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USG reflects upon accomplishments at last meeting of semester

Sage Schaff

Issue date: 12/3/10 Section: News
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USG president Minh-Tri Nguyen, vice president of student life Divya Aggarwal, and vice president of finance Colic Downer listen attentively at the last general assembly of the semester.
USG president Minh-Tri Nguyen, vice president of student life Divya Aggarwal, and vice president of finance Colic Downer listen attentively at the last general assembly of the semester.
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The last two Case Western Reserve University Undergraduate Student Government (USG) general assembly meetings of the semester brought forth last-minute legislation and reflection on this fall's accomplishments. On Tuesday, Nov. 23, USG passed two bills to recognize student organizations for the spring semester and provide them with funding.

The General Assembly also passed a resolution to expand the assessment of teaching assistants (TAs) in course evaluations. Currently there is only one question on the course evaluation form relating to TAs. This resolution, presented by the academic affairs committee, stated that "detailed evaluation of teaching assistants is necessary for improvement of the course and the experience of the undergraduates in the course." If approved by administrators, it would require the form to contain more questions about a course's TA, possibly including a text box that would allow students to elaborate.

During open forum, USG president Minh-Tri Nguyen asked the assembly to discuss some of the major university issues they have noticed while serving as representatives. One was the growing difficulty of retention, which results from a number of factors. Given CWRU's private school status, the biggest obstacle may be tuition and its yearly increase. Another concern was the level of faculty motivation. Representatives have become aware of students complaining that some professors are not enthusiastic enough about teaching. The most agreed upon cause of this is that many may be devoting more time to their research obligations than teaching undergraduate classes. The meeting concluded with James Hale being elected to fill an open School of Engineering representative position.

Tuesday, Nov. 30 marked the final general assembly meeting of the fall semester. It began with an address by provost William Baeslack, who spoke about CWRU's Strategic Plan, enacted in 2008. "One of our main goals is to break down the 'silos' that separate the different schools within the university," he said. The administration is pushing for more collaboration between the university's various academic divisions. He highlighted recent and continuing internationalization efforts, including CWRU's increased emphasis on making study abroad opportunities available to as many students as possible. Advising is also now an official responsibility in the Faculty Handbook. Baeslack believes that all faculty, not just a student's adviser(s), should be available for guidance and assume a mentoring role for their students.
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