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SLC discussed senate post-report and course feedback consultation 

By Devinya Nakandala, July 27 2023—

A Student Legislative Council (SLC) meeting took place on July 11. The first topic of discussion was provided by Senator Aly Samji who gave the post-report of the senate meeting and year-end reception which was held on June 14.

According to Samiji, this consisted of welcoming new senators, voting on new senator inductions and presentations from the science fair. The reception also included presentations of the chancellor award as well as the distinguished student award from both the science fair as well as the senate service award winner.

Looking to the future there is a discussion about the senate’s involvement in the strategic plan and Samji noted the idea of implementing a senate mentorship program for students at the U of C. 

“What we don’t realize is that the senate is an untapped resource. It’s full of very qualified, talented people who want to network with students, who want to help students. So if it hasn’t been initiated yet then it’s up to us as student senators to initiate this,” said Samji. 

The second point of discussion included a consultation briefing presented by VP Academic Sandra Amin on the Course Feedback Implementation Working Group (CFIWG). Universal Student Ratings of Instruction (USRI) was released in 1998 and was last reviewed in 2003 as the main mechanism to gain student feedback. There was also the release of faculty forms around the same time which are separate from USRI’s consisting mostly of open-ended and qualitative questions. 

“If the 1998 date didn’t say it enough, it’s time for a change and it’s been a long time coming,” said Amin. “One of the reasons for this is because how we access learning in post- secondary has changed. Because of research now we have a better understanding of how people work and even how teaching is conducted.”

Amin also noted that there are a lot of operational logistics associated with USRIs that need to be addressed such as survey fatigue being quite overwhelming for students as well as the academic staff being subjected to personalized attacks. 

Therefore, the course feedback implementation working group was established in 2022 after a recommendation report to the General Faculties Council (GCF). According to Amin, there are three student voices in this committee — two seats for undergraduate representatives and one for a graduate student representative. 

The main goal of this working group is to develop a consultation process across campus to ensure recommendations are informed by stakeholder groups, largely students. According to Amin, the major learning themes of this working group are receiving feedback on learning, learning through metacognition, learning outcomes (alignment, clarity, focus) and learning atmosphere. 

For agendas, minutes and upcoming meetings, visit the SU website 

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