GSA Board Strategic Work Plan - 2017-2018

Dear Graduate Student Colleagues and Friends, 

Each spring the GSA Directly-Elected Officers (DEOs) produce a GSA Board Strategic Work Plan (SWP). The SWP serves to identify key priorities and initiatives, direct the GSA’s efforts for the coming year, and identify areas where we can work with others in the University community. 

In developing the GSA Board Strategic Plan Work Plan for 2017-2018, the Vice-Presidents and I participated in a strategic planning retreat, hosted a town hall to hear directly from graduate students, solicited feedback via email, and discussed the SWP with both the GSA Board and GSA Council. GSA Council formally received the SWP for information on July 17, 2017 and it was subsequently released to various campus partners and stakeholders. 

I encourage you all to read the SWP in full by following the below link but would also like to draw your attention to several key points. While the current team of Directly-Elected Officers is committed to working on all the initiatives outlined in the SWP, we intend to will use the team and individual portfolio goals, as listed below, to guide conversations and work with key stakeholders in the University community.

Team Goals:

• Advocate for the University to launch a review of the current state of graduate student funding on campus and to consider the creation of transparent and sustainable funding packages for all thesis-based graduate students that support a reasonable standard of living and which take into consideration ‘time to completion’ requirements, the cost of living in Edmonton, and current tuition costs.

• Promote the need for clear and concise contract terms in letters of offer issued by the University, and urge that these letters be made available to graduate students well in advance of deadlines for offers of admission. 

• Advocate for the continuation of a tuition model that ties graduate student tuition increases to the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI), oppose across-the-board increases, and advocate that provincial regulations concerning tuition increases be applied to international graduate students. Should some formulary aside from tethering increases to Alberta CPI be considered (such as the Academic Price Index), ensure that proper consultation is undertaken and that any such proposals will benefit graduate students. 

• Support the need for sustainable, affordable, and well-maintained graduate student housing on campus and other options to both prevent homelessness and enhance the graduate student experience. 

• Advocate for appropriate training and accountability measures that retain a focus on addressing power imbalances in supervisory relationships and create a culture in which graduate students are acknowledged as junior colleagues.


Individual Portfolio Goals:


• Ensure active participation in the Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees (MNIFs) Oversight Committee. (President)

• Maintain engagement with the Alberta Graduate Provincial Advocacy Council (ab-GPAC) to ensure the priorities of U of A graduate students are heard by both ab-GPAC and the provincial government. (President and Vice-President External) 

• Support professional development and internship opportunities for graduate students. (Vice-President Academic) 

• Engage with Residence Associations and other stakeholders concerning the collection of Residence Association fees. (Vice-President External) 

• Assist graduate students living in residences to ensure safe conditions and the provision of excellent services, which will include securing GSA representation on the newly formed Residence Oversight Committee. (Vice-President Student Services and Vice-President External) 

• Negotiate for increased compensation for graduate assistantships in the Collective Agreement and educate the campus community on the provisions of the Collective Agreement. (Vice-President Labour)

• Ensure the GSA’s compliance with Bill 7 and consult with/educate graduate students on the implications of this legislation. (Vice-President Labour) 

• Support the Campus Food Bank in its mission to ensure the delivery of adequate food for students and their families. (Vice-President Student Services) 

Along with the GSA Vice-Presidents, I am looking forward to a productive and engaging year working closely with the University’s administration team, and other stakeholders, as we pursue these goals on behalf of our graduate student constituents.

Sincerely, 
Babak Soltannia 
2017-2018 GSA President



Click here to view the GSA Board Strategic Plan Work Plan for 2017-2018. 


Visit the GSA Archive for past GSA Board Strategic Work Plans.