Over the next few months, both Jeff Joy and I will be coming to the end of our terms as DGSC reps. Because of this, we need to elect 2 new grads to fill these positions. Jeff and I will be leaving our positions in a staggered fashion (one new rep to start in November, and another in February-March) so that there's a bit of overlap with incoming reps to ease the transition.
The position runs for a ~2 year term, is year-round, and is typically limited to students who already have a couple years experience in the department. Because of this, DGSC rep positions are limited to PhD students who have already been in their program for a couple of years, and don't have any major fieldwork (or, other reasons to be away from campus for long stretches of time) left.
Being a DGSC rep is a great way to get to know the inner workings of the department, and have an influence on how the grad program is run within the Biology department. There's a brief blurb about student rep responsibilities on the Biology Grad Caucus website – click on this link and go to the bottom of the page (http://www.sfu.ca/biology/grad_caucus/about.html). The 2 student members have full voting rights on the committee, so because of this, grads are able to have a fair bit of influence on decisions taking place at the DGSC, through their reps. In general, the major responsibilities of the position tend to be:
- reviewing all incoming applications to the department, and all applications to switch up to a PhD from an MSc
- attending ~monthly DGSC meetings (less frequent in the summer), where issues related to the grad student program are discussed. These could include things like courses and course requirements, completion time, student funding, student supervisor relationships and other issues directly related to the department's grad program.
- soliciting feedback from grads on any major issues under discussion, or decisions about to be made, by the DGSC.
- attending the monthly grad caucus meetings, to provide an update on the most recent DGSC meeting.
- being available to talk to grads about any issues that they may have related to their program. This may include providing more information on grad student 'rights' within the department, providing advice on who to go to about problems that are being experienced, or being prepared to act on behalf of another grad student (if this is desired) and raise issues with the DGSC chair, or other appropriate members of the department, for them.
In short – this is a great position, and I think that both Jeff and I feel like we've gained a lot through being DGSC reps. Anyone interested in becoming a DGSC rep can nominate themselves, and the vote for both positions will be by grad students, at the next grad caucus meeting (Wed, October 29, 3:30 pm). We'll also provide an opportunity for those who can't make the caucus meeting to vote. We're going to get a short (paragraph-long) blurb from everyone who's interested in the position, stating why they think they'd make a good rep. Names of those up for election, and their blurbs will be circulated before the meeting, and read out at the meeting right before the vote. You can send your blurb to Jeff (firstname.lastname@example.org) or me (email@example.com) up until the Friday (24th) before the vote, and we'll circulate them the following Monday.
Let either of us know if you have any questions!
Jeff and Suzanne