It's all about ACADEMICS!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Written by Derek Pieper

As this is my first www.thecannon.ca Central Student Association Exec. Column I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the role of the Academic Commissioner. Like other CSA executive roles, this commissioner has a variety of duties and responsibilities, however the majority of the Academic Commissioner’s time and energy is spent on student advocacy and representation.


The CSA Academic Commissioner is a strong voice for students’ academic concerns at the University of Guelph. Unfortunately, the academic journey isn’t always as straight forward or as clear as one would like. Students become ill, need to apply for deferred exams, need to request academic consideration for psychological or compassionate grounds, are confused about what their program requirements, need to seek financial assistance, are experiencing discrimination in the classroom, have accessibility issues or other concerns regarding their campus learning environment. The Academic Commissioner can offer assistance in the form of personal advocacy in regards to all matters academic. University rules, regulations, and policies are sometimes difficult to understand and I'm here to help students navigate the system. At any given time during the year (including summer!) the Academic Commissioner is involved in a number of on-going advocacy cases.


Another part of my job is to promote a culture of academic quality on campus and to ensure that students interests are being heard in the academic decision making processes of the university. This part of the CSA Academic Commissioner’s portfolio is largely advanced in the form of student representation on numerous university committees. I work with student college governments, Student Senate Caucus (elected student senators), senior university administration, and other committees and individuals to make sure that students have appropriate input in the various institutional planning and decision making processes. Part of this responsibility includes representing student interests in an accessible and properly funded post-secondary education system that motivates and encourages critical thinking.

In summary, the title says it all. Academic matters bring students to the University of Guelph and the learning experiences acquired at the institution largely define the relationship between students and the university. Education is not something to be taken for granted, while we as students work hard and make sacrifices to earn our degrees and diplomas, we are extremely fortunate to be part of the tiny fraction of the world’s population that has the opportunity to experience post-secondary education. There are so many wonderful opportunities and ways to get involved in research, academic discussion, and educational outreach through programs at the University of Guelph - I hope that over the course of 2007-2008 the Central Student Association can help to provide those experiences which become valuable memoirs for future graduates and alumni in years to come.

Please feel free to contact me at or ex. 56742 if I can be of assistance!

Derek Pieper, CSA Academic Commissioner

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