I am Michael Sit-kei Ip, a first-year student in the Master of Arts in Environment and Management. I came from Hong Kong and am honored to study on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lekwungen (Songhees) ancestors and families who have lived here for thousands of years.
Since March 2022, I have heard concerns about the University courses from my friends in different graduate programs. These concerns can be good things as they help the system to improve itself. But my friends' worries are whether they are being heard.
I am glad that Royal Roads University (RRU) is established with Academic Council, which is responsible for developing educational policies and reviewing all programs. The system is there and all we need to do is to find a representative to speak for us. That is why I am here to run for the graduate student representative of the Academic Council.
Before I came to Canada, I studied at two different universities, both being among the top 100 on the QS World University Rankings. I have also acted as a course designer, fieldwork supervisor, tutor, and guest speaker in three other post-secondary institutions. All these experiences equipped me with knowledge and perspectives for improving RRU’s academic governance. In addition to the “what-to-do” (governance), I have ample experience in the “how-to-do” (management). For the past 15 years, I had worked extensively in the nonprofit sector, especially in quality assurance. In early 2000, the Hong Kong Government imposed a comprehensive set of Service Quality Standards on all subvented nonprofits. Being a senior practitioner in the middle management of a large nonprofit, I was responsible to implement, review, and revise the policies and procedures to ensure that quality service was delivered. The challenge is how to prioritize our plan with limited resources to cater to the increasing demand of the community.
So what can a student representative do in Academic Council? Firstly, timely communication with his constituency is of paramount importance. We don't want to elect someone who does things on his own and never shows up.
The second thing is to highlight issues that matter to the graduate students. Information in itself carries little value without perspective. I believe in collective wisdom from our graduate students. What the representative should do is to be transparent and inclusive, so that he can collaborate with the graduate student community on significant issues.
Thirdly, the student representative should ensure that RRU collects the stakeholders’ feedback and takes the corresponding action to improve the academic system, including admission, award, and curriculum design. My aspiration is not to fix one problem at a time, but to improve RRU’s quality of academic governance through monitoring and reviewing its policies, procedures, and priorities, and to actualize RRU’s educational values and goals through the Academic Council.
I am convinced that, with proper management and governance, RRU can evolve into a post-secondary institution as outstanding as other top universities in the world.
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