Sunday, March 27, 2011

So you want to be a caucus executive: What is there to do?

Hi grads

We need people to take on executive positions in the biology graduate caucus for 2011-2012.  This email will describe what the positions are, how you can get involved, and why you should get involved.

These are jobs that have one to two year terms that put you in a position of responsibility in our student government.  2010-2011 was a great year for the caucus - we hosted many events, the events were very relevant, and we acted on a wide range of advocacy issues particularly with regards to scholarships.  Let's build a team that can make the 2011-2012 year even better.

There are descriptions available for each position in the caucus constitution (ttp:// but I wanted to give a "plain English" version to make it less technical.  For all positions, the executive currently holding the position can help you get up and running when the positions start on May 1.  

For most positions, it's okay if you are going to be in the field for part of the year.  If you have specific questions about this feel free to email me.

Advantages to taking on a caucus position:

- Great for your CV, particularly when applying to NSERC
- Learn a lot about the inner workings of the biology department and how decisions get made about things like scholarships
- Meet other grad students who you wouldn't otherwise meet
- Gain experience managing some aspect of a functioning student society (such as large project management, minute-taking, meeting procedures, etc.)  I can honestly say that I've picked up transferrable skills working with this group.

You can nominate people (or yourself) until Tuesday April 12.  Send me all nominations.

Campaigning (for contested positions) will happen from April 13 to April 19

The election itself will take place Wednesday April 20.  Only people present at the meeting can vote.

One-year positions (May 1 2011 to April 30 2012)

1. Chair

- General leadership role in the caucus
- Organize and call meetings (and associated responsibilities like forming the agenda and such)
- Chairs the meetings, keeping them on topic and on time
- Doesn't get to vote on motions, but if it's a tie you get to cast a tie-breaker
- High-level organization of the caucus (e.g. forming long-term plans, ensuring people are responsible for tasks within the group)
- Represents the caucus to the greater campus community.  If the caucus were ever to receive a large novelty cheque, this would be the person that poses for the picture.
- Runs the elections

2. Associate chair

- Same responsibilities as chair, but the buck doesn't stop with you, so it may be slightly less intimidating
- Also doesn't get to vote, except if there's a tie

3. Secretary

- Take minutes at meetings
- Ensure that meetings are sent to the Graduate Student Society after each caucus meeting

4. Treasurer

- Handle caucus finances
- Responsible for keeping track of our caucus accounts and

5. Webmaster

- Maintain the caucus website and keep it up to date

6.  Member at Large

-  Attends caucus meetings and is available to help with miscillaneous tasks

7.  Events Committee Officer (up to 3)

- Each officer will probably organize and run no more than one event
- We didn't have one of these this year, and it was a shame.  This year's grad caucus ran many events, but the organizers of the events were not event committee officers.  This means that they had all the responsibility of organizing events but didn't get to put on their CV that they held an executive position. 

8.  Faculty Mole

- Attends faculty meetings and reports to the caucus about what happened

9.  Graduate Student Society council representative

- This is a special position where you go to GSS meetings and represent the biology caucus (sort of like an MP in the Canadian Parliament)
- In this position you get to vote on GSS issues that affect all graduate students
- There is a stipend for attending GSS meetings as the GSS rep.

10.  Alternate GSS council representative

- Very low time commitment - you only go to GSS council meetings if the main council rep is unable to attend.

11.  Teaching Support Staff Union Steward

- Represents biology grad students to the TSSU, attends TSSU meetings.

12.  International student representative

- Represents the international student community at caucus meetings.

Two-year positions (May 1 2011 to April 30 2013)

1.  Departmental Scholarship Committee representative

- Serves as the students' link to the DSC
- Evaluates scholarship applications of fellow students
- Acts as the primary source of information for biology grad students regarding how the DSC functions.

2.  Departmental Graduate Studies Committee representative

- Attends DGSC meetings
- Serves as a liason between grad students and the DGSC, updates the caucus on the DGSC goings-on

Hope to see the nominations rolling in soon!

Brett Favaro, caucus chair