Presidential breakdown: Corey Helie-Masters

William Lou
January 22, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

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From the perspective of past experience, Corey Helie-Masters is certainly qualified for the position of MSU President.

His experience includes being a past SRA member, a continued involvement with the Kinesiology faculty society culminating in his current position as President, as well as coordinating the Kinesiology games conference, which operates at a budget of $200,000 and attracted 1,000 individuals last year.

He’s a safe bet to know a little about what he’s getting into, at the very least.

But his platform also contains what is perhaps the riskiest objective out of all of the candidates: a plan to overhaul the structure of course timetables at McMaster, which he calls “Your 20 Minutes.” The idea is to transform the current schedule of 50-minute blocks to 80-minute blocks; therefore, a class that runs three one-hour lectures a week would convert to two hour-and-a-half lectures a week.

“Something that I think encompasses a lot of student issues is time ... [my] biggest platform point focuses on getting more productive time out of the day,” he said.

Q: Opponent you would vote for?

A: Tristan

Q: Opponent platform point you would criticize?

A: John Tambakis- The Marauder Club

“The premise of it sounds good, I would just love to hear a little bit more detail on it, on the plan.”

Q: Most ambitious goal?

A: Your 20 minutes

Among other benefits, Helie-Masters cites the advantage of expanding the “inefficient” hour break that students are often forced to deal with between classes. The change in scheduling also adds a few minutes of class each week, which means the same amount of teaching hours can be accomplished in a fewer number of days.

“That fixes something I have a big issue with, which is next year, where we don’t have a day break between classes and exams,” said Helie-Masters.

Feasibility is immediately the first concern when considering an entire schedule change, however.

Logistically, the plan will have to take into account all nine faculties, and will likely disrupt or even change the way professors teach and structure their courses.  The restructuring would also need to account for the fact that many non-traditional courses do not follow the three lectures per week mold, as well as the potential for reduced engagement for students in a longer lecture format.

But beyond that, his overall platform lacks the coherence and depth that other candidates have in their platforms. The rest of his platform includes a confusing pledge to improve clubs resources, and a number of unspecific commitments to student issues such as food prices, environmentally friendly initiatives, and student housing. Although one of Helie-Masters’ key points is improving the resources and support for clubs and faculty societies, he admitted, “I have not had enough time to talk to everybody I need to talk to.”

Helie-Master’s other main goal involves a Hamilton Welcome Day as part of the Welcome Week experience, where students would explore Hamilton in an event structured similarly to Shine Day. In order to address the issues with student engagement that Shine Day has, Helie-Masters explained his desire to “market it the way you market MacConnector,” as well as having the event occur much earlier during the week.

Although more details on his platform will be rolling out as the campaign continues, Helie-Masters will need to develop more concrete ideas around his goals to demonstrate dedication to the general student body. While he can boast a schedule that includes varsity swimming and managing a faculty society, his credentials can only take him so far.

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