AUSU Update

Changes to AU Course Materials

In the fall of 2013 AU began the process of replacing hard-copy textbooks for all undergraduate courses with e-text versions. Implementation has been staged in phases with about two dozen courses being transitioned each month. AUSU is supportive of the provision of electronic materials for students who want them, but has consistently lobbied AU to provide students with a choice of materials format to accommodate the diverse needs of our membership.

Over the last six months many AUSU members have been vocal in their opposition to e-texts as the only, mandatory option for all courses. AU has listened, and is considering several options to provide students with the choices they want. One option might include removing textbooks as a mandatory purchase with course enrolment, and allowing students to purchase their own books.

AUSU needed to know more about student perspectives on the options that have been proposed and held a survey to find out more. The results will be shared with members in an upcoming newsletter.

A New Era at AU
A New AU president

After two terms in the Office of President, Dr. Frits Pannekoek is retiring. Last week, in recognition of his contributions to distance education, the University of South Africa (Unisa) granted him an honourary Doctor of Literature and Philosophy award. AUSU congratulates Dr. Pannekoek on this great honour, and the recognition it brings to AU as a world leader in distance and open learning. We wish him all the best over his final weeks in the role of president, and in all his future endeavours!

We had hoped by now to be able to announce the selection of the presidential search committee for a new, full-term president; however, as a suitable candidate has not yet been found, AU has instead appointed an interim president: Dr. Peter MacKinnon, formerly of the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. MacKinnon has also served as chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and on the Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada. We look forward to working with him over the coming year!

Convocation travel information

AUSU wants to make sure this year’s graduating class has a fantastic convocation. To make this happen, we’re providing free transportation via bus or limo service to take people from Edmonton to the Athabasca Multiplex each day of convocation 2014. This applies to those graduating from AU undergraduate programs, and their guests (some limits may apply).

We’ve also arranged hotel discounts in Edmonton.

Plus, if you stay at the Edmonton hotel where our discounts apply, the shuttle will pick you up right out front, and drop you off at your hotel after the ceremonies.

This service is provided exclusively by AUSU, but grads in some faculties may already be eligible for free transportation. Check your program website or the dean’s office to find out.

For more information, contact as soon as possible. we’ll also send you a tip sheet with more information about travelling to Edmonton, getting to and from the airport, etc.

This column is provided by AUSU to facilitate communication with its members. The Voice does not write or edit this section; all content has been exclusively and directly provided by AUSU, and any questions or comments about the material should be directed to