The Student Sounding Board (SSB) is an undergraduate group, founded spring 2007 to gather more student input for the Academic Senate. Once established, it will be a way for students to voice their opinions on important issue before the final decisions are made. It is supported by the chair of the Academic Senate and the administration.
Everyday our faculty makes important decisions about our academic career with limited student input. Historically the student voice has been provided to the Academic Senate committees by the one to two student appointed by ASUCD. Consequently the one or two students serving on a committee are limited in the scope of experience and perspective they can provide because of their marginal status on the committee. In addition, many of these seats often go unfilled or become vacant at the start of a new quarter as the appointed student's schedule changes. The faculty wish to hear from students, but there currently is no easily way to easily access student voice.
By joining the newly created student sounding board you are ensuring the Academic Senate access to a reliable and more representative student body that can better represent student perspectives and concerns regarding academic matters.
Applications are being accepted now. Deadline is Friday, May 4th, 2007.
To apply, write to studentsoundingboard at gmail dot com with the following: name, year, major, and why you want to join the Student Sounding Board.
All undergraduate students are welcome. Science and engineering majors are especially encouraged to apply, since they're underrepresented in the Academic Senate. The whole point of the Student Sounding Board is to gather a wider range of opinions from the student body. Join! Join!
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Why re-create the wheel? There are plenty of bodies on campus that represent students. ASUCD, GSA, IFC, Pan-Hellenic, CCC, SRRC, LGBTRC, SAC, Dorm Leadership Councils..... if the Academic Senate wanted to get input they should contact those groups. Creating another group is not going to help. Existing student leaders will not join it. Thus, you will get a group of students disconnected from the major student organizations. If they want a range of student views, recruit students from the above bodies. Also, ASUCD Senators come from extremely diverse backgrounds...politically, culturally, economically, sexually....maybe seeking the input of students that have been elected by students to represent students would be a better alternative. The problem is that every committee is limited in the amount of students that can sit on them. The Academic Senate should exapnd student positions and give ex-officio status to various student leadership positions. I see this as not a sounding board, but a way for the Academic Senate to by-pass the opinions of student-elected officials. In the blurb you even describe their positions on the committees as marginal...well, why not make them non-marginal? If you don't like the rules of the game, don't create a new game.....try to improve the rules.-JimSchwab
2007-04-24: I just joined, so I can't speak on behalf of the whole board. My personal impression is that the SSB is supposed to be more of a catch-all group. They are definitely looking for people involved in the above organizations (I copied the blurb from an e-mail to the CCC list-serve, for example), but they'll also welcome students who aren’t. The topics discussed are those that will affect students whether or not they’re involved in the major student organizations (e.g. GE requirements, changes to student fees).
I agree with you about the many other sources of student input. One of the reasons I applied was because I wasn't seeing the senate take advantage of them. I'm in a couple academic, recreational, serious and non-serious groups... I've never been asked my opinion on ASUCD legislation in any of them. If I ever hear anything, it's just, "ASUCD is going to do this... go to the meeting at this time and tell them not to do it!" I'm a shy person and that's pretty intimidating. :-(
By the way, what do you mean about by-passing the opinions of student-elected officials? The SSB wouldn't be voting on anything. It would just gather input and pass it on to whatever ASUCD committee needed it. —NumiaCairaguas
To answer you question: the SSB and ASUCD have no connection, thus for the Administration to not go to the students who were elected to represent students (ASUCD Senators) and instead create their own body to generate ideas is, to me, by-passing. I agree that not all majors are represented in the Senate, but it is at least a healthy starting point for getting student ideas. While some people in ASUCD may have an "agenda", most are thoughtful people who genuinely want to improve student lives and think of ways to that end. ASUCD has taken controversial opinions over the years and I see this board as a way for the Administration to undermine those opinions. -JimSchwab
2007-04-24: I think the reason they’re going forward with this idea is because the current system for student representation in the Academic Senate through ASUCD doesn’t seem to work very well. There have been numerous attempts over the past few years to fix this, but nothing really came out of it. Having an undergraduate student sounding board would create a forum for discussion that is currently lacking in this area. Like most committees, I assume that any recommendations coming out from this group shall be advisory, in this case, to the Academic Senate.
As far as recruiting is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that the committee should ideally reflect the diversity of the campus. The problem with recruiting elected officials, or even those who are heavily involved in ASUCD, is that they often share similar backgrounds in terms of major, college, etc. and they usually have their own personal agendas, which may result in a conflict of interest. That said, I believe existing student leaders provide valuable feedback due to their experience and should be allowed to participate in the committee’s discussions as students, if not as ex-officios.
I suspect that describing current student representatives’ position on the Academic Senate committees as “marginal” simply means that there really isn’t a lot of discussion going on right now. I understand that some students often feel intimidated when they are sitting in a room full of faculty, or administrators and thus may feel less inclined to bring up some of their concerns.. DavidAmbrose