Eli Ridder | Report
The application period for Academic Program Representatives who represent students at the University of Guelph-Humber closes on April 12, a position that acts as a bridge between their peers and the university faculty.
There is one slot available for each of the seven programs at Guelph-Humber. The application process is done through IGNITE, though the APRs are not elected but appointed from applicants.
The APR program was created to assist students “safely voice concerns about their program”, concerns that APRs bring before faculty, working through a “resolution process to help ensure these issues are addressed and dealt with.”
Applicants need to be registered as a full-time or part-time Guelph-Humber student during the fall and winter semesters, and maintain good academic standing. Those interested are directed to the IGNITE APR application.
IGNITE says the ideal APR is “ambitious”, enthusiastic to gather student feedback, “passionate about making positive changes”, “self-motivated” and “an individual with a long-term and strategic mindset”.
Eli Ridder | Analysis
The University of Guelph-Humber continues to be in a unique position with two student governance bodies based at two separate institutions — there is the student life-orientated IGNITE student union — though it does deal with some academic issues — and the academics-only University of Guelph Senate.
Colleges in Ontario do not give the same power to students over academic say as the senates on university campuses do. Typically, a university in this province will have a student union — at the University of Guelph it is the Central Student Association — and a senate.
Senates are typically made up of students representing programs at the institution, support staff and teaching faculty from various departments and top-level administrators. The university senate creates an interesting dynamic that can sometimes cause tensions — as seen in the York University strike last year.
The APRs are technically the most direct contact between Guelph-Humber students and faculty, and almost act as a local “senate” in the way they deal with academic issues. They sit on the Curriculum Committee, which is made up of students and staff.
In the past, there has been efforts by Guelph-Humber students to create a local, Guelph-Humber-based student government. The most significant effort in the last three years was by the Academic Reform Group, a one-time IGNITE club who had the ambition of one day establishing an elected, academics-focused student government.
Other students have said this is not necessary because the Guelph Senate, APRs and elected IGNITE officials cover the bases of academic policy, direct academic concerns and student life, respectively.
The Academic Program Representative information page outlines seven responsibilities of the position.
APRs are expected to meet with their respective program head and academic advisor at the beginning of each semester, collect and analyze student feedback throughout the year, attend Curriculum Committee meetings to discuss the feedback and let students know what is going on in the committee meets.
The representatives also are required to write a transition report at the end of semester, maintain “open door communications with students inside and outside the IGNITE Leadership Lounge” and attend “check-in meetings” with the vice president of Guelph-Humber and the IGNITE coordinator.
Megan Roopnarine will be the vice president of Guelph-Humber starting May 1, and the APRs formally start their positions come August 2019 and are in the role until April 2020.
Image of Guelph-Humber from The Avro Post.