An Interview with the AUSU President

AUSU is a fantastic organization that is devoted to representing the student body of Athabasca University. Not only are they the relay between the university and the students, they also provide many services that are of benefit to students, and promote peer-to-peer support. In addition, AUSU also offer a variety of student awards and bursaries, and they are passionate about student advocacy.

Recently, Executive Director and Voice Editor-in-Chief Ms. Tamra Ross moved on from her position. Ms. Ross was instrumental in the creation of many of the services that AUSU provide.

Since Ms. Ross was so devoted to providing AU students with as much assistance as possible, and involved in many of AUSU’s programs and services, I felt that it was important to touch bases with AUSU president Mr. Jason Nixon and discuss what these changes meant for AUSU and the services that they provide.

I understand that Ms. Ross was deeply involved in the creation of this year’s student planner offered by AUSU. Is there plans to offer a similar planner to students next year?
AUSU’s Member Engagement Committee (formally known as the Media Committee) is the main driver of the student’s planner that is offered by AUSU every year. This year is no different than any other year and the committee has been hard at work developing the 2015 planner. The planner for next year is coming along nicely and on schedule. We anticipate it being available to our membership in December 2014 and throughout 2015 as always.

What can be expected in the upcoming planner?
Members can expect that bulk of this year’s planner will be no different than any other year and will have to wait to get their planner in the mail to see what the committee came up with it.

It is my understanding that recently AUSU agreed to spend several thousand dollars to create a proposed succession plan. Was the plan complete before Ms. Ross moved on from her positions?
The component of the plan that helps with the immediate stabilization period after an Executive Director moves on is completed and has been implemented. AUSU is still working with our consultants to complete the second part which is a detailed plan that is being developed to determine AUSU’s needs for the future and what AUSU’s leadership needs are going to be in the future. This process is almost complete and will be utilized in the process we follow in the hiring process of a new Executive Director at AUSU.

Was the plan effective in minimizing disruption?
Yes the work that was done to build a plan for the stabilization of operations in the event of a departure of the Executive Director was effective in minimizing disruption. I am confident the work being done to plan for AUSU long term needs in leadership will also be effective in the hiring of a new Executive Director.

Does this recent development signify a larger change in direction for AUSU?
No, AUSU mission and mandate remains the same and will remain the same. AUSU will continue to work to provide top of the line services to our membership.

Will these recent developments affect the recently implemented health care program in any way?
No. The health care plan has been implemented and is fully operational.

Are there any other services offered by AUSU that can be expected to change? I am referring to services like, the newsletter, SmartDraw, and student advocacy.
No other services are expected to be changed. AUSU will be operated as normal.

Finally, I understand that in the past, AUSU provided convocation assistance programs, like the bussing services offered to transport people from Edmonton to Athabasca to save them the cost of renting a vehicle. Are there any plans to change these programs?

AUSU and AU students will miss Ms. Ross for all of her hard work and devotion to providing AU students with the best possible services available. AUSU will continue to provide AU students with as much help, programs, and services as they can, and work diligently into the future.

I would also like to thank Mr. Jason Nixon for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

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