My name is Leah Brockie, and I am the Academic Affairs Commissioner in the Alma Mater Society at Queen’s University. I am the AMS’ advisory member on Steering Committee, meaning I do not vote, but I act as a resource to provide greater insight and information on academic issues. My entire portfolio is related to academics, so I spend a great deal of time reading about different aspects of the sector, and meeting with our administration to voice undergraduate needs and concerns. I am excited to use this knowledge and experience to provide informed contributions to Steering Committee discussions.
With a wide variety of issues facing students, and challenges to the sector more widely, it is important to prioritize what we spend our time and resources on. Teaching-focused faculty is a sector-wide issue that concerns the quality of our students’ classroom experiences. Providing a diversity of learning models, including undergraduate research and experiential learning, can benefit all students if appropriate funding and incentives are provided. Simple and easy credit transfer between institutions in higher education benefits all students. Providing accessible and affordable education to all members of our society is a pressing provincial issue, and one on which significant progress can be made through collective action, as demonstrated this past year. These are the kinds of issues that implicate every single student, and are not unique to a particular institution. These are the issues on which we must focus our efforts, so as not to limit institutional freedom and differentiation, but to improve the sector as a whole, and enhance the undergraduate experience.
I first heard about OUSA through discussions at our Assembly last year, and my first OUSA experience was attending General Assembly this past spring. I found the discussion extremely engaging, particularly when students from very different institutions could collaborate on very similar priorities and would debate differing opinions. OUSA is an outstanding platform to host robust debate on different issues facing undergraduate students. The diversity of experience each of our members brings provides an opportunity to challenge assumptions, share best practices, and foster dialogue that truly represents the diversity of Ontario students. I am excited to see this year’s Steering Committee work together to tackle the breadth of sector-wide, provincial issues influencing our education. Through consensus-based decision making, and intentionally fostering open dialogue, we can accomplish great things!
OUSA Steering Committee Member
Academic Affairs Commissioner, Queen’s AMS