Derek Pieper

Monday, January 1, 2007

Why are you running?

Simply put, I am running because I care about the University of Guelph. After four years of my undergraduate degree, I have learned a great deal about this institution and feel that I am now in a position where I can most effectively work with students, faculty, and administration to achieve the common goals of campus community members. I have a deep respect for the educational experience at the UofG and I know that I can play an important role in contributing to the future growth of the university and its students. With all the advantages and privileges associated with the opportunity of post-secondary education I feel it is appropriate that I work to affect positive change in my capacity as a student leader.

What are your priorities for next year?

A: supporting the academic needs of students. As Academic Commissioner my primary role is to be available to students, to support them, and advocate on their behalf in all areas of academic policy at the university.

B: increasing student participation in the Integrated Planning process at the university. Students should be engaged in this (relatively new) long-term planning process implemented by the Provost’s office if we want to have a say in the future direction of (limited) institutional resources.

C: encouraging the student vote in the upcoming fall provincial (and federal?) election. Students should be participating in these democratic mechanisms in greater numbers if we hope to have our concerns about post-secondary education addressed.

What was your most favourite of classes ever?

A tough question...I really enjoyed ‘History of Greece & Rome’...probably because it was an elective and therefore a nice change of pace from my biological sciences degree program. I really like learning about Roman history…I figure that stems from an unhealthy interest in ‘Asterix & Obelix’ comics as a kid…

If you had a choice out of anyone to be the new Chancellor, who would you chose and why?

I would choose someone like Stephen Lewis or David Suzuki because of their commitment to issues of global significance. As a BSc. student senator and co-chair of Student Senate Caucus, I was able to vote for the new Chancellor at Senate March 6th. I supported the nomination of the former television broadcaster Pamela Wallin. She is an excellent role-model for students at the University of Guelph and is a leader who will attract a lot of positive attention to Guelph because of her work in national and international affairs. Furthermore, I hear that she gets along great with the Hon. ‘Linc’ Alexander, our Chancellor Emeritus, which is important as they will likely work together through this transition.

How do you see your role in connection with the administration? Did you see it more of a collaborative or confrontational relationship?

I would characterise my relationship with the administration as ‘friendly and collegial’. I generally aim to be collaborative in my dealings with the administrative team. However, I do not always agree with certain policy positions and can be assertive in voicing my disagreement. I find that solutions are more easily found when a relationship of trust has been developed. I think the administration and students ultimately want the same thing for the University of Guelph, but we go about achieving it in different ways, occasionally resulting in conflict. I think that effective communication between faculty, staff, admin., and students is important for the university community.

Who is your favourite fictional teacher or professor?

My favourite fictional teacher is.......hmm…come to think of it, I don’t have a favourite fictional teacher or professor. I think I find more inspiration from the real deal – those profs. who value teaching & put extra effort into the classroom experience.

What will your response be if and when tuition rises next fall?

After attending Senate meetings this semester it is very clear to me that tuition will indeed rise next fall, probably by close to 5 per cent on average for undergraduates. Currently, the university is in a very tight budget situation for a number of reasons, some of them internal (deferred maintenance) and some external (decreased provincial funding). My response will be to encourage the CSA to become more active in engaging students in lobbying efforts to the government for increased support of post-secondary education in Ontario. After seeing the numbers I believe that only by going after ‘the bigger picture’ (ie. getting more overall support from government), will students be able to eventually see lower tuition fees at this institution. Students need to vote in the 2007 fall provincial election in order to be noticed!!!

Do you see the CSA's role as one of advocacy, activism or both?

I think the CSA should be involved with both these forms of outreach. I think that the CSA is particularly important because of its ability to engage in advocacy by lobbying for increased government support for quality and accessibility to post-secondary education. Activism is also required on campus and in the Guelph community. Despite the best efforts of many students and staff, barriers to a safe, discrimination free educational environment still exist for many students at the University of Guelph. Activist approaches can form part of a response to the need for increased building accessibility for students with disabilities, eliminating hate crimes from campus, and addressing local hunger, among the many other issues of concern to students at the university.

What’s your favourite non-academic activity at the U of G?

Nordic Skiing. For the past four years I have been a member of the University of Guelph Varsity Nordic Ski Team. When I started on the team in first year I didn’t have much, if any, race experience. I have really enjoyed learning how to become a better skier and competitor. This year, at the 2007 OUA Championships our men’s team took the bronze medal - it was a highlight of my time at Guelph. As with any sports team or club, I’ve made many friendships through skiing which has really added to my overall experience at the university.

*Anything else that you wanted to add? *

There are many fantastic candidates running for election to the CSA executive!
Check out the CSA website to find more election and candidate information or contact me at if you would like to learn more about my campaign for CSA Academic Commissioner. I will be bringing my campaign to the classrooms March 12- March 16, one week before voting begins. My campaign will also be found online on FACEBOOK. I would also recommend that students check out the referendum questions that are being run, I think that there are several important questions being asked this year that will have a big impact on campus in the near future. Thanks for your support, good luck to all candidates!

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