As a full-time student in an multidisciplinary program I was a little disappointed at the admonishing tone from Colleen Doucette’s letter to the editor. How could you (Colleen) be surprised at the low turn out when the average student balances work, family, volunteering, and school-life and a meeting gets scheduled for supper time. The letter felt like one big ol?, and very unnecessary, guilt trip.
You asked why aren’t students more engaged with AU? From what I understand, this meeting was about the Humanities & Social Science faculty, one faculty, which is likely about a quarter of AU’s student body (probably more considering the Social Science side is pretty big). This is a student body that isn’t roaming a university hallway, sitting in classrooms and being bombarded in the cafeteria by the university’s radio station. We are working people, we chose AU for the difference it could make to those of us not able to attend traditional secondary school.
You found it ‘terribly disappointing’ I’m sorry you feel that way, but you may not know that most of AU students won’t care, or even know, if You’re disappointed. Lets be honest, a huge number of students don’t read the Voice (sorry Karl), don’t join in any Facebook groups, nor do they even know what the Landing is (crickets chirping there). They don’t look at the website except to do school, and they don’t follow AU on twitter. You are not reaching people to participate in the information session because people are not going to be engaged like a traditional university, and the powers-that-be wanting this type of input must start to realize that. If AU, or you, or counsel, or the Voice want input from your student body, quit trying to get it through traditional means, or they way its always been done. I’ve been a student since 2004 and this university, and AUSU council are still trying to get people to phone in. It’s almost as bad as asking people to fax information in.
My suggestion when something like this comes up, or is known to be pending is to get email involved sending out information, and even a poll/input session through some internet-based means. Then gather the input and assign an AUSU counsellor to attend as our rep. If 90% of us don’t answer? don’t fret, you’ve rep’d the 10%. I guarantee that if another information session is set up, for this faculty or another, there will be the same amount of interest if the mode of input is the same. This suggestion isn’t a fail-safe method either, as the student body is still a busy group, with more on their minds than the inner, political workings of the university.
Take care, keep rep’ing.
(Ed. It may not be a huge number, but I like to think it’s the best of them.)