Three candidates in the running for academic staff position on board

Community members will have the opportunity to vote for one of three candidates running for the position of academic staff representative to the Algonquin board of governors between March 10 and March 11. In order to help the community get to know Anna Labelle, Jonathan Parker and Rebecca Wakelin, the candidates running for the position, […]
There are three candidates for academic representative for the Algonquin board of governors.

Community members will have the opportunity to vote for one of three candidates running for the position of academic staff representative to the Algonquin board of governors between March 10 and March 11.

In order to help the community get to know Anna Labelle, Jonathan Parker and Rebecca Wakelin, the candidates running for the position, The Algonquin Times interviewed them in late February.

We asked each person why they are running, what issues are important to them and what distinguishes them in the race to be the faculty’s choice as the academic staff representative.

Anna Labelle, professor in the school of Media and Design.  " I want to help fulfill the college’s mission of becoming a global leader in personalized, digitally connected, experiential learning, so that we can keep transforming hopes and dreams into lifelong success."
Anna Labelle, professor in the school of Media and Design. "I want to help fulfill the college’s mission of becoming a global leader in personalized, digitally connected, experiential learning, so that we can keep transforming hopes and dreams into lifelong success."

Anna Labelle, professor

Anna Labelle is running because she wants to be a part of the decision-making process as the college transitions back to face-to-face learning post-pandemic. She says she is suited for the role.

“My greatest strength and my greatest interest in this is that I have this innovative mindset,” Labelle said in an interview over Zoom. “I’m able to see outside the box to find new solutions to problems that we never faced before.”

Her issues of greatest concern:

· Staying afloat through COVID-19

· Maintaining student enrolment and satisfaction

· Having reasonable expectations for Algonquin employees

· Remaining equitable, accessible and diverse

· Balancing the budget

“While it’s hard to make specific promises due to the rapidly evolving nature of our situation, my goal is to help find the innovative win-win solutions that will allow all members of the college community to get through these difficult times,” Labelle said in an email.

What distinguishes her from the other candidates?

The main point of distinction she brings to the race is that she represents the unique perspective of part-time and partial load teachers, as she is a partial-load employee herself.

Jonathan Parker a professor from the media and communication studies program. "People can strong advocates for their position, and I intend to be a strong advocate of my position, but it&squot;s also important to be diplomatic."
Jonathan Parker a professor from the media and communication studies program. "People can strong advocates for their position, and I intend to be a strong advocate of my position, but it's also important to be diplomatic."

Jonathan Parker, professor

Jonathan Parker is running because he believes that serving on the board will give him the opportunity to serve his community, which is a central motivator in his life.

“The next number of years at the college, it’s my belief, are going to be shaped by the strategy to address the challenges presented by the pandemic,” Parker said in a Zoom interview. “I want to make sure that the board of governors understands as much as possible the faculty perspective and the importance of maintaining the integrity of what we do in the classroom.”

His issues of greatest concern:

· Dealing with operational deficit

· Bringing faculty perspectives to the vague language in the college’s learner driven plan

· Advocating that class sizes do not expand due of financial pressure

· Guarding against program elimination due to financial constraints

· Opposition to college privatization

What distinguishes him from the other candidates?

He believes that his experience serving on committees both in academic and in political settings has familiarized him with the work he would doing on the board if elected.

Rebecca Wakelin chair of the Teaching and Learning Advisory Group." I&squot;m living proof of the transformative nature of higher education."
Rebecca Wakelin chair of the Teaching and Learning Advisory Group." I'm living proof of the transformative nature of higher education."

Rebecca Wakelin, chair of the Teaching and Learning Advisory Group

Rebecca Wakelin is strong believer in transformative nature of post-secondary education. Her work in the Ontario college system has given her the opportunity become a professional even though she came from humble beginnings, she says. She also wants to advocate for teachers.

Wakelin feels that teachers are not always listened to, which can cause college leaders to make decisions that harm teaching.

Her issues of greatest concern:

· Refocus on the classroom post-pandemic

· Focus on faculty by advocating for firm commitments to reduce precarious labour among part-time and partial-load teachers, such as a roadmap for how part-time teachers can transition to full-time

· Focus on teaching by advocating for solid plans to improve teaching, such as a concrete plan focusing on the faculty’s professional development

What distinguishes her from the other candidates?

“I’m unique in that I have experience working for a lot of years over two different colleges,” said Wakelin, who has also worked at at Georgian College. “I think that gives me a long view point of the Ontario college system.”

Wakelin says she is also proud of her her established relationships with faculty and management and her experience with Indigenization efforts.

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