Race: Senate

The Senate is the highest governing body which deals with academic issues, including drafting the academic calendar and approving new courses, programs, and curriculum changes. Some key issues which have recently been dealt with include the creation of policies on Credit/D/Fail standing, teaching evaluations, and exam hardships. With three incumbent senators in this race seeking re-election, this race looks poised to be fairly competitive.

*Profiles are published in the order in which they were received.

Name: Justin Yang
Year: 4
Faculty and program: Dual Degree in Science (Cell Biology and Genetics) and Arts (English Honours)
Past campus involvement: Refer to http://vote.justinyang.ca/experience/
Past non-campus involvement: n/a
Why should students vote for you? I am an experienced student senator with well-established rapport with several members of both faculty and administration and can advocate strongly on behalf of students.
Which committees will you serve on? Why?
1) Teaching & Learning (I currently serve on this committee) because I am excited for new initiatives promoting best practices in teaching and learning on campus and 2) Academic Policy because this year has demonstrated the power of academic policy to either work for against students who are interested in non-traditional study options.
What do you think is the single biggest issue Senate needs to focus on this year?
Further policywork on Student Evaluations of Teaching, particularly the push for instructors to release them.
Insert your favourite Internet meme here. Bed Intruder Song?

Name: Spencer Rasmussen
Year: 4
Faculty and program: Arts – Political Science and Economics
Past campus involvement: Well, I’ve been a student Senator, and I believe this will prepare me well for the position of student Senator. Beyond that, I have extensive leadership experience in the campus sustainability movement. I’ve served as Director of Common Energy UBC, a campus climate change organization, as well as UBC Coordinator of goBEYOND, a province-wide student climate project.
Past non-campus involvement: I’m involved with the founding of LeadNow, a national citizens movement that will bring Canadians together to take action for our long-term interests and hold politicians accountable. I now serve on the board.
Why should students vote for you?
As a current senator, I’ll bring experience, commitment and accountability to a second term. With most students serving only for a year, I can provide leadership and continuity. If re-elected I intend to focus on sustainability and campus governance. First, I will continue to work constructively with the university to implement its academic sustainability goals, which includes creating sustainability minors, improving teaching quality, and more. Second, Changes to the campus’ local governance arrangements are in the works, and I will work to ensure all voices are heard – and all voices hear each other.
Which committees will you serve on? Why?
I wish to continue serving on the Teaching and Learning Committee, as well as Policy. I’ve made modest, but meaningful contributions, helping reduce tuition for graduate students with disabilities and foster dialogue on international student issues. I wish to build on these successes.
What do you think is the single biggest issue Senate needs to focus on this year?
Itself.  Senate has some real strengths.  It’s a place where faculty, students, administration and alumni work collaboratively on academic governance.  It’s a place where the student voice is heard and respected.  Unfortunately, Senates across Canada have been doing less and less.  A lively, proactive Senate would be huge contribution to our university.  I don’t have all the answers, but we need to make this happen.
Insert your favourite Internet meme here.
First I went to Urban Dictionary to find out what an internet meme is.  Then I asked my (unhelpful) friends.  Then I googled “best internet memes” and found this: http://tinyurl.com/y8ufsnp.  Apparently this is funny in internet land.

Name: Imran Habib
Age: 19
Year: 2
Faculty and program: Arts
Past campus involvement: Ubyssey Board of Directors (12 months), AMS Education Committee (8 months), Emerging Leaders Program, MUG Leader, Community Service Learning program, and Member of Alpha Delta Phi.
Past non-campus involvement: “The Province” as a blog affiliate, Variety Show of Hearts Telethon, Aga Khan Volunteering Network.
Why should students vote for you?
As a student with experience in the AMS and in other leadership scenarios, students should put confidence in me and my campaign and expect to see change in the University. I believe my views on improving student communication between prospective and current students will be critical for the long term future of the university. As well, I am very involved on campus from Greek life to politics and I understand the ground level issues we face every day as students; which enables me to fight even harder to get our opinions into actions.
Which committees will you serve on? Why?
As a senator, I would serve on the Admission and Academic committees. My campaign platform is firmly based in the notion of improving the way in which we usher prospective students into UBC. As a member of the Admission committee, I will move to implement student-based programs that help prepare students for UBC academic and social life before the commencement of their studies. The preceding strategy will grow stronger and more successful students.
As well, I would take part on the Academic committee. I believe UBC needs to create databases for exams and completed supplemental applications that can be used to guide prospective transfer students. University is an academic oasis in which students realise their strengths and weaknesses, breaking down the barriers to ensure faculty flexibility for the eligible is something I will push for.
What do you think is the single biggest issue Senate needs to focus on this year?
I believe the rising dropout rates and solutions being implemented need to be focused upon and analysed. The numbers are scary and the raised entrance average solution needs to be critiqued, as well as, creation of more supplemental solutions to further attack the issue.
Insert your favourite Internet meme here. Real-Time Social Media

Name: Thomas (Peter) Brennan
Age: 21
Year: 4
Faculty and program: Science – Physics; Arts – Political Science
Why should students vote for you?:
I’m a hardworking, realistic person who gets the job done. Why shouldn’t students vote for me?
Which committees will you serve on? Why?
Academic Policy – my main goals are matters for the Academic Policy committee, so I will serve there.
Agenda – it’s crucial to get issues for discussion on the agenda, or else nothing can get done. To fight for issues important to the Student Caucus–and, by extension, to students–we need a strong voice on the Agenda committee.
What do you think is the single biggest issue Senate needs to focus on this year?
Because of the inertial nature of the Senate, it’s really only realistic to start with one concrete goal. As a Senator, mine will be to get exam schedules published before each term starts.
Insert your favourite Internet meme here:
I think Candlejack is my favourite meme, because I loved Freakazoid as a kid and

Name: AJ Hajian
Year: 4
Faculty and program: Science, Computer Science+Economics
Past campus involvement: Current Senator, UBC Annual Technical Career Fair, MUG Leader, Senior Peer Program, Various CS Committees
Past non-campus involvement: Vancouver Board of Trade, Immigration Services Society of BC, Vancouver 2010
Why should students vote for you? I am a loud representation of students rights
Which committees will you serve on? Why? Agenda, Admission
What do you think is the single biggest issue Senate needs to focus on this year?
Summer Semester
Insert your favourite Internet meme here. Justin Bieber’s overnight fame

Name: Ryan Cecil Bredin
Age: 23
Year: 4
Faculty and program: Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Past campus involvement: Senate Candidate 2010, Member of UBC Aquasoc and Assistant Instructor, Participated in various campus sports and events.
Past non-campus involvement:
Why should students vote for you? My platform focusses on four major points.
1) Sustainability – Sustainability in all endeavours of the university is key. Effective management of all university aspects must be maintained to keep our standing as a world class university.
2) Interactive Education – I stand for the importance of education at UBC, for both the student and instructor. For the student – I stand to promote interactive learning, group teaching, and to break down the walls between the students and instructors. For the instructors – I feel that instructors should be required to attend teaching seminars to further their abilities increasing the quality of education at UBC.
3) Research Excellence – I intend to ensure UBC maintains its reputation as a premier research university. Part of this is increasing undergraduate participation in research (not just undergraduates with exceptional grades but others with the desire) via developing new programs.
4) Student Representation – I believe each student has a voice. I intend to listen and represent their views on issues. Accountability and responsibility are my first priority. Explore my facebook group (Ryan Bredin for UBC Senate 2011), or email me at bredin_r@hotmail.com for more information.
Which committees will you serve on? Why?
I hope to serve on:
Teaching and Learning Committee: I feel there is much work to be done with the way teaching is assessed at UBC. The end of term class surveys need to be public, and must have a greater impact on the courses. I also feel that instructors who are not assessed well should attend seminars to better their teaching skills.
Admissions: The admissions system as it stands is not adequate. There are issues with inability to independently assess high school graduates on a school to school basis. Coupled to this is increasing competitive averages which makes it more difficult to assess the merits of individual students. To solve this problem broad based admissions has been suggested, and although this system is very good at assessing a candidates community involvement, it may not be cost effective for implementation in the university as a whole.
What do you think is the single biggest issue Senate needs to focus on this year?
I intend to focus some on my efforts on insuring that undergraduate opportunities in research are improved. My plan involves a couple key points. 1) Approaching research faculty to explore how to incorporate undergraduates into individual laboratories (perhaps even in the grant applications themselves for funding). 2) Providing incentive to researchers to hire undergraduates. 3) Increasing awareness in the undergraduate population on how they can become involved in research.
Insert your favourite Internet meme here. facepalm

We did not receive responses from Matthew Campbell, and Eric DiStefano. Responses will be posted when we receive them.


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  1. Rickroll’d on insiders; I thought I’d never see the day.

    Posted by Michael C | January 16, 2011, 4:06 pm
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