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Sabb Positions Under Review
ICU is looking into the roles of the DPEW and DPGS, but why?
Sack the bastard....
Hear, hear...I hear there is a clause about something to do with "...good academic standing"
This review is wasting everyons
The sabbs should be working for us and doing projects for the students rather than carry review of the dpgs who has been in post only since july. the review ideally should be carried out a year after dpgs was elected. i am interested to see what he will achieve
What i want to know is.. why is the DPGS effectively being paid (our money) to re-sit his exams??
Postgrads are much better provided for than undergrads anyway, and have reps on the Faculty Unions!!
I reckon the money that is currently being paid into the DPGS's account should, next year be distrubuted between the FUs, and the clubas and societies. It will be much better used there than with an unecessary post, that has so far acheived bugger all.
I'm not sure it's an unnecessary post. As a general rule post graduates don't feel at all connected to the union and very rarely get involved so a sabbatical as a means of improving that situation is a good thing. The problem is just that the present DPGS appears to be achieving nothing.
I question the wisdom of a review of the role at this stage i.e. before it has had a chance to settle. I'd have thought a review would have made more sense before the position was created to decide whether it was necessary and exactly what it entails with another after a longer period of time (for example 2 years) to see if it has been effective.
I also question the wisdom of making it DPEW for graduate students. I think,if anything, the role should involve more than that.
I agree Ruth. When originally proposed the DPGS had responsibility for social issues affecting postgrads as well, e.g. improving the opportunities they get to participate in clubs. And the DPEW maintained overall controll of welfare and education for all students.
A worrying point is that the money for the DPGS is ringfenced directly from college, and if this year is such a disaster why would they choose to support it in future years? They threatened to take control of PG representation next year and theres nothing to stop them doing so now.
that should be LAST year of course.
As a current (research) postgrad and former undergrad, one of the key participation issues is postgraduate time. Research postgrads do not get Wednesday afternoons off (unless you want to make up the time working your a**e off in the evenings). I'm left unable to turn up to help on wednesday afternoons and struggling to make weekends. No amount of emails with huge JPG posters attached, trying to advertise graduate events, is going to help that situation.
I'm certainly involved in union activities, mostly as a result of being an undergrad here. However, my time is stretched and I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done to resolve this fundamental flaw with participation.
There's also the cultural difference between postgrads at 22/23/24 and undergrads at 18/19/20. It's a big difference, I guess particularly when you're a fresher to a club and the other freshers are 4+ years younger. Baby-faced 18 y/o freshers and knackered cynical & experienced 22 y/o pg freshers don't have that much in common.
The reason a review was proposed was to question the wisdom of ICU in proposing a constitutional ammendment through council, without fully understanding and outlining the role of the DPGS. If the DPGS is a necessary position because it makes the PGs feel good about themselves, thats not reason enough. The attitude of a majority of PGs at the last RSAC of Guilds was a lack of clarity in what additionally could the role of DPGS achieve by being a full time sabb, which wasn't being done through the FUs at a representative level. And I would be the first to admit that we have let PGs down with respect to welfare and social events - either faculty wide or even at a smaller, research group level. This needs addressing and I am trying to see what we can get done but academic representation of PGs is limited in scope and I think very well addressed with the structure we have in place.
Time for a story children.
A senior manager was walking around his factory, which was in the process of failing. He always walked about, speaking to the workforce - being accessable.
One day an employee who had never spoken to him before asked him a question "Why do you have to be a pillock to be noticed in this place". The senior mangager didn't understand.
He went to complain about the guy to the floor manager. "Well" the guy said "who have you been speaking to?". They went though the names, each of those people he had spoken to (apart from the last) was described as "barrack-room lawyer, dick head, looney toon, barrack-room layer, and the list goes on...
My question is this, are the negative people on the board genuinly trying to make an effort to improve the place, or are they the negative "winging whining underbelly" that can be found in most large organisations.
No offence or anything...
For far too long we have tolerated sabaticals who do not do their jobs. If someone is c**p at their job, and is given a warning then they get sacked. Why are the lazy a**es who sit on council not warning these people and sacking them.
Sabbs are seen as an "easy option" for those who cant be a**ed or are not good enough to get a "real" job.
The DPGS is basically a disgrace. He hasn't even submitted a report to council (neither has the president) and has failed his exams and is now resitting them during term time when he should be working. Quite frankily this is a disgrace...
I say once again - sack the bastard
"Sabbs are seen as an "easy option" for those who cant be a**ed or are not good enough to get a "real" job."
I think you are tainting all sabbs with your experience of a few. Firstly I question how a mid-degree sabbatical can be described in this way as they are not looking to get a job, perhaps you are referring to the fact they can't be a**ed with their degree.
Speaking personally, I was a sabbatical and while I freely admit that I wasn't the best I could be, I don't think I was a bad one. (You can disagree if you like, but to be honest I don't think my failings are relevant to current students.) Also on a personal note, I have never failed to walk out of a job interview with a Job. I'm sure you're all dying to question whether I have a "Real Job" but to be honest I don't know what that phrase is trying to imply.
Yes I was looking for a break from my degree (who wouldn't after two years of EE), but I also had the choice of an internship, a year in industry or a year in Europe - I chose the sabbatical because I thought I'd be good at it and I thought I'd enjoy it. Now you might think the latter isn't a good reason, but I content that a Sabb who enjoys the job is more likely to take an interest in it.
Please don't let your experience of a few (probably recent) Sabbaticals colour your impressions of all Sabbs. Most have the Union's best interests rather than their own at heart.
And frankly, it's all a popularity contest anyway, which just goes to shows that I'm more popular than anyone hiding behind a "No Confidence" moniker - if that's what you really think, grab a few mates, get it all down on paper and submit it to Council. That's what a real (wo)man would do.
I think people must feel that the role of sabbatical appears to have changed in the last 5 years, as you say Sam. Maybe it is because of the 2 year post thing...
I don;t see why you want to sack him so soon in his term yet. This isn't a reasonable time to sack the DPGS since he's only been here for few months.
His work might not be apparent to all of us, but as a postgrad, I can see he's made a rep structre accessible to postgrads via the GSA.
His job doesn't look easy at all, I wouldn't want to be doing it myself becasue it seems he had to do a lot of persuading postgrads to set-up this representation.
Sid, this representation might be well set-up in C&G, but in Tanaka it has just been set-up, which is very good feedback.
This isn't something a part-time officer could have set-up, i don't imagine.
The GSA has been fairly low on my radar, compared to Guilds. I'm not quite sure how the representation structure works now - "Graduate Students Association" makes it sound like it replaces the CCU/FSU/FSA structure for graduate students. Yet Guilds has (or should have ... there's no picture on the reps poster) a departmental rep for research students. Who looks after my interests? The GSA? Guilds? Both? Neither?
your Rep is Oliver who I understand is in your Research Group. We had trouble getting the posters out in time, but we are on it now.
Thanks Sid, I hadn't seen any publicity about an election taking place.
But where does the GSA fit into the representation structure? There has been a dinner (which was advertised via a large JPEG poster embedded in an email, if you used Outlook), but I can't think of anything else.
Doesn't Guilds cover Tanaka as well?
You are absolutely right Ashley, elections for some of the Research reps. did not take place, so what we did do was to appoint certain reps and these reps along with others who wish to be considered for the position will be elected at the next Guilds general meeting. It is horrendously difficult to attract students at a research level to commit to anything, indeed it is even more difficult to get reps in a room to meet 2-3 times a year in RSAC; Oliver was very kind to offer his help and his credentials are impeccable.
With respect to the Tanaka students, at the beginning of this year I met with the DPGS who stated that he would like to have the Tanaka student reps sitting on the GSA alongside our AAO (Research), I explained how this would be difficult as their rep already sits on the Guild's RSAC, in any case considering the lack of progress Guilds had made with representing Tanaka students I agreed that students of the TBS would be represented directly to the GSA removing them from the Guilds representation structure, on the condition that a ctte. was created in Tanaka to facilitate their activities, which the DPGS agreed to help the Tanaka reps with. Though TBS has its own Principal, from what I understand the Dean of Engineering still cut through both Engineering and the Business School, but again this seems to be a historical position.
"It is horrendously difficult to attract students at a research level to commit to anything, indeed it is even more difficult to get reps in a room to meet 2-3 times a year in RSAC"
This brings us nicely back to the point. The role of the DPGS should be to find out why this is and what we can do about it. Time constraints is the obvious problem but I have no idea what can be done.
Its a great shame that the long awaited opportunity to develop a serious institution for postgraduates is being squandered.
However, it should not come entirely as a surprise. In 2001 the ICU Council Postgraduate Chair role was abandoned by ICU because it was ineffective. A few years ago the Cambridge University Graduate Union suffered a similar situation to our current DPGS problem, with ineffective leadership making a mockery of the institution.
PostSoc opposed the creation a DPGS type role during the 2003 Research Students Group meetings when we warned of the danger of investing too much responsibility in a single individual for this important issue. We had seen first-hand while attempting to build a postgraduate community and actively organising events during 1999-2001, that the ICU Council Postgraduate Chair was out of touch and ineffective.
During the 2003 Research Students Group meetings we strongly recommended (to Mustafa and the other Sabbs) the formation of a constituent level Postgraduate Union with a part-time elected government (i.e. sitting alongside the then RCSU, CGCU and RSMU unions and with a similar structure). We argued then that the advantage of this type of institution is that it facilitates and encourages the development of, and involvement in, a postgraduate ?community? which is ?owned? by postgraduates with their own accessible people in office. (The lack of community basis incidentally, is what was wrong with the postgraduate rep structure).
Prior to the formation of the GSA and the DPGS role in early 2005, I also made these points to Prof. Ritter (Pro-rector Postgraduate Affairs), recommending also that much broader consultation should be undertaken before deciding on the structure of our graduate institution, specifically including advisors from the National Postgraduate Committee who could easily have forewarned of such problems.
Alas, all we got the previously failed strategy of attempting to administer and develop a postgraduate community through some remote individual in high office.
There's a PostSoc?
Yep - see http://www.union.ic.ac.uk/scc/postsoc/
Doesn't look active though
That was before, dudes. Check the dates in my script.
PostSoc and the Research Students' group were abolished/merged to form the GSA- the idea being that it will be easier to get reps if the rep structure is connected with social events that students will notice.
The effectiveness of this strategy when said activities are at a centralised union-wide level is open to debate.
Yet again the Union can't even get its bureaucracy together; PostSoc have ?360 of budget for this year - even though they're dead. That's something like 10% of the whole SCC budget being wasted!
i can't help but comment about pgs and ugs socialising. I've been involved with several clubs at my time at imperial, as a ug, then as an alumnus, then as a pg, and in my humble opinion, it works. may be because both sports i have taken part in require the pgs and alumni to play a more prominent part in the club, as no one else has the necessary experience or qualifications.
postsoc was active in my last yr as a pg (2004-5), mainly cheese and wine things though.
the scc exec would have been responsible for handing out the budgets, ask them why?
most of the pgs i know who have newly arrived at imperial have already established a group of friends and extra curricular activities before they have arrived, or will strive to stay in contact with their old universities.
just my 2p
Jo Fried at ULU was much better at research postgrad last year - she got the trialing on independent chairs of vivas and tape recordings... I salute her! She bothered to consult me, Hiu hasn't. Ever.
Cthulu: Yes, I gave PostSoc a budget because when I was handling the budget applications no-one I'd spoken to had heard anything of the GSA and it seemed that postsoc would be active this year.
So.. you're going to let the DPGS get away with it??
Come on, he's spent most of his time doing a paid internship (while getting paid Union money!) and now he's doing some exams. No wonder the bloke hasn't acheived anything, he can't have been in his office for more than 5 minutes this year!
Who here sits on Union Council? Have the balls, stand up and say 'no confidence'. Then propose that we do away with the waste of space and money position that is the DPGS, and start funding the Clubs and Societies better.
I don't really see where your balls are involved in any of this, Come On. It looks like pure selfishness I must say. Instead of looking at the need for postgraduate representation and regarding it with a sabbatical who has taken time off his masters degree to serve the Union and represent postgrads, all you care about is more money for clubs.
And please, do not talk about having balls. If you had any at all, you would have identified yourself.
I would be happy to stand up and say no confidence if I thought that was required. That isn't going to achieve anything - it's a new post which College is paying for and it will take a while to bed in.
As I understand it, getting rid of the post would get rid of the funding for it. No more would go to clubs & socs.
(As a side note - it's a shame Guildsheet didn't have the Research AAO as one of the positions on the "Elections 2006" page!)
I agree Ashley. Unfortunately the current AAO (Research) was too busy to write his job description due to pressures from his PhD. We will putting this section online when nominations open with an improved Hon Sec and AAO job description.
I hope you enjoyed the rest of Guildsheet!
To be fair to all the whingers and moaners, they do have some valid points.
* Those elected to sabbatical positions are not meant to take up their posts unless "academically sufficient", and this usually means passing their exams. This has led in the past to elected persons being unable to take up their posts when they are found lacking in exams. I'm curious to know why and how Luis managed to take his post up given he needs to resit.
* And, from experience, a sabbatical post affords too little contracted holiday for a sabb to be able to take up an internship and resit their exams during their term in office without taking uncontracted leave.
If these allegations are true, then not only has Mr Hui broken his employment contract, but worse, he has deceptively denied the postgraduate community its long campaigned for (to which Mr Hui made no contribution) high level representation in the union.
Should he not now resign - or at least be called to account?
Why waste another 6 months and a further ?6k in salary when so much good work could be done in that time by someone who will do a decent job.
On the points raised:
- Luis only re-took his exam not because he had failed it, but because it gave him a chance to get a better mark. Now that's more like good academic standing in my opninion.
- Luis' internship took place over 5 weeks, the amount of time he is entitled to in his contract. His leave was approved by last year's executive committee.
- I feel sorry for the ones who think Luis hasn't acheived much as yet. He is starting somthing from scratch and I think it's not an overnight process. Establishing the GSA, securing its funding, writing (and re-writing) its constitution and getting it up and running isn't an easy job. Add to that the crazy amounts of meetings to attend and chair, you'd be living in a fantasy world if you think more could be done in that time.
I'd like to see you Jon Smith doing a better job. Perhaps you'd like to halt your degree (let alone a masters) and work for your student community? Or is just whinging you like to do?
Whilst you raise some interesting points, however your argument below:
"Perhaps you'd like to halt your degree (let alone a masters) and work for your student community?"
Jon Smith stood for election against Lui last summer, demonstrating that he was prepared to take time out to work for ICU.
Jon also ran the very successful postgraduate society a couple of years ago, which in my humble opinion achieved almost as much as the GSA has achieved (in terms of social events) thus far.
If Jon really cares for his postgraduate community and was enthused enough to run for the DPGS position, then why doesn't he feed his comments, suggestions and ideas to Luis directly?
Sitting back and whining is a terrible nonchalent way of helplessly criticising. If he thinks the job could be done in a better way, why doesn't he feed some ideas in? Obviously he didn't win, but that wouldn't stop him from helping out if he really feels stongly about things. Luis is always open for suggestions and new ideas anyway.
And to get things straight, had the Postgraduate Society been so sucessful and active, there wouldn't be an imminent need for postgraduate representation and social events. PostSoc didn't even cover postgraduate representation, which the GSA sucessfully does now.
Have Sabbs got nothing bette to do than post on live all day.
Do some work for once Sarah. Support your reps instead of supporting your ass with that chair.
you are slightly mistaken when you say "PostSoc didn't even cover postgraduate representation, which the GSA sucessfully does now". PG Representation has been carried out successfully over the past several millenias by FUs, the representation failed not at the core level but at the level of ICU representing to college, through the GSEPS and GSLSM. Whose meetings were to be attended by DPEW in the past, and only it seems the one last year failed to do so. In any case, one of the questions our Reps in Engineering questioned and indeed I put it to all PGs out there, what kind of representation do PGs actually require, cause' it seems most academic issues at least for PhD. students are such that any external intervention can only make things worse, and issues are best handled by students. But, if there are other such academic issues, again FUs deal with them. What the GSA perhaps does provide is an oversight, but again I would prefer it stuck to Social aspects, cause FUs fail to do this, why? Well, we get no money for PG welfare, we try our best with the money we have and indeed we contributed to the GSA.
Sarah, I suggest its still better to carry on with your own duties rather then defending Luis, I am sure he is capable of it himself.
Luis is a loser. He has not done anything for Post Grads, and iCU never did anything anyway. It was always PostSoc who did the social aspect, and FUs who did the academic. It was a system that worked, and spending thousands of pounds on flash websites, and people who spend time retaking exams is pointless. Give the bloody funding to Postgrads, instead of wasting it...
Also with regards to the statement that DPGS took leave to do his exams. Yes that may be the case, but can you honestly tell me that at no point while iCU was paying him, he thought about his exams. That the extra "stress" associated with retaking exams has not affected his work...
Also why do the majority of postgrads - who are not finance MSC's want the GSA to have an agreement with the charted instute of financial management or whatever it is...??? Obviousally the DPGS is only interested in Taught MSc students - and the not the people who need support and representation - the research ones....
Basically the DPGS position has proved to be a pointless exercise. I say sack the bastard, and give the money to FU's where the AAO's can use it to support Postgrads properly....
How many days holiday are sabbs entitled to? 21 and a bit days - or it was when I was in office, perhaps sabb contracts are more generous these days.
Internship: 5x5 days - 25 days
Resit exams: minimum 0.5 days
Seems over the limit of normal holiday entitlement to me.
"What the GSA perhaps does provide is an oversight, but again I would prefer it stuck to Social aspects, cause FUs fail to do this, why? Well, we get no money for PG welfare, we try our best with the money we have and indeed we contributed to the GSA."
There can not, and should not be, any money whatsoever contributed to social events, if that is what you are getting at.
All union societies, clubs, etc. have to raise their own funds to pay for these, and I don't see why we postgradss should be any different. Particularly as PhD's get an income and UG's don't. Taught postgrads I suppose are in a bit of a bind.
Basicaly there's no such thing as a free lunch.
In terms of social welfare, what do you need? I suggest that money isn't the problem.
I'm based off campus in a Lab run by UKAEA. We have loads of students based here, and absolutely no pastoral care. Our UKAEA supervisors are not subject easily to normal chains of accademic representation (i.e. if I have a problem with my UKAEA supervisor, there is naff all my faculty can do about it and little that my Imperial supervisor can do).
There is no union, no social framework etc. other than the very effective one we have built for ourselves (we don't even know exactly how many students are on site) and by lobbying the UKAEA management here to give us the means to implement our own solutions.
Bluntly, a Sabb officer and a pot of money is not what postgraduates need. A group of volunteers willing to put in the effort is what is needed. There is very little that a man in an office with a budget can do. And even with a budget, squandering it on free lunches seems extraordinarily frivolous. If you need to bribe people to socialise then they probably didn't need to socialise that much in the first place.
I would suggest from plentiful past experience that as a Sabbatical posting (especially during the working day!!!) on Live! you will not win. It is probably better to say nothing as the number of people lining up to pick you apart is indubitably massive.
It is better to let Luis prove if asked in the proper fora (I would suggest that Council/Exec is a proper forum for this, Live! is not) that he has done nothing wrong. If Exec have sanctioned all this then he has done nothing which has not been agreed - and whether the Exec breached the rules to let him do it is not actually his problem.
By posting on Live! people will probably think you have too much time on your hands, which could be spent in meetings - perhaps the ones the DPEW used to attend but now doesn't as you have a DPGS... thereby defeating your argument.
Just thought I'd give my 2p on this issue.
Firstly - If Luis has done something wrong, could you ever see Council ever holding him to account. Whenever Council has been asked to do something like this in the past, Council has done nothing. Why should Council break the habit of the past half decade by actually doing something.
As for you Sarah, if you have enough time to post not just once but twice during the day, you aren't doing your job. When I was a student (bearing in mind this was only until a short time ago), it was very rare for a Sabb to post on Live!. Your job couldn't have so little work now so that you can surf the web for a reasonable chunk of your day of your day.
In closing I will point out why some people whinge and whine on Live!. It's not because it's easy. A lot of those posting here have spent a long time trying to do things to help the Union. They are some of the most active people, and most, if not all, have had great ideas that they have attempted to put into practice. The reason why they now have to post on Live is beacuase the beareaucrats in charge of the asylum don't want to know. So next time, don't accuse people on Live! of being lazy, & remember the names of some of the people who post here. You'll be suprised when you look into them and what they've done.
Peace out y'all
Luis has said that the CMI hook up is to be the first of many. He has to start somewhere. My initial reaction was "what the hell is the point of this, how many are interested?"
I look forward to more affiliations and would like to see an update on that in the report Luis gives at the next council meeting.
I still believe that the fundamental flaw is lumping MSc students in with PhD students. The structure is quite different (at least in my department). A PhD student gains a lot of the privileges of a member of staff. I'm sure PhD students would benefit from inter-disciplinary networking, but as part of the research structure that's something that the graduate schools are more responsible for. That sort of networking needs to take in RAs as well (who tend to be effectively part-time PhDs if they're new graduates as an alternate source of funding to a grant).
It's a big complicated mess on the research side and I think the division should be "taught" and "research", with perhaps a "taught postgraduate" non-sabb to bridge the gap (for things like housing for families etc, which apply to all graduate students).
Observer : my regards
Edward : very well said
Sarah : get the facts first
Luis : are you there?
?35 if enough sign up to the CMI, for, wait for it:
A range of journals, also available at the Library for FREE
A careers guidance service: also available in Sherfield for FREE
Making friends and networking: available in Clubs and Socs, the Bars and Imperial generally (except, of course, the Tanaka school of Fraud) for a nominal fee.
I could go on, but what's the point in wasting my valuable research time worrying about half baked schemes for the benefit of the CMI?
Power to the students!
"Luis : are you there?"
Yeh right - representing post grads, doing his job? I think not...
I suggest you Reserach Post_Grads call for his head on a stick..
Sarah got moaned at for posting here, you can't complain that Luis doesn't.
This is Live! - I didn't realise there were any limits or rules regarding complaining.
I thought that's what Live! was here for, unrestricted complaining.
Sarah got moaned at for posting here, you can't *fairly* complain that Luis doesn't.
Perhaps sabbs aren't keen to post to Live!, but one assumes they keep their members informed through other media channels. So where does Luis post all that feedback on his DPGS and GSA doings?
Where is all the news on postgraduate events, infrastructure development, research contacts database, support and advice service, partnership building, etc. ?
A search of the union website for DPGS, GSA or Hui comes up with zilch save a request for extended leave in September and some standard spiel on GSA in the November newsletter.
One get the feeling that there is simply nothing to report.
Some of these seem a tad repetitive though...
I note that with 36 hours to go until nominations close, the only candidate standing for DPGS is RON. Postgrads received an email from Sameena this morning:
"Nominations for the ICU Sabbatical Elections close this Tuesday 23:59, which includes nominations for the post of Deputy President Graduate Students - the new Sabbatical role which was introduced this year. The DP Graduate Students is responsible for issues specifically related to taught & research postgraduate students, works to ensure effective representation of graduate students both to the College and within the Union itself, and ensures the effective co-ordination of the Union?s services and activities for graduate students."
No wonder, eh
Well, there was one DPGS candidate with a few seconders earlier. Anyone know how many they achieved in the end?
It is gd to know that there will be 2 candidates for DPGS or whatever it will be called by the time they take up the post.
They are both MScs, I see.... (hardly surprising)
yes, because PhD students barely have time to eat and sleep - let alone post on Live!
... oh wait ...
Has anyone posted the candidates yet? As far as I remember (and there might be more seconded candidates than this) the seconded list looked like:
Deputy President (Clubs and Societies): Eric Lai
Deputy President (Education and Welfare): Arlette Cole
Deputy President (Education and Welfare): Benjamin T Harris
Deputy President (Education and Welfare): Camilla Royle
Deputy President (Finance and Services): Dan Lehmann
Deputy President (Graduate Students): Mignone Ngum
Deputy President (Graduate Students): Shama Rahman
Felix Editor: Andrew Sykes
Felix Editor: Anushri S Patel
Felix Editor: Shaun Stanworth
President: Joseph O Eldridge
President: John Collins
President: Kian S Low
President: Simon Matthews
Of course, RON is standing for all posts.
Who do you think will win?
It should be noted that both Dan Lehmann and Arlette Cole have withdrawn.
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