On Thursday, 14th of August, Computer Science for ANUSA 2015 held its policy consultation event. They were the only ticket thus far to run a public event to canvas ideas from students for better university governance.
The Computer Science ticket consist of one College of Engineering and Computer Science Representative candidates – Jen Taylor – and three General Representatives.
Computer science students are known throughout the university as being more engaged in student politics than students of other sciences and mathematics thanks to their tightly knit community. In 2013, they were the only other ticket to run against Bounce on CRC for the only contested position of CECS Representative – which was won by Robert ‘Probie’ Offner and Alan Babaei.
According to Jen Taylor, Computer Science for ANUSA 2015 “will give a perspective that is not generally represented by an ANUSA that is traditionally dominated by Arts and Law students”. They will run on four major CECS policies and four major general policies.
Their four major CECS polices that emerged from the event are as follows:
1.Greater and more ongoing student consultation; this objective is pertinent considering the restructuring of the computer science and engineering degrees, which will be rolled in 2015 with first year courses.
2.Address the underrepresentation of women in computer science and engineering; as one of the few female undergraduate tutors in computer science, Jen Taylor wants to implement more networking and pathway initiatives for women in the discipline. by connecting first year students with later year and postgraduate students.
3.Better college administration; Computer Science for ANUSA would like to see the implementation of one streamlined system at the college level through which students can also collaborate on and submit assignments and code. Students currently have to deal with four different interfaces.
4.Improve the quality of computer science tutor training; due to the nature of the discipline, the computer science department hires many undergraduate tutors and do not need lab demonstrators to be at the PhD level. If voted in, Computer Science for ANUSA will work to implement standard tutor training and induction to assure greater consistency in teaching, marking and assessment.
Computer Science for ANUSA will campaign on four general policies. Firstly, they will revamp the Grants and Affiliations Committee (GAC) to become an organisation that trains and promotes clubs and societies, instead of being an after-the-fact reimbursement mechanism. Secondly, it will split the Social Officer’s portfolio into two – one Officer for major events such as O-Week and Bushweek, and one Officer for clubs and society events. Thirdly, they will promote the recognition Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) produced by ANU and other universities to make them count as courses towards students’ degrees. Finally, they will address the endemic outages and downtimes in ANU’s IT system as students with a strong background and understanding of computer science.