Minds We Meet—AUGSA Councillor David Newman

David Albert Newman, Doctoral Student, MBA, MAcc, CPHR Candidate, CertHRM, CPA, CGA, CIA, CPA (IRL), CPA (AU), FCCA (UK), Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) with Distinction is a Councillor in the Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association. 

What brought you to AU?

I was researching for a business doctoral program that would not require me to move.  I enrolled in the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) during 2016.  I have found my professors and peers to be quite friendly and accommodating given my mental health challenges.

What is the last book you read?

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Dr.  Erving Goffman.

What show do you think everyone should binge watch?

Game of Thrones.  For me, that show is addictive.  I watched season 7 in one sitting.

Why did you choose to run for AUGSA council?

I sought to make a difference in the lives of AUGSA students, be it mental and/or financial.  I am a strong advocate for mental health service support for and for financial support for students.  During the 2017-2018 AUGSA council service year, I lobbied heavily to retain the credit card payment option for students.

Tuition is very expensive and often mature students are forgotten.  For example, Manitoba Student Aid has been based on an income test.  This unfairly disadvantages working students who still pay high tuition.  I shared my thoughts on social media that a more appropriate student loans funding criterion would be the tuition expense to income ratio.

Manitoba Student Aid has changed to be consistent with the Federal Government contribution amount which I believe is based upon how much tuition the student pays.  The change to the contribution amount should be a less discriminatory and fairer student loan program.

What are your academic goals for 2018?

My academic goal for 2018 is to successfully compile and to defend my dissertation proposal: Mental Illness Stigma in the Canadian Accounting Profession: An Investigation into Impression Management and The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

You have a lot of qualifications.  What are the interests in these various, but associated, credentials for personal and professional life?

When I completed my undergraduate Commerce degree, I thought the accounting job market would be best compared to practicing in human resource management (I double majored in accounting and human resource management/industrial relations.

I have not had a stellar career as an accountant and an auditor.  In fact, I have struggled in those roles having lost five jobs, mainly due to mental illnesses.  As such, I made a decision after completing my MBA during 2013 to find a doctoral program.

I also began researching human resource management.  I entered the DBA program during September 2016.  I completed my human resource management certificate during 2017.  At the time, I was also teaching at the University of Winnipeg (auditing) and facilitating with the CPA Western School of Business (taxation).

I also was and currently operate a small income tax practice.  As such, I was involved with three Universities and a professional business school at the same time.  In the end, my focus has taken me from accounting and auditing toward more of my interest in occupational health and safety, especially psychological health, safety, and wellness in the workplace (bullying, harassment, and mental illness in the workplace seem to be hot topics in management, and presumably in labour studies).

I hope to ameliorate human suffering.

What is one thing you would like to complete personally in 2018?

Moving from my current place of residence to a larger home in Winnipeg.

Since being elected, what are your hopes for the 2018-2020 term?

I will continue to lobby for mental health and financial need services for students.  High tuition expenses and modest income may contribute to significant stressors for students in addition to the studies alone.  I am always concerned with students developing mental illnesses and addictions in the educational sphere like I am with employees in the workplace domain.

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