Editorial – Vague Musings

It’s now officially summer, and although the transition was marked with rainy days here in Calgary, I’m sure some of you had some good summer sun. I was reminded by an article this week that sometimes during the summer we get those stretches of bad weather, but they never really seem to figure very clearly in our memories. Deanna Roney makes a case for why we should be as happy for those bad weather days as we are for the rest of the summer.

Our feature article this week is Barb Lehtiniemi’s look at the 15 recommendations presented by Dr. Ken Coates in his Third Party Review presented to AU last month. While she summarizes each of the recommendations for us, what’s left is still, to me, frustratingly vague. Many of the recommendations are not concrete in that they proscribe what AU needs to do to fix things, but rather far more general recommendations that, to me, read almost like goals to be achieved than roadmaps as to how to achieve them.

That said, I find myself understanding where Dr. Coates is coming from, as the joint Voice/AUSU committee that was struck to examine the Voice and what could be improved came back with recommendations that were very similar in tone. Not so much, “This is how to fix it,” as “Here’re the tools you should use to help you figure out how to fix it.” Some things are simply too complex to present a simple road-map to a solution, if that were possible, or easy, it likely would have been done already. So while I, personally, find the recommendations uncomfortably vague, I can understand why that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and indeed might be the best thing to really sort things out over the longer term.

Unfortunately, one aspect of the vagueness of the recommendations mean that they can be interpreted in a lot of ways. Does a recommendation to review the courses on offer mean that we’re going to lose some of the variety we have in our course choices for our degree, or does it mean that those choices will be expanded by different types of offerings (such as courses that may be very short and intense and only provide one or two credits?) Does the recommendation to redefine service delivery and the customer experience mean more personalized, wholistic service, or does it mean service is to be increasingly conglomerated into call-cen.. sorry, success centres with less individualized support? The report does not really give any answers as to which direction is more desirable, so much of what comes out of this will depend on the people AU puts to answering these recommendations.

Beyond that, however, this week, we have some practical advice for busy students like yourself, with some cooking hacks that will let you use some unorthodox ways to deal with your meals while you get on with other business. And if nothing else, it’ll leave you wondering “What was the person who figured this out thinking?” We’ve also got a fair amount of music coverage, with a review, interview, and a continuation of our All The Music be Happenin’ now series probing the recent developments within music on a personal level. Plus our usual selection of advice, news, events (well, just one this week) and other need to know items for AU Students.

Enjoy the Read!

P.S. If you didn’t already know, The Voice Magazine has a Facebook page and a twitter feed if You’re into that kind of thing!

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