Here are the nominations for the 2019-2021 Vice-President Research Assistant. This position will be elected on Wednesday October 16th at 6:00pm in Richardson Lab 104.
Name: Hannah Hunter
Department: Geography & Planning
My name is Hannah Hunter and I am an international PhD student in the department of Geography and Planning, where I am an RA and TA.
As a new member of the Queen’s community, I am acutely aware of the issues that new RAs face in terms of barriers to understanding regarding our contracts, roles and rights. It is absolutely unheard of to enter employment without proper, clear information and training, and this should be no different for RAs. This is particularly true of the misclassification between Research Assistant and Research Assistant Fellows, as well as confusions between these differing roles. More generally, incoming grads receive muddled information regarding where the burdens of health and safety lie, and what the intellectual property ownership of their RA findings are. I believe that it’s imperative that each department be mandated to formally explain the expected roles and rights of research assistants and fellows to all incoming grad students with the goal of transparency and jargon-busting. Even further, there is a need for an RA equivalent to the TA training day offered during orientation week so that incoming RAs can learn what kind of issues may arise and how to solve these. I will lobby for these critical sessions, alongside delivering a co-ordinated PSAC 901 member education campaign that democratises the RA-based information in the new Collective Agreement in lay, digestible terms. As an international student and someone with learning disabilities, I believe that RA issues such as those faced by incoming grads and those of negotiating grievances are particularly astute for such groups, and would commit to using this position to ensure much-needed accommodated support for any such individual needs.
Though I am new to PSAC 901, I have significant experience in similar institutions that will directly feed into the VP Research Assistant Role. Most notably, I sat on the federal executive of a political youth organisation as a Membership Development Officer, which ensured the proper support, training and mobilisation of an organisation of around 10,000 members. I also worked as a Skills Coordinator for a student’s union, which involved planning and delivering creative workshops and programmes for students to further their educational and professional development.