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The Academics Commission is dedicated to furthering the academic experience of Arts and Science students.


The Academics Commissioner aims to expand several facets of the Commission. The Commissioner hopes to establish consistency in excellence within the journals of the Commission by pursuing regular events and issue releases each semester. The Bounce Back partnership with ASUS will be expanded upon to encourage accessible tutoring for students at need. Online learning strategy videos in collaboration with Peer Learning Assistants will also be pursued. Department Student Councils will now be given equity and anti-oppression training to promote a more comfortable and

equitable working environment within their councils. The Queen’s Canadian Leadership Conference looks to expand to 200 people, as well as having events off campus. For the Commissioner specifically, they will look to expand their role as an academic advocate for students by being more involved with faculty relations and assisting the Executive with the Personal Interest Credit. Overall, the Commission looks to build on its diversity of resources and further the academic experience of Arts and Science Students.




APT/PLA Video Collaboration • Coordinate with PLA Director and

Marketing Commissioner

• Organize talks for the videos with


• Record videos

New APT Help Desk Location • Market APT and Desk on Queen’s

Learning Commons Website and ASUS Webpage

Better DSC attendance at Faculty Board. • Working to consolidate Faculty

Board Agendas

• Making meetings more discussion

based and engaging 200 Delegates at QCLC • Decrease ticket prices

• Increase bursaries

• More captivating events

Publish two QSURJ issues • Expand to include biology • Meet and Greet event • Push for faculty support

Increase Commissioner’s role as an academic advocate

• Assist with the PIC

• Increased role with faculty and


• Appeal Fee Project



ASUS Peer Tutoring is an undergraduate student service. Tutors are Arts and Science students who have received an A- or higher in their courses. Tutees sign up online and then get matched to a tutor of their desired subject.

APT has continued to be a widely used resource, with over a thousand combined tutors and tutees. With numbers continuing to grow, some problems were becoming evident. For one, the online matching system was flawed in that it assigned the first tutor in the queue with tutees as they came, instead of rotating tutors so every tutor would get at least one tutoring session. This has been remedied by meeting with the designers of the APT website and implementing a new system whereby once the tutor is assigned a tutee, their availability is turned off then turned back on automatically. This takes them to the back of the queue. In doing so, the tutoring line rotates thoroughly, giving all tutors equal opportunity.

Another issue was that with increasing enrollment, the server was garnering too many accounts from previous years. To combat this, the Academics Commissioner and APT designers implemented a new add-on to the website whereby all accounts at the end of the year will be deactivated. This will hinder new deputies, directors, and

commissioners from being able to go through old confidential documents. However, if someone wishes to continue being a tutor, all they must do is log in. This will reactivate their account with all their information and courses, and they can add any new courses as well. This add-on has been put in effect this summer and has worked well thus far and is anticipated to continue in years to come.

On the topic of the website, the Academics Commission attempted to do tutoring videos last year that would be on the website, but this failed as there were questions on paying tutors and the logistics of it all. This year, the Academics Commissioner has met with the director of PLA and a collaboration in the works. The premise is that ASUS records PLAs giving their learning strategies, which would then be uploaded on the ASUS website. This fulfills needs for both services, as APT gets free help, and PLA gets publicity and video equipment.

Another issue with APT is the help desk, which has been ill used in the previous year, and there have been instances where tutors have not come for their assigned times. The previous system was that all tutors were expected to do two hours of volunteering


once a month, where any one can come and ask questions. The proposed new system is cut the volunteer desk program and to initiate a collaboration with Queen’s Learning Commons for a designated space for APT. Room 121 well be made available to tutors and will be marketed, along with APT as a whole, at the Stauffer Front Desk and on the Queen’s Learning Commons Website.

Summer APT will be changed to begin in March, so as to transition the new

Commissioner fully as well as the new directors. This will ensure the service is up and running in April, not June as this year had.

To finish off APT, the partnership with Bounce Back remained fruitful throughout last year, and the Commissioner met with its director this summer, and the goal is to offer discounted tutoring for the entire year for all Bounce Back students, instead of just one free session. This is to increase accessibility of the service, and APT has a grant for $5,000 from ResSoc dedicated to Bounce Back so the money should and will be used.


Politicus is an undergraduate research journal which provides an academic outlet for students to submit their work on international and political affairs.

Politicus looks to have another strong go. Going into its third issue, the Journal has enjoyed success in the previous year, releasing an issue in both semesters as well as having an inaugural gala at the end of last year. This year, the hopes are to increase collaboration with RMC, an already strong bond between the two schools. Politicus hopes to increase submissions from RMC students, as right now the collaboration only includes faculty members on the review board. They hope to do this by having two students from RMC act as student liaisons that will reach out in classes, update professors, and spread issues when published.

They also aim to improve their physical publication quality, as the print of the previous year was not seen as professional. Print companies are being explored for the best compromise between quality and value. They hope to continue their gala, as well as reach out to students in programs other than politics to diversify their content. This will be done through more student interns doing class talks, heavily publicizing during orientation week (via buttons, sidewalk sale, and Queen’s in the Park), as well as the first year intern.



The Queen’s Science Undergraduate Research Journal is an undergraduate research journal that allows for students to publish their life science and biology related research.

QSURJ also looks to build off their strong ending to last year. They released an issue at the end of the winter semester, their first since becoming a publication two years ago. Their struggles have been mainly due to lack submissions as well as weak planning and forward-thinking. This coming year, the Academics Commission and Executive are committed to furthering the journal. QSURJ’s new editor-in-chief has been working closely with the Commissioner, who was previously the managing editor of QSURJ last year, to bring together a plan for the coming year that will fulfill the mandate of the Executive’s platform. QSURJ aims to have a presence throughout Orientation Week via Sidewalk Sale and Queen’s in the Park.

It also plans on having the first ever wine and cheese event in first semester, aimed at bringing professors together with students for potential research projects. This should not only encourage student research but submissions as well, since QSURJ is the catalyst in these projects.

Another change that should garner submissions and reach is expanding QSURJ to include biology as well. The editor-in-chief and two managing editors will oversee both the standard and biology sides of QSURJ, and use this year to as a model year to see how best to expand to further sciences in the future. Printing will be done with Vista Print for issues this year (of which there is one planned for each semester for a total of two – depending on submissions).

Undergraduate Review

Undergraduate Review is the oldest publication on campus. It is a platform for all things art.

UR had another stellar year. Demand for the publication last year was massive. UR also now accepts a variety of art that it did not previously, such as music and videos, that are uploaded to the website. Artsfest, a celebration of art on campus, was very

successful, especially since it is a new event. This year UR hopes to accept donations at the door to generate revenue, as well as order more copies of the issue so as to not incur the same problems of not meeting demand last year.


The publication also plans on rebranding the logo to make it look more modern. The new logo will be decided upon in the form of a contest whereby people can put in entries (not sure yet about this – leaving it in for now).

Economics and Computer Science Journals

The Academics Commission is exploring the possibility of adding two new journals. The first, is one centered around economics. This idea has arisen after it was brought up that the Department of Economics already does a submission process for 4th year papers, and they have expressed interest in formalizing it. The second journal

would be a collaboration with Computing Student’s Association for a computer science journal. Again, there has been expressed interest on both sides and the President, Vice President, and Academics Commissioner of ASUS are meeting with corresponding associates to have these publications up and running by the end of first semester.

Queen’s Canadian Leadership Conference

The Queen’s Canadian Leadership Conference is ASUS’ only conference, held annually in either late February or late March.

As ASUS’ only conference, it is of great value to the Society. Last year the conference almost sold out and was seen as largely as a success, but could have used some improvements. The workshop speaker was seen as unengaging and the first night venue was highly unpopular. Similarly, ticket pricing was too high and as such a large profit was made.

This year marks its tenth. During Orientation Week, QCLC will be at Sidewalk Sale and Queen’s in the Park handing out QCLC bags, as well as putting QCLC buttons in each Arts and Science first-year bag. QCLC will also be held in March for the first time, thus not being in midterm season. Afterwards, the plan is to end the night social at the Mansion on the first night, and instead do a Wine and Cheese. This is intended for delegates to mingle, as well as work on networking skills, as speakers will be invited. Next, the second day will be held at a hotel downtown. There will be bus shuttle running on that morning to bring students from campus to the location. By having half the conference both on and off campus, it allows for increased enrollment, as well as a more exciting delegate experience. All this will be done while decreasing ticket prices to 60 dollars, and increasing bursaries. This will be made possible via the increased capacity of delegates, from 150 to 200, as well as budgeting for zero as per ASUS’ mandate, instead of the profit QCLC made last year.


W. J. Barnes Award

W. J. Barnes, the teaching award given out by ASUS, is not undergoing major changes. Emily Graham purchased five plaques last year, so there are still four left to be used for the coming four years. The selection committee will be comprised of the same positions as last year – the only intended change is to involve the DSC reps more via having them go to classes for the selection process or stimulating class talks in their respective disciplines. Projects being considered are to get all the names of previous winners of the award onto the ASUS website, which should be fairly easy to do, as well as investigate the possibility of having a mural put up in the Red Room with all the winners starting from this year on. This is dependent on funding and if there will be enough room with the crest project being done through the Services Commission.

Department Student Councils

The Department Student Councils have all been hired, save for the religious studies DSC. The Presidents resigned this summer, and two new co-presidents must be hired in September. Applications will be opened in the fall to all religious studies students and a pair will be hired by the Academics Commissioner and their deputies.

One overarching goal for this year includes keeping a tight budget and trying to maintain all net profits to zero. Another is to give equity and hiring training to all Presidents in September, and the 2016-2017 Presidents in March. Also, the first DSC Assembly will be used to introduce a variety of topics that will be important for the year, such as the treasurer, budgeting, running a committee, and relations with ASUS. The treasurer will be a significant contact to DSC presidents and will be introduced and his role explained. In the second Assembly meeting, Cormac Evans (Director of

Strategic Initiatives) and the Deans shall be invited to come speak about what is in the works in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s so as to familiarize them with the Universities projects. This should also show them the importance of their roles as advocates for their department. This will play into their attendance at Faculty Board, which was an issue in the previous year. All the specifics are being worked out within the new DSC Constitution, written by Emily Graham last year. This is being handled by the Academics Commissioner, the Executive, the HRO, and Internal Affairs

Commissioner and it should be finalized and put in place before the first DSC Assembly. All these changes will be made very clear in the first DSC Assembly and throughout the year.


The last major change with regards to DSCs is that the Internal Affairs Commissioner will oversee DSC elections, as this falls more so under their purview. The Academics Commissioner will still work in conjunction with them.

Academic Advocacy

Lastly, the Academics Commissioner will seek to have a larger advocacy role this year. This summer, the Commissioner has already met with several Associate Deans and other members of the Faculty. The Commissioner has also spoken with the Executive and will be involved in forwarding the Personal Interest Credit, and along with the Equity Commissioner will work on the Appeal Fee Policy of the Arts and Science Faculty. The goal behind this is to better represent the students under ASUS. As a primary academic advocate along with the Executive, it is imperative the Commissioner is up-to-date with the issues that face the University and students within Arts and

Science to better serve them.


1. New Economics Journal 2. New COMPSCI Journal




• Diversity of Commission: The roles and committees that are within the

purview of the Academics portfolio are its most valuable asset. From a leadership conference to a tutoring service to department student councils, there are countless opportunities for student engagement and involvement.

• Queen’s Canadian Leadership Conference: QCLC had another great year,

bringing in several engaging speakers, nearly selling out, and making a profit.

• Politicus: Politicus released two more issues, and held an inaugural gala that

was very well run.

• Undergraduate Review: UR continues to excel, increasing their variety of

submissions, and putting out an issue that was completely distributed in a mere few days.

• ASUS Peer Tutoring: APT continues to grow, with over a thousand combined

tutors and tutees currently. After some online fixes to the programming, matching should also be improved, and should allow continued expansion of the service.


• Queen’s Science Undergraduate Research Journal: Lack of submissions has

been a major reason for QSURJ’s slow start. The networking Wine and Cheese event, a larger presence during Orientation Week, and spreading to Biology should address this issue.

• ASUS Peer Tutoring Desk: The APT Desk has been ill used in the past few

years, and will be cut this year.

• Department Student Councils: Many DSCs are worried with the transition to

internal banking, and as thus getting the new presidents acquainted with it at the start of the year will take some time. The first DSC Assembly will be an information session with introductions and explanations as well as a question period.



• QSURJ and Politicus: After becoming established in the last two years, both

of these journals look to continue to grow and publish at least an issue each this coming academic year. Also, backing from the ASUS executive for QSURJ bodes well for the journal.

• PLA / APT Partnership: A partnership is in the works between PLA and APT

to record PLAs with ASUS video equipment and then to hopefully upload it to either the ASUS or APT webpage. These will be instructional videos about learning strategies about popular courses. This will not only increase the traffic for APT, but spread a valuable resource in PLA to students.

• QCLC: This is QCLC’s 10th year anniversary. There are some major plans in

the works. The chairs not only hope to decrease ticket prices, but to include off- and on-campus events while also increasing available tickets. Buttons in frosh bags and distribution of cups during Orientation Week, as well as increased bursaries and decreased ticket prices, a new networking event and new off-campus speeches will help the buzz of the conference.


• APT Desk: As mentioned previously, this year a new system will be used for

the APT help desk, and if it does not work then the APT Desk will undergo review with the potential of being cut.

• DSCs: With this being the first year of all (almost) internal banking, the

Academics Commissioner and Vice President need to ease this transition and set up a solid relationship with the DSC presidents so that future years do not run into problems.



Organize this by month, include a 1 sentence description of each event


• Hire Second APT Director – Only

one hired in Winter 2015, need two

• APT / PLA Video Collaboration –

Online video series made by APT and PLA

• First DSC Assembly – Ensure DSC

Presidents understand roles, ASUS, and budgeting

• Equity/Anti-oppression Training –

For Chairs and DSC Presidents


• QSURJ Networking Event – Wine

& Cheese aimed at bring students and professors together

• DSC Assembly with Deans – Some

faculty will be attending to speak about what the faculty is working on

• W. J. Barnes Advertising – Release

nomination link and Facebook market


• W. J. Barnes – Round out top 10


• Departmental Feedback Sessions

– Week long event aimed at receiving feedback from students on their department

• QSURJ – Issue release • Politicus – Issue release

• APT Group Sessions – Exam study



• APT Group Sessions – Exam study



• DSC Elections – Prepare with



• DSC Elections – Campaigning and


• W. J. Barnes Advertising – Release

nomination link and Facebook market

• Majors Night – Ensure there is a

representative from each DSC

• QCLC – Go to meetings and

ensure committee has everything they need


• DSC formals – monitor budgets of


• Transitionary DSC Assembly –

DSC Assembly with new and old Presidents and Commissioners

• Departmental Feedback Sessions

– Week long event aimed at receiving feedback from students on their department

• QCLC – Conference will be held • W. J. Barnes – Finalize winner • Artsfest – Arts festival run by UR at

the Underground

• Politicus Launch Gala – Second

annual gala, used to launch winter semester issue

• QSURJ – Issue release • Politicus – Issue release

• Summer APT – Begin with new

Academics Commissioner

• Equity/Anti-oppression Training –

For DSC Presidents

• Transition – Transition new

Academics Commissioner


• W. J. Barnes – Hand out award at



As ASUS continues to grow and enhance the student experience, the Academics

Commission hopes to supply students with a diversity of resources that will help further student academics. It is with great pleasure that I take on the role of Academics

Commissioner, and am excited to be working with the Executive, Commissioners, ASUS Assembly, and all other parties to help bring about the ideal experience for students here at Queen’s.

Duc Mentem Ad Libertatem.

Respectfully submitted, Karim Hafazalla




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