Hi Guys, gals and non binary pals! I wanted to leave students with one final post on the advocacy work and wins we have made this past year.
In our college community we have been able to implement a grade hand back policy of 4 after final exams and 14 days after a regular assignment thanks to student feedback. This means when an assignment is handed in the instructor has 14 days to grade and return it to students with the exceptions of extenuating circumstances. Instructors also have 4 days after a final to get your final grade back! Yaya for grades on time and a VP Internal listening to student concerns.
I spent the year sitting on the Alberta Student Executive Council Board of Directors. I attended three conferences in various locations across Alberta and learned so much about leadership and advocating for students. While politics sound dry to some it was empowering to know students have the power to make positive change for their campus and Alberta. We met monthly and more often then not that included impromptu meetings to discuss current changes in politics.
On a provincial level we have made many wins affecting our students and Albertan students. We advocated for a standalone sexual assault policy. This policy would mean that students across the province have a standardized policy that has been approved by government. These policies cannot include gag orders during or beyond the complaint, threatening sanctions for false complaints or time limits for filing complaints.
We had the enormous win of a tuition freeze implemented February 2019 to replace the former tuition freeze. As was expected, the new regulation limits increases to tuition to the twelve month average of the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI), with an effective limit of 10% as domestic tuition cannot increase more than 10% for a program. This is similar to the pre-freeze formula that was the 12 month average of Alberta CPI to a minimum of 0%, to a maximum of 5%. Both the former and new regulation allows for tuition for select programs to be increased by more than CPI as long as the average increase for the institution remains at or below the CPI maximum.
This freeze was exciting because for the first time International students were included. On International student tuition, institutions will now be required to inform the student, when they offer admission, the maximum amount of tuition and fees that the student may be required to pay for each academic year of a standard length of program. Tuition cannot be increased beyond the stated maximums for the international students for the given years. If the students takes longer to complete their program, they may experience a larger increase than the previous years.
Keeping post-secondary affordable is important because we are investing in the future of students and the future of Medicine Hat College. Large scale this helps our community of Medicine Hat by increasing Human capital (things economic nerds get excited about).
We advocated for continued mental health funding. MHC and SAMHC has been receiving money from our advocacy for the past years allowing us to provide more services to students including additional counselors, health and wellness positions and student lead initiatives. We advocated for OERs, transparency in institutional funding and more making headway on all projects. Our students were valued and needs were heard at our fall advocacy week and we hope this progress continues with the new UCP government.
Personally, I would like to say thank you to students who voted to have me represent you and serve you over the past year. We have made great successes which I know will be continued in the future. Most of all, I hope students know they are heard and have the power to start positive change. All of this could not have happened without you, the students.
More information on our advocacy efforts can be found at https://www.albertastudents.ca/archives