University News

UCS surveys work on campus life, curricular improvements

Council also appoints eight students, one alternate to newly created Financial Aid Advisory Board

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Undergraduate Council of Students reviewed its progress on the campus life and curricular improvements portion of its strategic plan at its general body meeting Wednesday.

The discussion served as the first of three opportunities for UCS general body members to provide feedback on the council’s work this semester. The UCS Executive Board plans on compiling input from the three sessions in a Fall Semester UCS Accountability Report, which is scheduled for release at the end of the semester, said UCS President Sazzy Gourley ’16.

Over the remainder of the semester, the council will analyze two other areas of its strategic plan: diversity and accountability. The review of diversity inclusion will encompass faculty diversity in relation to the Diversity Action Plan, support for LGBTQ students, socioeconomic barriers to success, financial aid and international student life, Gourley told The Herald. The conversation on accountability will cover Corporation governance, administrative transparency and holding the University responsible for implementing recommendations suggested in reports from the Sexual Assault Task Force and the Mental Health Community Council, he said.

The UCS Academic and Administrative Affairs committee introduced new initiatives in the realm of campus life at Wednesday’s meeting. AAA members met with Dean of the College Maud Mandel to discuss improvements to the Innovate Winter Break project, said committee member Roro Oshobe ’19. The meeting also featured discussion on organizing tracks for certain concentrations that include a fieldwork component, he said.

AAA is also engaged in the process of reforming the Critical Review, a student-run website that offers evaluations of University courses and professors, said AAA member Ebube Chuba ’19. Changing the administration of surveys from hard copy forms to electronic ones will remain a priority for the committee, Chuba said. The idea of the Critical Review being conducted entirely with pen and paper “sounds ridiculous in this century,” he said.

The council also took time to review its internal structure. UCS general body members filled out an evaluation survey last week, which revealed a consensus that they had contributed to an “action-oriented council focused on tangible outcomes and serious campus issues,” according to a presentation compiled by Gourley. Survey respondents also cited the ability to engage in open dialogue with campus administrators as a strength.

Structural action items going forward included continuing to vary the locations and content of UCS general body meetings, according to the presentation.

The council also approved a resolution appointing candidates to nine University committees. Appointments Chair Molly Naylor-Komyatte ’19 and UCS Chief of Staff Elena Saltzman ’16 oversaw the process of interviewing and vetting candidates.

Eight students and one alternate were appointed to the newly created Financial Aid Advisory Board, which will seek to address all matters related to financial aid and provide steps to improve the financial aid process, according to the UCS website. By helping to create this committee, UCS is “continuing our efforts to support low-income and first-generation students,” Gourley said.

The UCS Student Activities committee oversaw the categorization of 30 student groups. Of these groups, three were applying for Category S recognition, 13 were applying for Category 1, 13 groups were applying for Category 2 and one group was applying for Category 3.