews are also available online at:
Lonita Fraser: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2597
Melanie Gray: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2598
Stacey Steele: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2599
Cindy Stobbe: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2626
Joy Krys: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2627
Teresa Neuman: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2628
Shannon Maguire: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2629