Conference to bring change
By Kevin Gale
Western's powers that be will assemble today to discuss the future direction of the university but this year changes will be carried out.
Organized by the University Students' Council, the fourth-annual Powers of Partnership conference is designed to assemble student representatives, faculty and the administration to address issues concerning Western.
This year will be different from past years, said Scott Sullivan, USC VP-student affairs, who has attended all the conferences so far. "Every year we get a lot of great discussion but nothing ever comes out of it," he said.
Sullivan added the USC will document suggestions this year and make a strong effort to implement them.
Rob Tiffin, Western's deputy registrar, said he attended last year's conference where the image of Western on the Internet was addressed and policies were developed. "A lot of issues sprung up that haven't necessarily come to fruition," Tiffin said.
Madeline Lennon, Western's chair of the department of visual arts, is giving the keynote address and said she wants to examine the hiring requirements for faculty and the teaching needs of students.
"We need a balance. We need specialists but some specialists also have broad interests," she said, adding it is important to get faculty from a variety of regional and cultural communities across Canada.
"It's a great chance to stop in what is the busiest year in recent times and take a look at where we are going," Lennon said. "Students have a definite opinion on their education."
USC VP-communications Jerry Topolski said some of the issues being discussed today include the image of Western and how it affects recruitment. "Orientation Week hurts recruitment efforts," he said. "A lot of parents have a big influence on which university their children go to."
Topolski added the party image of Western's O-week is a damaging factor in students choosing Western.
Tiffin said he hopes to get student input on how to recruit quality students to Western and determine what students want out of their education. "I think they want to attend a quality institution and get a quality education," he said.