At McMaster University I had the opportunity to serve a two-year term as the Undergraduate Student Member of Senate for the Faculty of Social Sciences. I advocated for student concerns and helped regulate matters on university legislation, such as curriculum changes, admission standards, award considerations and academic procedures.
As a Member on the Committee of Academic Integrity at McMaster I collaborated with professors and students on changing the academic procedure process. We enacted a new academic policy that focused on exercising increased caution with respect to plagiarism consequences for first time offenders. Furthermore, I proposed legislation amendments to McMaster’s Academic Integrity Policy that expanded the list of banned electronic devices and consequences in examinations.
Lastly, I served a three-year term as the Student Member on the Board for Student Appeals. I ensured student rights during the appeal process were not infringed and that university adjudicators were impartial in their decision-making process. Through these experiences, I learned the value of integrity and respectful communication, which are essential skills required for servicing members of the University of Windsor community.
From my experience on the McMaster Senate there are three initiatives or approaches for proper student representation. First, having open and honest communication about current/upcoming Senate proposals is key for keeping the student body engaged in university affairs. Students sacrifice a lot of money, time, and effort to be enrolled in university and some of these policies, such as award changes or scholarships, can make a huge difference.
Second, having a strong advocate to communicate the concerns of the student body in front of the Senate is important. These meetings are attended by senior members of the university with years of academic experience. Being able to stand up and advocate for student rights is a key component for ensuring effective student representation on the Senate. Third, having a candidate that is dedicated to their role and will not disappear. My experience has taught me that all too often students get elected and you never hear from them again. While open and honest communication is crucial, ensuring that there is some communication to keep students informed is absolutely necessary. Without it, students will not have the knowledge or voice to govern their university policies.