Sunday, January 29, 2006

In case you haven't noticed, I've stopped posting at the Commander In Chief. I will, however, be posting at Auckland At Large, The Has Beens Bench, and The Thorndon Bubble.

Cheers for visiting.

Friday, December 23, 2005

All Over, Red Rover

That's it. It's all over. Nick has my office, email address, cell phone, and dignity.

I haven't been this relaxed in ages and ages. I don't have a cell phone or an email address that I feel obliged to check regularly. I don't start at Statistics until Jan 9, and enjoying the Auckland sunshine/wind/rain/snow (within about ten minutes) until then. I have three books to read, and that's it.

VUWSA is behind me - I'm glad I did it, but shit, if I wasn't a ginger I'd be gray now...

I'm at home and life is bloody good.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The End is Neigh...

Tomorrow is my last day at VUWSA, so I've spent this afternoon cleaning out my office for Nick.

There's so much stuff here I thought I'd lost, like clothes (esp my beloved Swannie), and the Sim card from my old cell phone (which has sat on top of my computer for almost a year).

Tomorrow's going to be pretty busy - I'm going to breakfast at Epic with the VUWSA staff, cleaning up the office, cleaning up my email account (which will be closed shortly), cleaning up my home drive...

Will be having a few quiets at the Hotel Bristol if anyone is keen?

Short meeting at Statistics on Tuesday morning, then flying north for 3 weeks holiday.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Student Politics Sans Greenbrook

Xavier has written a great piece (thanks largely to sleep deprivation) on his to-do list for 2006, one item of which is
To not be involved in Student Politics in any way, shape or form.
I have known Xavier for some time now, both through student politics and Young Labour. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him as an intelligent, passionate, talented politician. I know he will succeed in whatever he takes on. I think I first met him during the AUSA compulsory Membership campaign, and have run into each other ever since.

He states that he will not be running for AUSA President in 2007 - I can sort of understand why too. AUSA President is a completely different kettle of fish than almost every other President. For a start, they are not (ex officio) a member of University Council - one of the biggest parts of my job. They also have significant commercial responsibilities, which most other associations (with the exception of UCSA) don't - cafes, bars etc. But, perhaps most importantly, thanks to the wonders of voluntary student membership, they have to waste significant effort (not to mention money and resources) to recruit members. While all the other Presidents are working on Orientation, and getting to know their members, the AUSA President and Executive are pissing around signing members up.

This is not to say that Xavier wouldn't be a good AUSA President - he would a fantastic AUSA President, and - dare I say it - NZUSA Co-President.

He raises an interesting point, something I realized about halfway through last year, and has been re-enforced this year - AUSA (and other associations) are bigger than their current leaders. AUSA demonstrates this best of all: each year there is a gasp as another relative unknown is elected President, several people preach that the end is nigh, - and things turn out all right. Despite all the talk of Muppets, or fuckwits, I know that VUWSA will be just fine next year, and for many years to come. It has great staff, and a history as old as the University.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

VUW Blackboard Review

Website surveys for students and academic staff are now available on Blackboard - Log on in the usual way and the survey information and link will appear immediately below the welcome message. All students logging on to Blackboard for any reason will get a message encouraging them to complete the survey. The survey will be available until Friday 9 December.

VUWSA is currently involved in a review of the evaluations which each student fills in at the end of each semester. I'm a little annoyed about the timing of this survey. Its crucial that you put this around your networks and get students to respond ASAP - it is a very quick survey!

I have concerns about the current student evaluations, the timing of evaluations, the structure of surveys and questions, the use of information, does anything change? The graded results are sent to HOS’s and Lecturers and your written results are only viewed by the lecturer.There are issues with the effectiveness of this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Letter to the Listener

This was published in this week's Listener.


Dear Sir,

I find it quite fitting that the same edition of the Listener which features Professor Stuart McCutcheon ( University of Auckland Vice Chancellor) as number 34 on the "Power List" also, on page 39, features a full page advertisement for Victoria University.

When Professor McCutcheon was appointed Victoria University Vice Chancellor, he was viewed as the "Knight in Shinning Armour", and, to his credit, he did turn the University's finances and enrolment figures around. However, one regrettable legacy of McCutcheon's reign at Victoria was escalating advertising expenditure, which in his last year increased by over $200,000 (about 25%). This was despite the fact that staff were pleading for a well deserved pay rise, the university facilities are under-resourced and dilapidated, and students faced a fee increase of 4.5%. This trend has been continued by Professor Pat Walsh, McCutcheon's successor.

As an academic institution, it's mildly ironic that Victoria University has failed to acknowledge the mountain of academic literature which states that such advertising is not having its desired outcomes. It's all very well for McCutcheon to secure an extra $57million, but it's worthless if it is wasted on advertising. For the sake of the sector, I hope that the new Minister for Tertiary Education puts an end to these ludicrous spending habits.

In the mean time, I can sleep easy in the knowledge that McCutcheon, who "alienated staff by opposing union pay demands" is piped at the post on the "Power List" by Andrew Little, General Secretary of New Zealand's largest trade union (and 1987 Victoria University Students' Association President).

It makes you think.

Jeremy Greenbrook

Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (inc)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Lions Club of Karori

Last Wednesday, I accepted an invitation to address the fortnightly meeting of the Lions Club of Karori. The Lions are interested in setting up a club on campus, and wanted to sound me out.

I initially feared the meeting, pandering to my stereotype of a Lions Club member as retired businessmen - the sort of people who don't necessarily share the same political view point as myself - but I was pleasantly surprised. It was an enjoyable evening, accompanied by a good meal.

I spoke for about ten minutes on what VUWSA does, and what it is like to be a student in the 21st Century, and fielded two questions; one on the stress levels of students, and another on management salaries.

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