Sheldon Krasowski is a Research Analyst in the Office of Institutional Studies at Athabasca University. He ?follows a standard work week of 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday? from his office at AU Central, Athabasca.
?Most research analyst positions have a wide scope and this is certainly true of my position,? Krasowski says. ?I respond to ad-hoc requests for information by AU administration, faculty and staff and am also responsible for regular reports that are either monthly or quarterly and focus on enrolment and course starts. I also support the program review process by conducting surveys or focus groups, which gives me a chance to interact with AU students and alumni.?
Krasowski began working at AU in the fall of 2003. ?Initially I was a course editor and Subject Matter Expert? for the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research (CWIKR), ?and then a course author where I wrote and tutored Indigenous Studies 377: Topics in Indigenous Governance,? says Krasowski.
?I am originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but while working for CWIKR I was able to travel to Athabasca and see the AU campus. I had previously worked at the University of Saskatchewan and First Nations University, but the AU campus is in a beautiful setting and I decided to apply to work there full-time,? Krasowski explains. ?In the fall of 2008 I applied for the research analyst position and started in December.?
When asked about the importance of research analyst positions, Krasowski says that ?many of the important decisions at AU are made by the president and senior administrators, but these decisions are informed by the reports and surveys that we conduct in the Office of Institutional Studies.?
?One of the nice things about the research analyst position is that the constant juggling of projects keeps things fresh and interesting,? Krasowski says. ?If I get tired of working on a long report I can take a break and work on an information request or check survey results. On any given day I will be working on one or two projects and usually have some information requests as well. Completing projects is always a highlight and I enjoy the positive feedback from AU faculty and administrators.?
One project currently underway is the conversion of the Undergraduate Course and Tutor Satisfaction Survey from its current paper form to an online form. ?This is the process in which current AU students are asked to evaluate their course and tutor. The feedback provided by students is very important and is used for evaluations and course revisions,? Krasowski notes. ?Converting this process to an online survey will make the comments from students available to course coordinators and designers much faster than the paper surveys which had to be sent through the mail.?
And Krasowski’s interaction with students is not limited to seeking ?feedback on their courses and programs through the surveys and focus groups conducted through our office:? he also gets to ?meet students in a classroom setting? as a grouped study tutor for History 224 and 225. ?My tutoring and experience with AU courses is a great help when I conduct surveys or write reports as I have a sense of what AU students face in completing their degrees and individual courses,? Krasowski says.
While Krasowski says that he enjoys ?all the projects in the office,? he also enjoys ?the casual atmosphere at AU Central. Everyone (including the president) is very approachable and friendly and there is an absence of the stuffy pompous attitudes that dominate many post-secondary institutions.?
Krasowski is less fond of the frigid Athabasca winters, however. ?As it is now January, I can admit that the freezing cold weather does not appeal to me at all. In the summer I can bike to work along the Muskeg Lake Trails or go for a run at lunch time, but when it is -25 I miss all of the outdoor exercise.
?Though relatively small, the town of Athabasca is a great setting for outdoor activities,? says Krasowski. ?There is a fantastic cross-country ski trail a few metres from the university and there is also downhill skiing and snowshoeing nearby. In the summer there are great hiking trails and the town is also great for cycling. The Athabasca multiplex is adjacent to AU which has a hockey rink, indoor track, and fitness centre. With all these options I have been trying to keep active and hope to spend quite a few weekends skiing the trails.?