mathNEWS Issue 116.6: Friday, July 22, 2011

VPA Candidate: Sean Hunt

Hey there,

I'm Sean and I'm going to start this off with a question. How much do you know about what's going academically on at UW? Do you know what changes have been approved for your major plan but haven't yet come into effect? Do you know which of the courses you're planning to take are being 'deactivated' next year? Do you know for sure that they won't change something up at the last minute and screw up your graduation? I wouldn't be surprised if you answered 'No.' It's a sad state of affairs - the University often plans changes years in advance, and there's no reason that you shouldn't easily be able to find out that starting in September of 2012, you can double major in Mathematical Economics and in Math/Business Administration. Or that effective this very fall, a couple of upper-year AMATH/PMATH cross-listed courses are being made PMATH only. But this information is hard to find.

These examples may not apply to you, but consider what would happen if they did! The University does try to do a good job at making sure that students aren't hurt by the changes (your plan requirements won't change unless you want them to, for instance), but it's not always enough. There are changes already approved in some faculties for 2014; there are a lot of variables flying around and they do have to pick a cutoff date.

My goal here isn't to be fatalistic, but these sorts of things can happen. That's part of why I'm running for VPA. I want to make sure that students know exactly what changes might affect them. The other side of things is that I want to make sure that students get time to contribute to the changes. This is a lot more difficult because it's quite time-sensitive - the Faculty decided this term to rewrite MATH 135 by fall, for instance - but this can be done, even if only by showing up at a classroom saying "Hey, this course is going to change, any suggestions?"

Academic representation is a very important issue, and the Faculty wants and needs strong student representatives to help guide them in their decisions. Nobody is happy if the representation is weak. So please be sure to vote on Monday or Tuesday. It's not a lot of effort and it could have a serious impact on your career.

Your candidate,
Sean Hunt



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