VP Academic Reports – Spring 2019

Here’s a recap of the reports made this term by myself if you missed them during council. You can view these and more reports on the website here. Email Thomas Dedinsky at vpacademic.a@engsoc.uwaterloo.ca if you have any questions about them.

Work Term Reports Grading. Most departments make students write technical work term reports, however Chemical, Computer, and Electrical engineering plan to have their upcoming students write reflective work term reports in addition to supplemental content, and Management has piloted them. All departments use a numeric grading scheme as opposed to a credit/no-credit scheme. Nanotechnology and Management are the only departments which includes this grade in their average as a 0.13 (¼ of a normal 0.5) credit.

CEE Student Feedback Implementation. Most of the feedback given was considered, with 34/38 of the points from the EngSoc survey being represented in the CEE survey and being actively worked on or considered. They’ve also made progress with WaterlooWorks, PD1, Co-op Student Experience Project, Co-op Student Safety, Student Digital Experience Initiative, and more in the last 8 months. Some of their focus going forward will be in the themes of student advisors, employers, accountability of CECA, and communication.

Class Ranks in Assignment Grading. Most academic reps (80%) had negative reactions to this idea, while only 12.5% were against. Additionally some classes were polled, the ECE 2020, ECE 2021, TRON 2022, MGMT 2022, and SOFT 2020 classes, with mid-high 80s against it for each. There are also some in-depth testimonials from two TRON 2022, a TRON 2019 and an ECE 2021 student. Many felt it is a toxic practice which would discourage classroom collaboration, fostering stress and over-competitiveness and tax their work ethic/mental health. Some saw that competition was a great motivator, encouraging people to go beyond the bare minimum. Alternatives were suggested, such as having a small portion of the top performers receive a bonus mark, so it wasn’t a penalty for everyone but moreso a pat on the back for some. This was also presented to the faculty (at FOPS) using this presentation.

Engineering Society Documentation Maintenance. The lack of up-to-date governance and accessible documentation has been a hinderance to my role, mainly with my ability to advocate and communicate effectively, and the perceived level of importance was not where I felt it should be. Council minutes not being on the website or accessible in rough form made it so inconsistent versions of stances were passed, contradictory motions being used from what was confirmed by the motion submitter and the secretary, confusion regarding advocacy records, and mistrust regarding the legitimacy of our policy. This report makes an effort to convey the drawbacks of inattention to documentation as well as highlight the performance of the documentation this term.