It has been a few weeks since the GSA’s new Board of Directors started their term. The GSA had the chance to catch up with Mohamed Abdelsamie, the GSA’s 2019-20 VP Academic to chat about his journey so far.
How is the past few weeks as the VP Academic of the GSA, Mohamed?
It’s very interesting to learn about GSA and what I can do in this role. There was a lot of work being done for the GSA’s policies and procedures such as Awards TORs and all the committee meetings at the UCalgary level.
What did you find most interesting so far?
There are many UCalgary committee meetings these days, and most of them are wrapping up for the summer and they will start again in September. The most interesting meetings I am attending are of the Graduate Academic Program Subcommittee (GAPS) of the Graduate Faculty Council (GFC). All graduate programs and certificates need to be approved by this subcommittee before finalizing the approval process.
What are your goals for the year?
Aside from the UCalgary meetings, I am trying my best to represent graduate students at the GSA level. I have a few ideas that I want to do to improve our programs.
The most important one is the online awards application platform. I want to create an online application platform to simplify the application process for the applicants and reviews. That platform will ensure all applications are complete before submission, and simplify the application and adjudication processes. It will require some behind the scene work with web development to ensure data security and soundness of the technical processes.
Also, I would like to add more academic workshops for graduate students on campus, for example: how to prepare for candidacy or defense exams. My goal is to have the workshop twice a year this academic year and aim for a total of five academic oriented events by the end of 2022. I also plan to expand the Peer Beyond Symposium into a full-week conference with different research theme each day.
In addition to that, I plan to compile an academic resource handbook for UCalgary graduate students with information and links to all that the GSA offers and to useful academic resources on campus.
The reinstated Academic Standing Committee will be formed during the summer to discuss the feasibility, execution, and possibilities of these ideas. The committee will also be brainstorming ideas for academic events for the following two years to meet the GSA Strategic Plan.
There will be a call for members of the Academic Standing Committee and Awards Committee soon so get involved!
What are your hobbies outside of your academic life?
Hike, photography, and music.
How can students approach you?
Thank you for your time sharing your goals and experience so far in your VP Academic role!