Annual AGM Held
As you probably already know from the AGM Report put out by the Voice, AUSU held its annual general meeting on March 23, 2009.
In that meeting a number of important revisions to the definitions of AUSU membership occurred, to make sure that the Councillors you elect are able to represent you during General Meetings and so that if You’re a student in an AU collaborative undergrad program, you’ll still be counted as an AUSU member even during a term that doesn’t have any AUSU courses scheduled.
Also, our fees were changed from being $8, $16, or $24 per course depending on the number of credits, to being a flat $3 per credit, an increase of a dollar per course for most students. With this extra money, AUSU should be able to begin moving forward with a lot of desired programs that have been held up due to our staffing not being as big as our ambitions.
Also at the AGM, some good discussion was held with respect to email accounts, an issue we know a lot of you are concerned about, and we’ll keep working with the university to see if a reasonable solution can be found among all of the priority issues AU needs to deal with.
Media Committee Started
Council has approved the terms of reference for the new media committee. This group, including your Voice editor, will be working hard to deliver new multimedia content to you on a regular basis. Our hope is to bring forward a more engaging, interactive AUSU, one that can help you get everything you want out of your education.
AU Fees Increasing
On March 27, the AUGC approved the new fees that will come into effect in September 2009. The bottom line is you’ll be paying an additional $29 per 3-credit course, including the increase to the AUSU fees. This includes an $18 increase to base tuition and a $10 increase to the Learning Resources fee. AUSU has noted concerns with the university continuing to increase fees by the maximum allowable by Alberta legislation, but has agreed that lower quality service is not a viable alternative.
More concerning is the increase to the Learning Resources fee. AUSU will continue to press for details on how this fee relates to the prices the university has to pay for your textbooks and online materials.
AUSU has noted the closing of the au.world publication with sadness, and has brought this to the governing council of AU. In its place, AU has begun a new magazine called AU Open which, rather than being strictly student focussed, contains a mix of stories for alumni, investors, and students. We have strong hopes that AU will increase the focus of this new magazine to be at least as relevant to current students as the old au.world was.
2009 AUSU Handbook/Planners
Members are snapping up our 2009 AUSU Handbook/Planner. Now in full colour, it has more course tracking pages, brief guides to the citation styles you’ll need for your essays at AU, and of course, all the important AU dates and addresses that you need to know. You can order your own copy by going to http://www.ausu.org/handbook/index.php
SmartDraw Program Continues
If you haven’t yet, you might want to download a copy of SmartDraw. AUSU has purchased a licence agreement to supply the award-winning SmartDraw software to all AUSU members (current undergraduate students). To access this deal and find out more, visit the front page of our website.
SmartDraw allows you to create a wide range of graphics for your assignments and submit them electronically in a Word file. You can also place your graphics in Excel or PowerPoint files, or export them as TIF, GIF, or JPEG files to make a web graphic or even a logo. Just a few of the graphics you can make include Venn diagrams, genetics charts, graphs, organizational and flow charts, and Gantt charts.
For any course that requires charts that cannot be easily created in Word or Excel, this should be a real time saver and make it easier to submit all portions of an assignment by email.
Remember, though, that you should always check with your tutor to find out if there is a specific format he or she prefers. Your tutor does not have to have SmartDraw to view these graphics, however. Installations under this program are good for one year. The package includes both the Standard and Health Care editions of SmartDraw.
Merchandise Still for Sale
We still have some locks and memory keys available for sale. Both of these were designed with ease of mailing in mind, which means they’re small enough to be easily stored pretty much anywhere.
The wristband USB key is a unique way to carry around your assignments, online materials, and even emails while You’re on the go.
With a 1 gigabyte capacity, it can even handle a good chunk of your music collection, and the design means you no longer have to worry about losing it.
The Voice memory key has less capacity (512 MB) but the dark, flip-top design is classy enough to accompany you anywhere.
In addition, we have recently purchased some steel water bottles. With all the concerns about BPA in clear plastic, the decision was made to go stainless steel. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than purchasing plastic bottles of water, fill up your AUSU bottle to keep thirst away no matter where You’re travelling.
AUSU Lock Loan Program
Still running, and still popular, the lock loan program can allow you to rest easy knowing your valuables are safe if You’re taking an exam at the Calgary or Edmonton campus. The locks can be set to any combination, and are loaned to people without any deposit, but we ask that you please remember to reset them to 0-0-0 before returning them so that we can continue this program.
Employment Site is Here!
Many of you will already have seen the link to our new employment site on the front page, and while there are not a lot of employers in evidence yet, It’s a great opportunity to get your resume, skills, and talents in there.
The Personnel Department is busily working on finding employers who could use your unique abilities as a distance education student.
Be sure yours are available to get the early opportunities!