University president names committee members

The strategic priorities advisory committee will get to work this fall to decide TRU’s future

Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω

TRUSU Aboriginal representative Liz Whiting is one of 11 students selected for the strategic priorities advisory committee. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

TRUSU Aboriginal representative Liz Whiting is one of 11 students selected for the strategic priorities advisory committee. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

From more than 130 nominees, 35 people have been selected to sit on the strategic priorities advisory committee. TRU president Alan Shaver announced the members on Sept. 24 in a letter addressed to the TRU community.

Forming the committee was the first step in developing TRU’s strategic priorities for the next five years. The goal is for the priorities to reflect and anticipate the needs of the university.

Students and faculty members hold the majority on the committee, while alumni and the surrounding community are also represented.

“We have asked each member of the committee to see herself or himself not as a representative or advocate for particular program, faculty or concept but instead as an advocate for Thompson Rivers University as a whole,” the letter said.

Earlier in September, TRU president Alan Shaver said he expected many of the nominees would be members of the student forum.

TRUSU president Dylan Robinson said it was important for students to participate in the university’s decisions regarding top priorities. Robinson has since been selected for the committee.

Along with Robinson, TRUSU Aboriginal representative Liz Whiting was also selected. Whiting has a history in student governance and has sat on committees such as the comprehensive university enhancement fund committee and the budget committee of senate, both of which she has reapplied for.

“This is going to be a very important committee to sit on,” she said. “You can see it many times that it’s the big heads of the university that are making the decisions, and these big plans need to have a student’s voice as well since we are the ones who are paying for it.”

While she’s happy to see representatives of the student union on the committee, she said she will bring an individual voice and not necessarily one of a student union representative. Whiting identifies as an Aboriginal student as well as someone with a disability, and said she will bring those perspectives into place when considering priorities for the next few years.

In addition to the 11 voices that will be representing students, at least one of the 11 faculty members will also be putting student needs into consideration.

Committee member Nancy Bepple works in the career education department and said she wants to ensure the academic plan considers what the students do after university in their careers.

“Universities don’t just give skills, they help build somebody’s network out into the wider world,” she said.

Connecting students to the work force and experiential learning will be among Bepple’s considerations when contemplating the university’s five-year plan.

The committee will meet throughout the fall semester and start looking at the operational perspective of the priorities in January 2014.