After a small hiccough, we’ve got the Council report for the June meeting, the last meeting before the by-election took place. It included the approval of AUSU’s new indigenous circle’s terms of reference and the equity, diversity, and inclusion policy, as AUSU continues to concentrate on becoming a more inclusive organization recognizing the breadth of students who attend.
But what I’ve chosen to feature this week is actually an article supplied by the Graduate Student Research Conference, an annual conference where Graduate Students get to present abstracts of their current or planned research to a wider AU faculty and graduate student audience. They also give cash prizes to the top three submissions.
Why am I featuring something for graduates? Because this year undergraduates are also invited. If you’re interested in further studies after your bachelor’s degree, want to have a supportive audience to attempt to beef up and demonstrate both your public speaking and research skills (something vital for the future CEO and executive officers out there) or simply want a nice extra on your resume or CV that most undergraduates won’t have, this presents a great opportunity.
Back when I was an undergrad, I was fortunate enough to get engaged with a small team of other undergrads and we conducted our own research into the nature of distance education students. We weren’t invited to the GSRC at that time, so we didn’t get paid (we even ended up paying a little bit ourselves as we pooled money from our own pockets to buy a prize as an incentive for people to take our survey.) But the experience was invaluable, in part because our research actually went through the peer review process and was eventually published in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.
Part of why we did this was because we wanted to demonstrate to AU that undergrads are fully capable of putting together solid research, and if we could do that on our own, what might happen if AU began to put more emphasis on finding ways to bring distance students into the research processes of their faculty.
It’s been over a decade since then, but when I now see things like the GSRC accepting undergrads (in part because of continued pressure and support from AUSU for doing this) and AU’s own call for undergraduate research assistants through the new IDEA Lab (which you can find more details about the AUSU Update), I like to think that some small part of that is because of our initial push for more research opportunities.
So do me a favor and take advantage of them! Show them how much this is needed so that they do it even more. It can help if you find a small group of people you like to chat with who are all on the same page, because then it feels less like work and more like the thing you do while chatting and enjoying each other’s company.