AGSA Meeting Minutes – November 26, 2010

Thanks, as always to Lindi for the minutes!

1. Election of a new treasurer:

Farewell to Marlee our past treasurer, welcome to our new treasurer Maggie Woo!

2. Clarification and info re: letter to Department – student issues and concerns

Clarification of 4th year + funding and intent of letter:

Sara wanted to make sure to clarify that although this is worded as 4 year + funding, that doesn’t mean that students have funding for a full four years. There are other sources of funding for your first four years, at the 5th year mark, there are really no funding opportunities available.

Intent of the focus on funding in the 5th year is to draw attention to the disconnect between the imaginary or “official” program length and the actual length of time it takes to complete a PhD, and especially the implications for funding. It is no surprise to anyone that the PhD program takes more than 4 years, but the whole funding structure is set up for 4 years.

The model now is “front loaded” with an emphasis on recruitment and funding early in the program. But perhaps there should be more focus on completion. This has implications for TA allocations too, and people with less funding at the start often have even more trouble after the 4th year.

Presentation to Dean (next week):

On Dec 7, Natalie and Morgan will attend the Department meeting. The Dean of Arts will attend this meeting and students have been asked to give a presentation. Sara suggests that the presentation focus  on fourth year + funding, perhaps mention the GSS motion to show that this not just a problem in anthropology students, but for PhD students campus-wide.

2. Committee/representative updates

GSS update (Meredith)

There was a GSS meeting this past Thursday, a motion passed to approve a position statement on 4 year + funding (the document is available here). Thus this is evidently a University-wide issue

However, this is only a position statement, so the GSS has decided to take on the issue of 4 year + funding, cannot actually do anything about it aside from lobby.

On Dec 14t at 5:30 pm, GSS ballroom, Annual General Meeting – any graduate student who attends can vote: come and vote! Meredith will be presenting a motion to approve a position statement about maternal leave. For voting at the meeting they need to have 100 people. There will be free food and free beer!

3. (Post)Holiday party update

We had a holiday party committee meeting last week:

Curling party – more expensive than anticipated. Vancouver, Richmond, and Marpole clubs too expensive. AGSA could subsidize one sheet, then participants could pay for others? That would reduce the cost.

Alternative options: different winter activities. Snow shoeing, skating, sledding… something less expensive.

Snow shoeing Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, Cypress? 3-5 km, can rent show shoes

Pub night after?

First Saturday in January? (January 8th)

AGSA can help subsidize rentals and snacks at after-party.

4. Meeting schedule for next term

Wednesdays at 1pm, instead of Thursdays.

5. Dazed and Confused (Natalie)

Re-evaluating the model

Possible sign-up beforehand

Not scheduled for this or next week

5. Meeting with the Dean, pt. 2

Natalie wanted to know what other concerns students have.


4th year + funding

Distribution of funds and opportunities skewed by large cohorts

Large cohort also negative for class contributions, ie) 500, not a productive academic environment.

There are also some positive things about the department:

Mentoring program

506 class, conference

Individual attention from supervisors

Good sense of community

Faculty go above and beyond what is expected

The dean is going on a possible tour around the department. We can’t mention space as a concern in the presentation, but perhaps everyone could hang out in ANSO that day to show how many people there are?

100 courses getting really large, huge workload for TAs – more TAships?

Upper-year undergrads are asking for more specialized classes



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