Vice-president academic candidate Sandra Amin plans to continue the campaign for OERs
By Eula Mengullo, March 7 2023—
On March 3, the Students’ Union (SU) hosted the 2023 General Election forum for the vice-president academic position.
Sandra Amin is a fourth year neuroscience student running for the uncontested position of vice-president academic. Her platform consists of three major encompassing goals of affordability, accessibility and student empowerment.
Given the recent increases to tuition, Amin recognizes that the biggest challenge facing students is affordability. To help counter this challenge, she aspires to continue the Open Educational Resources (OER) campaign to make quality learning resources more accessible for students.
“We need to make education more affordable. My platform point around OER will be fundamental in addressing this,” said Amin. “This is a way where students can save a lot of money. They don’t have to pay thousands of dollars every semester. It would also indirectly improve access to education [as this would be] tailored to many individuals with neurodiverse backgrounds.”
To realize the goal of better OER implementation, Amin plans on working with different committees if elected. Central to this is working with the Teaching and Learning Committee within the General Faculties Council to help Amin accomplish her goals of increased accessibility.
Additionally, Amin recognized the importance of data collecting and incentivizing professors to utilize OERs. Alongside the vice-president external, Amin expressed that she would like to continue the OER funding advocacy to the provincial government. She determines that the implementation of OERs would lessen the burden on professors, leaving them available to take on more students and thereby creating student jobs.
Further, Amin aspires to directly implement OERs within the bookstore to make it more available for professors and students.
“Right now, we need to re-imagine how we use our bookstore,” said Amin. “Having OERs directly implemented within the bookstore would actually allow professors to know what [they] are and what materials would work best for them.”
In terms of research, Amin plans to expand the available avenues for students to publish their work by establishing a research-wide journal that highlights the works of students.
“It is vital that the research is highlighted here with us being one of the top five institutions for research,” said Amin. “Yet that means nothing to undergraduate students right now because we’re not actually tailoring it to them and recognizing them for their work.”
In response to how she will work with equity deserving groups, Amin expressed that Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) are foundational to academic excellence.
“We cannot have academic excellence without EDIA,” said Amin. “We need to incorporate EDIA elements and Indigenous engagement into all of our teachings and making things accessible would attack that as well through different assessment styles and OERs.”
When asked about the lack of technology in classrooms for hybrid learning, Amin expressed her plans of working with the Learning Technologies Advisory Committee to ensure that proper learning technologies can be implemented in classrooms.
Empowered by her former position as Faculty of Science representative, Amin wants to run for vice president academic to continue serving students and seeing the tangible improvements in the student body.
“I hope I can serve you as well as I can and I’m hoping to bring back that learning into education, making education accessible [and affordable] to every single person because education is a right, it’s not a privilege,” said Amin.
All undergraduate students can vote YES or NO on their ballot for Sandra Amin as VP Academic or ABSTAIN from voting.