Strategic Action Plan (2016-7)

Importance of Strategic Action

The importance of going through the strategic action plan (SAP) process is to produce an actual plan for change. Strategic planning is a systematic process through which an organization agrees on- and builds on commitment among key stakeholders to set priorities that are essential to its mission and are responsive to the environment. Within this context, the Graduate Professional Council (GPC) is creating an “institutional concerns strategic action plan” which means that we are addressing matters critical to building a more effective organization.

First, the GPC clarified the mission and addressed the needs of the graduate student body. Second, the team sets goals to improve on previously identified issues and/or organizational questions that need addressed. After goals were set, the planning team set intentions on acting on each goal called specific aims. The next step in the process is to write and communicate the plan. GPC wrote this 2016-2017 Strategic Action Plan as an Executive Board. The GPC will communicated the plan with the representatives of our team.  Also, the GPC presented the plan with ProGradS.  Finally, the last step is to implement the plan. Implementation is outlined in this report as a suggested way to successfully administer each specific aim as approved by the GPC.

 

The Graduate Professional Council’s Strategic Action Plan Executive Summary

The Strategic Action Plan outlines the operational improvement of the GPC to address graduate student issues and concerns addressed during the academic year 2015-2016. The need stated in this report ranges from an identified lack of central information to more systematic issues of governance, measured by in-person interviews. This report presents different graduate student views, ideas, and hopes for the future of the GPC.

GPC has the ability to advocate for graduate students regarding  housing, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and utilization of research facilities, writing centers, and libraries available. With the support of the GPC and Liberman Graduate Center, there is an immense amount of opportunities, access to resources, and academic advice. Given the current climate in which each of the eight WashU graduate schools provides it’s own resources, the GPC can serve as a uniting organization and provide a central calendar of events.

This year, we have identified shortcomings with all of these services and opportunities that, as an Executive Board, is outlined in this report in the form of: 1) 3 new mission statements, 2) Committee goals and specific aims, 3) stakeholder interviews, 4) implementation strategies, and 5) recommendations/limitations.

 

About GPC

The Graduate Professional Council (GPC) was founded in 1993, when a group of student leaders identified the need for both academic and social interaction between graduate and professional students of all disciplines. With the assistance and support of the Washington University administration, these student leaders and their successors have consistently brought together graduate student voices throughout the WU community.

From the time of its inception, the GPC has been influential in placing graduate student representatives on university-wide committees, supporting the Board of Trustees’ decision to appoint two graduate and professional student representatives to the Board annually, and facilitating interdisciplinary study and research among Washington University students.

New this year, the GPC has also introduced an interdisciplinary conference travel award grant of $500, created a Presidential Debate Committee, and approved a new graduate student group.

GPC provides a network of communication through which student leaders share information about school activities, and supports representative student governments. GPC also plans social opportunities for the graduate and professional community, initiates discussions of graduate and professional student issues through panel discussions and presentations, and brings important issues to the attention of the university’s administration. GPC meetings and committees are open to all graduate and professional students of Washington University.

 

GPC Mission

The Graduate Professional Council (GPC), a member of the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS).

We:

  1. Represent and advocate the mutual interests of the graduate and professional students
  2. Advise the faculty and administration on important academic and quality-of-life issues
  3. Encourage interschool and interdisciplinary cooperation within the university
  4. Organize campus-wide social events open to all graduate and professional students
  5. Support graduate and professional student organizations
  6. Appoint graduate students to serve on university-wide committees
  7. Work closely with the ProGradS committee

 

About the GPC Executive Board

President-Ally Melvin, Master in Social Work specialized in financial empowerment for victims of violence and low income families.

Treasurer-Marc Hendel, Law Student.

VP of Marketing and Communications-Sarah Harford, Master in Fine Arts specialized in textiles and sculpture installation.

VP of Academic and Professional Development-Rene Morency, Law Student.

VP of Community Service-Haley Dolosic, PhD Student in Education Department –Applied linguistics strand, second language reading and self-assessment focus.

VP of Social Programming- Jacqueline Hayes, PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology with research interests in obesity and eating disorders.

 

Strategic Action Plan

The Graduate Professional Council Outlines the following new changes to the GPC to address graduate student concerns and hopes for the academic year 2016-2017. First, after listening the student body, it was clear that three things needed to be present in all of the decision making processes: 1) increase graduate student visibility at WashU and in the greater St. Louis community  2) improve student engagement with all of the eight schools and greater St. Louis community, and 3) enhance professional and academic development. These three new mission statements enhance our overarching mission statement and, and encompass newly identified needs of our students. These three needs were expressed from graduate students throughout the year.  The GPC was provided with statements like “I have no idea what happens in the Professional Schools outside of a GPC monthly report”. “I wish to meet people outside of my discipline for multiple reasons: to meet new friends, join other groups, support research, and learn new skills”. “We need more academic and professional development opportunities to show off our skills”, and “I wish to network with community members, alumni, and employers.”  As aforementioned, GPC serves as a platform for providing these resources and opportunities for graduate students. The issue lies within governance and visibility of such resources and information. Thus, the following actions reduce these issues.

 

Governance:

The GPC primarily functions as a student government council with an active Executive Board and university wide representation. The current GPC Executive Board structure is: President, Treasurer, VP of Marketing and Communications, VP of Academic and Professional Development, VP of Community Service, and VP of Social Programming. In addition, we have 2 representatives from each different school: Arts and Sciences, Sam Fox School Master of  Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, George Warren Brown School of Social Work and Public Health, Olin Business School,  Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science, Washington University Law School, and Washington University School of Medicine.  The GPC is proposing a new structure that illuminates the ability to have more of university presence and important role of our members. The following adoption is proposed: President, Treasurer, VP of Marketing and Communications, VP of Academic, VP of Community Service, and VP of Social Programming, individual school reps, and the following 16 new Graduate Student Liaison positions below. Please see Figure 1 for the new GPC Organizational Chart.

  1. Health and Wellness Liaison
  2. Violence Prevention Center Liaison
  3. Gephardt Institute Liaison
  4. Libraries Liaison
  5. Housing/Transportation Liaison
  6. Skandalaris Center Liaison
  7. Policy Liaison
  8. Sustainability Liaison
  9. Public Affairs Liaison
  10. Student Affairs Liaison
  11. Alumni Liaison
  12. Diversity Inclusion Liaison
  13. Social Media Liaison
  14. Recruitment Liaison
  15. Student Group Liaison
  16. Strategic Action Plan Liaison

 

Each of these 16 new Graduate Student Liaison positions will be open to the general body members and GPC representatives at the beginning of each year. This new addition has been proposed so  individual school GPC representatives and general body members can be in continuous contact about available resources and opportunities. The new Graduate Student Liaisons all represent graduate student resources that should be marketed through the GPC. Having an assigned liaison can also benefit the stakeholders as well. Stakeholders include members of the WashU community who provide resources to graduate students. Stakeholders are referred to as Administrative Group Leaders.  For example, the new liaison positions are aligned with graduate student resources and an Administrative Group Leader who represents, as a point of contact, each resource. Other stakeholders include the individual school’s governing council since this plan directly impacts their students and expands their opportunities within the GPC.   The functionality of each liaison is similar but not limited to the following list of criteria:

  1. Be the point person for the resource they represent
  2. Provide monthly update report
  3. Provide information that can be added to social media platforms, the website, weekly newsletter, and individual school’s virtual media forms to increased awareness of campus activities, events, trainings, conferences, speakers, symposiums, and other student oriented opportunities for visibility, engagement, and professional development.

To understand how each new  Graduate Student Liaison  position is selected, the interaction during meetings, and specific implementation recommendations, please see the Implementation Section of this report. Each new liaison would sit under one of the 4 committees in this particular proposed structure below.  Please see Figure 1 for the new GPC Organizational Chart.

Academic and Professional Development:

  1. Libraries Liaison
  2. Student Group Liaison
  3. Alumni Liaison
  4. Strategic Action Plan Liaison
  5. Violence Prevention Center Liaison
  6. Policy Liaison

Community Service:

  1. Gephardt Institute Liaison
  2. Recruitment Liaison

Marketing and Communications:

  1. Social Media Liaison
  2. Public Affairs Liaison

Social Programming:

  1. Skandalaris Center Liaison
  2. Student Affairs Liaison
  3. Health and Wellness Liaison
  4. Diversity Inclusion Liaison
  5. Housing and Transportation Liaison
  6. Sustainability Liaison

Visibility

The GPC has outlined specific aims to increase graduate student visibility within WashU and greater St. Louis community.  Part of the visibility initiative is to increase awareness of interdisciplinary opportunities. First, the GPC implemented a new monthly spotlight that accepts student nominations for individual students and graduate student groups that are doing particularly amazing things within the scope of each month’s different theme. Examples of different themes are: community service, diversity and inclusion, interdisciplinary research, etc. Another part of increasing the visibility is to use the Smartsheet created by Campus Collaborators. This Smartsheet is an internal document used to allow graduate student groups and resources to be in constant communication about planning events for a calendar and other organization managing tools. Also, a universal calendar of events for graduate student groups to be communicating is more than necessary. After speaking with the Graduate Student Group Liaison, Ashley Macrander, this initiative is already in place. The GPC additional plan to represent and include the 3 new mission statements has been identified in the Committee Goals with Specific Aims section of this report. Next, the team needed to receive feedback from the stakeholders who would be gaining a Graduate Student Liaison position within GPC.

 

Stakeholder Interviews

Individual Schools Governing Council Meetings

Arts & Sciences

While the Graduate Student Senate Executive Board was not able to meet to discuss the SAP formally, the general sentiment among members of the executive as it was developed was positive. Due to our long-standing working relationship, we plan to continue having close ties with the GSS as this plan is implemented.

Brown

The Brown School Student Coordinating Council responded well to the SAP and were particularly supportive of the newly introduced Graduate Student Liaisons. A few concerns were expressed and have been addressed. One concern was that there might be a student liaison position that nobody wants. That concern has been addressed by opening applications up to the entire graduate student body as opposed to just the GPC individual school representatives. If none of the general body members either want the open position, the team can see how that tilted position can be combined with an existing one. Or, the team can just leave it open until the next academic year.

Business

The Graduate Student Business Association responded with positive sentiments toward the SAP. They were excited about both individual development of those selected to be a part of GPC and the possibilities for future collaboration that this might afford. The only concern was that such a message would be lost as the executive team left and another replaced them in the upcoming year; however, contact has already been made with the newly elected Executive Board.

Med

The Medical School Government responded positively to the SAP. They believed Graduate Student Liaisons provided great routes to success for those in the positions and the greater graduate-professional student body. No concerns were expressed, and they look forward to being a part of the initiative.

 

Graduate Student Resource Meetings

Student Health Services – Melissa Ruwitch

The GPC President, Ally Melvin, met with Melissa Ruwitch to discuss having a Health and Wellness Liaison. Mrs. Ruwitch expressed great interest in this idea. The main responsibilities of this Liaison would be around putting promotional materials on all media platforms and recruiting volunteers and participants in Wellness challenges, awareness events, and education around their services. Mrs. Ruwitch suggested having student liaisons match each individual school’s students interest. In response, it is clear that certain positions will solicit students from certain schools (i.e. Brown School and Violence Prevention Center Liaison). However, we have decided to not restrict students to certain titles within the GPC since GPC supports interdisciplinary learning and encourages working with students outside of their discipline.

Violence Prevention Center- Green Dot Program – Austin Sweeney

Mr. Sweeney expressed his interest in having a direct point person within the GPC to help increase graduate student involvement in particular. Not only would Green Dot trainings and programs, like the university-wide campaign, be part of the liaison’s role, but also providing information on the Center’s upcoming events through-out all media platforms. An Liaison would be responsible for building a relationship between the Center and graduate students on campus. As much as the Violence Prevention Center desires help increasing student involvement, the organization  also wants to fill the needs of the grad students they serve. This liaison would be responsible for identifying needs in this area and reporting back to the Center.

Public Affairs- Michael Spear

Public Affairs expressed great interest in having a direct contact person within the GPC. This liaison would have access to their new materials and support team for making GPC’s advertisements look more consistent with Wash-U’s brand. This new mesh of GPC and Wash-U adds a sense of professionalism to the team. Right now, student made flyers and banners can be improved through adding Public Affairs tools to make them more professional at a low cost. This would also benefit GPC to have several made templates that can be passed down. This would have to be implemented in the budget and approved. Also, this point person would have the opportunity to approve the new look and logo’s and sit on communications committees to provide graduate student ideas and input into the conversations.

Gephardt Institute- Stephanie Kurtzman

The Gephardt Institute stated a high interest in having a Graduate Student Liaison. This liaison would be responsible for building a relationship between the Gephardt Institute point person and GPC directly. The Gephardt Institute would prosper from having an extra media platform and to increase awareness of their services. This liaison’s report should be primarily about addressing calendar events and promoting involvement opportunities for all graduate student who wish to increase or enhance their civic engagement. The Gephardt Institute sees this opportunity as a way to learn from the student body and their needs as well. It is also a space for building in creativity for the university and St. Louis community involvement.

Skandalaris Center- Jessica Stanko

The Skandalaris Center provides unique opportunities for graduate students who wish to learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation. This opportunity allows a liaison to spread awareness about trainings, guest speakers, competitions, and trainings offered throughout the academic year. Increasing the graduate student involvement would be a task the Skandalaris Center point person and the liaison would discuss during the initial meeting.

Student Affairs- James Parker

Student Affairs has a number of initiatives that need the help of the entire graduate student body. Having a liaison would be extremely helpful in implementing these initiatives smoothly and with the voice of the graduate student body behind them. Student Affairs have expressed a high interest in having a liaison. The liaison would need to be willing to learn about their initiatives and brainstorm creative ways of implementing and drawing in student engagement, drawing out action plans, presenting ideas to other groups, and advertising on media platforms.

Sustainability – Jen Carter

Jen Carter has recently worked with GPC, and other graduate student groups, to increase awareness of their resources on campus. Ms. Carter has expressed her interest in continuing a relationship with the GPC in the future. She will serve as the Graduate Administrative Leader for Sustainability on campus. Sustainability and GPC will work together to increase sustainability efforts, get graduate students involved in projects, and spread awareness about suitability throughout the entire campus.

Committee Goals with Specific Aims


Academic & Professional Development Committee

GRADUATE PROFESSIONAL COUNCIL

Strategic Action Plan
By Rene Morency, VP of Academic & Professional Development, GPC

The Academic and Professional Development Committee of the Graduate Professional Council (“APDC”) works to create and foster programming that aids in the development of graduate and professional students as scholars and future career professionals.  The Academic and Professional Development Committee seeks to advocate on behalf of Washington University graduate and professional students within our campus community and beyond in order to create environments that support learning and inclusion.

In the past year, APDC has done a good job of providing events aligned with this mission and hopes to extend its efforts in coming semesters.

I. Discover

Our university has expressed a renewed commitment to its graduate and professional (“GP”) community.  This aligns perfectly with our committee’s desire to see the GP student body served with levels of energy and resources more akin to those for which our undergraduate experience has become well known.  In order for the GPC to better serve the academic and professional development of our students, we must understand their diverse needs and how well they are currently met.

Many great resources exist that are not universally known by GP students.  They include the Teaching Center, the Writing Center, WUMCHA, the Athletic Complex, University Libraries, and more.  We want to evaluate the quality, sources, and methods of information that GP students receive.  Some needed resources have already been identified.  They include spaces and services that better support scholar parents, as well as a culture of inclusion, for example.  Our role in APDC is to discover and advocate for whatever resources and programs will enhance and facilitate the development of GP students into superb professors, researchers, professionals, employers, employees, entrepreneurs, and artists.

Therefore, we will undertake a major needs assessment that will include, but not be limited to, properly conducted surveys.  I have already begun to engage with the newly expanded Division of Student Affairs to hopefully jointly develop this project.

II. Engage

We must engage a critical mass of students.  This is both to conduct our needs assessment and to encourage GP to see GPC and the greater university as their partner in academic and professional development.  GP programs, cultures, needs, and interests vary.  As we engage, we can better serve.

III. Refine

Based on our findings, we will refine the approach of our APDC.  We’ll continue what is effective at adding value to the GP student experience.  We’ll replace whatever doesn’t.

III. Program

These refinements will inform our programming, going forward.  “Programming” will include not just events, but also initiatives and GP advocacy at our WU campuses.  In the interim, we will still program familiar events and initiatives, but we can and should expect them to evolve, as we discover how we should best refine what we do, and engage our fellow GP students, in furtherance of our mission.

The spring semester’s APDC programs include the Graduate Research Symposium (2/23), Entrepreneurship-for-Anyone (March), diversity events, and leadership tools.  We are currently or will soon collaborate with partner student groups and others for most of our APDC programs.

 


Community Service and Engagement

GRADUATE PROFESSIONAL COUNCIL

Strategic Action Plan
By Haley Dolosic VP of Community Service, GPC

The Community Service Committee of the Graduate Professional Council will focus on meaningful, creative, and sustained opportunities of community service, providing a variety of opportunities and connections to volunteer organizations in order to increase the number of students engaging in such work.

This will be done through directing our mission in three specific ways.

I. Reaching out to the WASHU and St. Louis communities in many meaningful and creative ways.

Based on the needs of the WASHU and greater St. Louis communities and endeavors by a variety of groups to volunteer to meet these needs, we will create a database of existing events, groups, and efforts in the city and create a “check-in” system so that we can be aware of where and with whom students choose to volunteer. Through the existing organizations and interests of students involved we will create “teams” which will develop certain types of volunteer activities to do together. In addition, we will continue create and provide a variety of opportunities for students to experience different volunteer activities that may suit them. There will be a different focus for each major event per month. This will provide a set of creative yet meaningful ways of reaching out to our community.

II. Creating opportunities which attract a greater number of hands to work.

First, we will work to expand the avenues through which we are advertising community service events in an attempt to reach greater numbers of students. In addition, as we increase the number of events, these events will be based on previous student feedback on surveys of volunteer opportunities that they want. This survey will be developed and administered in order to provide opportunities that will be well received by the various students served by the GPC. Using these results we will then create a single day where multiple community service events are occurring and WASHU graduate and professional students can give back to WASHU and the greater St. Louis community. Students would pick one of the many opportunities and we would come together as a community to give back. Together this variety of responsive volunteer opportunities should promote greater involvement in such activities.

III. Creating sustained efforts in community involvement.

First we ourselves will make a sustained commitment through a weekly event toward a single goal of donating or being involved in a greater initiative. For example, this could be multiple events to create blankets for the homeless throughout the month of October. Such events could be created and offer multiple times when students could be engaged in the event, perhaps as part of a team.  Next, we will build relationships with groups and organizations in need of volunteers and volunteer work. These relationships will be maintained through smooth transitions and communication of contact information from year to year. Finally, we would also like to help students become civically engaged through registering to vote if they have not done so previously. Together these steps will build relationships and create a more sustained and expected involvement in the community for graduate and professional students.

 


Marketing and Communications

GRADUATE PROFESSIONAL COUNCIL

Strategic Action Plan
By Sarah Harford, VP of Marketing and Communications, GPC

The Marketing and Communications Committee of the Graduate Professional Council will focus on effective and proficient marketing strategies to further reach all corners throughout all graduate schools of Washington University.

Marketing and Communications recognizes that promotion is composed primarily of:

15% Paper flyers/ Postcards

40% Weekly Newsletters/ GPC Website Calendar

35% Social Media

10% Word of Mouth

I. Paper Flyers/ Postcards

These ephemeral means of promotion will be considered as a physical approach towards students in the campus environment. Committee members will adhere to flyer hanging rules and regulations, appropriate WashU logo requirements in the design process, and frequent refreshment of flyers distributed throughout the University. Promotional material for future events and meetings will additionally be present at events preceding them.

Also, a handbook will be created for future VPs of Marketing and Communications to reference for a smoother transition between former and current officers. This guide will include locations for flyer hanging, University guidelines for using the WashU logo, website managing manual, and contacts for LCD screen digital promotion for all schools.

II. Weekly Newsletters

Concise yet effective newsletters will cover main events happening across all graduate schools that include all graduate students. In addition, the weekly newsletters will engage more student interaction by incorporating a themed group/ individual highlight each month. Students will nominate whom they believe the GPC should feature in its upcoming newsletters as well as an invitation to the General Body Meetings as a guest speaker each month.  Newsletters will be sent out every Monday before noon. Additionally, there will be newsletter sign-up sheets provided at each event.

III. Engagement in Social Media

Marketing and Communications sees social media as a fast and effective tool for promoting material. Digital flyers will be posted at pinnacle times of social media activity. Photos will engage students with the page and will attract attendees to future events.  A unique hashtag will be created to promote events as well as for members to effectively share to their followers and newsfeeds.


Social Programming Committee

GRADUATE PROFESSIONAL COUNCIL

Strategic Action Plan
By Jackie Hayes, VP of Social Programming, GPC

The Social Programming Committee of the Graduate Professional Council works to increase camaraderie and networking to facilitate interdisciplinary connections and foster a supportive social environment that will enhance the graduate student experience and create a common identity for all students.

I. Creation of a Common Washington University Graduate Student Identity

Washington University is a prestigious school with eight graduate schools that cater to approximately 6,000 total graduate students. While each school each has their own insular body to promote student engagement, a common Washington University graduate student identity is lacking. The social programming committee seeks to hold events that facilitate interaction among students and leads to greater student identification with the school as a whole.

Each social event held will feature strategies to encourage intermingling and networking among students from different schools, leading to interdisciplinary discussions and diverse social experiences. Some examples of these strategies include nametags, cross-school “scavenger” hunts, and events at different campus locations.

II. Increase Engagement in School Events and Discussions

Historically, the Social Programming Committee has the greatest turn-out of events put forth by the GPC, some approximating up to 500 students. Given high attendance at these events, they are ideal for students to learn about school-wide events that will inform their academic, professional, and social development. The Social Programming Committee will use each event to advertise for the myriad of events that are available to students, but are potentially not well-known. To do this, Social Programming Committee members will reach out to student groups prior to events with advertising opportunities, invite student groups to recruit at events, and will provide students with access to lists of upcoming experiences made available to them by Washington University.

 

III. Exposure to Greater St. Louis Community

The Social Programming Committee will work to design and implement events that provide graduate students exposure to the greater St. Louis community. These will enable graduate students to better integrate into the surrounding areas, as most are not from the St. Louis area. Additionally, it will enable community members to interact with our students, leading to increased visibility and the formation of positive opinions of the graduate students at Washington University and the school as a whole. Events in the past have included attendance at Cardinals and Blues games, social events at local restaurants and parks, and activities at local businesses (e.g. ice skating).

Implementation of GPC Graduate Student Liaisons

Implementation of this SAP needs to be a group effort from the incoming Executive Board and GPC representatives for the academic year 2016-2017. To help the process transition smoothly, the team outlined a few guidelines to support each Graduate Student Liaison and action plan.

First, to implement the new GPC Graduate Student Liaison positions, it is recommended that during the first month of GPC general body meetings, a first-come/first-serve process will take place to filling these positions. Each position should be outlined on the website with information about responsibilities and time commitments. Each applicant for a liaison position should meet with the Administrative Group Leader to determine roles and responsibilities of advocating for such position (i.e., submitted events to monthly reports, recruiting volunteers, posting flyers, speaking at events, etc.). Contact information for each Administrative Group Leader will be provided.

Second, committees should meet with their members, during the second general body meeting,  to introduce the new liaisons and describe their role within each committee. This leaves one month from the time the positions are open during the first general body meeting to when the new person should be introduced during the second general body meeting. The introduction of the liaison is to open conversations about planning events and actions around their specific graduate student resource based on content and information between the liaison and Administrative Group Leader.  Once each liaison has been identified he or she will begin assuming responsibilities.

Each GPC Graduate Student Liaison will be responsible for staying in contact with the Administrative Group Leader, bringing information to committees, and reporting out during meetings. Because the meetings are not long enough to add in an additional 16 reports, these should be written reports (no more than 3 pages) submitted to the Executive Board by 5pm the Sunday before each monthly general body meeting. The Executive Board will have an individual collect and manage these reports and place them on the website to ensure ease of graduate student access.  Any urgent news will be present in the Newsletter and social media platforms. Other urgent information may be introduced during the agenda item “announcements” of the General Body meetings and within conversation during committee breakouts. The report should outline events coming up and important information regarding the accessibility of such campus resources.

Finally, The President is responsible for reading though the monthly reports and summarizing the data during the general body meetings and at ProGradS meetings to keep everyone informed.  Other action plans, such as monthly spotlights, will be determined by the incoming Executive Board. For example, this year, the GPC Executive Board accepted nominations, collected the nominations on a shared google doc, voted on them via email, and congratulated winners in the Newsletter and at the meetings. This is the process that we recommend.

Other processes, outside of Graduate Student Liaison work, would be that the Marketing Committee manage the website, calendar of events, monthly spotlights, and social media platforms to maintain consistency of information lingo, logos, and shared access. Right now, there is a soft deadline for Newsletter information Sunday by 5pm. This works to hold GPC representatives and will hold Graduate Student Liaisons accountable for adding in information to be seen by the entire graduate student body.  The new Campus Collaborator Smartsheet aforementioned should be a tool used by the entire Executive Board when planning events and is to be made easily accessible for all members. The President will introduce access to this Smartsheet to the Executive Board members. Finally, to implement a greater graduate student engagement piece, we have implemented a “bring a buddy” system that just illuminates how GPC welcomes all graduate students for every meeting to join our amazing team!

In addition to these newly introduced initiatives, the GPC Executive Board has also identified ways to enhance current practices. One way to hold the GPC representatives accountable for gathering internal school data and present it to the GPC is to have them send in a school announcement “blurb” before each meeting. This year, the team found that it gives representatives a deadline for completing this task and to really be knowledgeable in what their schools are doing. This helps our Marketing team add events to media platforms and the website calendar.

GPC approval

The approval process for the current Strategic Action Plan was simple. First, the Executive Board approved language and rules. Then, the action plan was sent to the reps for approval and recommendations. Finally, during the May 2016 meeting, the Action Plan was approved! The SAP language will be added to the constitution during the summer months in 2016. This constitution amendment will be approved by the executive board and representatives, given that quorum is present, before the 2016 fall semester starts. This vote may take place via email to ensure more of the reps who have been working on the SAP have a chance to approve the language reflected in the constitution.

Recommendations and Limitations

The GPC recommends that the new Executive Board and representatives implement the SAP for the academic year 2016-2017.

Recommendations:

  1. Electronic manuals from each committee have been made to pass down information to make transitioning and implementation so much easier. It is recommended that the new Executive Board amends the manuals each year to reflect new initiatives.
  2. Each Executive Board member should work with Smartsheet.
  3. Each Executive Board member should work with the new graduate student group calendar.
  4. Each Executive Board member should work on GPC website’s universal calendar so that it always reflects an accurate list of events.
  5. The GPC should maintain themed monthly spotlights of both individual and graduate student groups.
  6. The GPC should continue the “bring a buddy” within GPC
  7. The GPC should keep school “blurbs” as a representative responsibility before each general body meeting.
  8. The GPC should keep inviting speakers to GPC meetings
  9. The GPC should mandate updated reports from the Graduate Student Liaisons each month.
  10. The GPC Executive Board should set firm deadlines for Newsletter information.
  11. The GPC should send out  basic reminders and “how to’s” for common questions such as:
    1. Opt-in and out of the newsletter
    2. Add an event to the GPC calendar
    3. General information on how the listserv works
    4. Input monthly reports from Graduate Student Liaisons

11.  The GPC should maintain an annual budget evaluation to make sure that GPC is spending money on events and opportunities that are directly supporting all graduate students and the mission.

12.  The GPC should continue selecting students, ones who are GPC representative, GPC Graduate Student Liaisons, or are just general body members, to serve on university wide committees. For example, the GPC places students to serve on the University Judicial Board each year.

a.       Having graduate student representation in all of these areas is extremely important as we recommend being really flexible with filling those positions. The hope is that student who are not reps and who are not in tilted positions would then want to serve on a university committee. However, we are not limiting those students who wish to do more from also serving on university committees.

13.  The GPC should conduct a mid-semester and end-of-semester evaluation during each academic year.

Limitations:

  1. There is high GPC representative turnover rate. To clarify, the GPC representatives from each school are replaced annually with new people. Thus, the Executive Board will continue to update the SAP and handbooks given to each person so that information is not lost in transition.
    1. In response, GPC opened up the Graduate Student Liaison positions  to all general body members. This way, the same people may fulfill that position next year if they chose to.
    2. The Executive Board want the Graduate Student Liaison position to be one that students opt into, not one that is forced upon them.  By implementing Graduate Student Liaison positions, the hope is that students will become more excited and involved in the GPC and broader WashU community.
  2. The Strategic Action Plan is a large demand expected to be implemented in a short period of time. The SAP will be more of time commitment for students participating in the GPC.
    1. The GPC understands that it is a lot to ask of a new GPC team to take on the responsibility of electing 16 Graduate Student Liaisons. This will take a lot of work. This work could be broken down into smaller, more easily implementable parts: sending out liaison definitions and duties, identifying positions, then providing the new position holders with their Administrative Group Leader information and where to upload reports (with an example report to see), and to host an information session.
  3. Another limitation is that the GPC Executive Board was not able to include summaries from each different individual schools governing councils meetings (Architecture, Art, Engineering, and Law). This does not mean that the meetings did not happen. Instead, the Executive Board was not able to compile meeting notes from these particular schools. Also, there are two graduate student resources included in this plan that the Executive Board was not able to identify an Administrative Group Leader (Housing and Libraries). However, these limitations should be addressed in the fall.

Conclusion

In sum, the GPC is looking for an easy way to implement three new mission statements that directly impact and address graduate student issues: 1) increase graduate student visibility within the WashU and greater St. Louis community, 2) improve student engagement in all eight schools and greater St. Louis community, and 3) enhance professional and academic development. With the help of our new Executive Board members, GPC representatives and , Graduate Student Liaisons, general body members, and Administrative Group Leaders,  and the Graduate Liberman Center, GPC can achieve improvement through governance and visibility.