By: Maeb Shaban

I am not the most knowledgeable student when it comes to strikes. What I do know is that the effects of the current college faculty strike have affected me and many other students greatly. This needs to be addressed as it is impeding on our education.

Being in a college and university-based program has its perks, but when it comes to this strike, we students are definitely getting the short end of the stick.

The majority of classes in the nursing program function through the Mohawk College, but now with it being on strike most McMaster/college students are left with maybe one course to attend. The strike has been going for more than four weeks now. That means four weeks of missed class and labs for students in McMaster’s nursing, Bachelor of Technology, medical and radiation sciences and specific social science classes.

Not only did we pay an immense amount of money for a schedule of courses we now cannot attend, we may be forced to be in the classroom for a longer period of time due to the delay. Our winter break may even be cut short as a result. For students who have booked tickets to go home and be with their families for the holidays, getting a refund and breaking the news to your families must be difficult to do, but the alternate just puts you at a greater delay.

Seeing as instructors and the labour board are unaware of how they are going to make up this month of missed class time, students are left waiting to hear about how their future will be affected.

As of now, Mohawk-McMaster students are unaware of how their schedules are going to play out. There are so many students who are living off campus, paying rent and full tuition for what has become only one class. Can you imagine a student paying $600 a month in rent, then $4,000 for a full semester and only be learning one of those five courses? Mo-Mac students are not only losing money but also being forced to add time to their undergraduate careers.

Seeing as instructors and the labour board are unaware of how they are going to make up this month of missed class time, students are left waiting to hear about how their future will be affected.

It’s fair to say that we’re more stressed out about all this time wasted out of the classroom than we would be if we were in the classroom.

After watching a video on how the bargaining between the union and the labour board was going, I became infuriated. It was clear how stubborn the labour board was being and how they were not willing to settle easily. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem had our future have been considered and accounted for in the process.

From my understanding (and what the Ontario college bargaining team stated) Ontario Public Service Employee Union was given everything they wanted: increasing pay, greater rights for contract faculty, better job security for contract faculty and academic freedom guarantees. So why not return to the classroom and get back to what they are being paid to do to begin with?

As educators, instructors are setting a poor example for students who look up to them for a brighter future. Students are not asking for much. We are merely asking that we get what we are paying for, and since what we are paying for is our education, I don’t think we are asking for much.

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Bushra Habib

The Silhouette

In Dec. 2013, President Patrick Deane’s “Forward with Integrity” initiative approved funding for 28 out of 54 proposals in the first call for projects, which were designed to improve the academic experience of McMaster students.

Half of the accepted projects were from faculties and areas centered on inquiry into the biological, physical and medical sciences, such as projects in the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Health Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences and the School of Nursing.

With a total of nine approved projects, whether independent or in collaboration with other faculties, students from the Faculty of Science have their educational interests well represented.

Lisa Barty, the manager of the Science and Career Cooperative Education Office, requested funding to support the salary of a new experiential learning coordinator. “We received $5,000 from the FWI fund, that was generously matched by the Dean of Science. This funding will provide about 20 per cent of the required funds for our project,” said Barty.

The new position will manage current course offerings, such as Science and Life Science 3EP3, 3EX6 and 3RP3, while also facilitating the development of new opportunities. The Faculty’s investment in experiential learning opportunities exemplifies an ongoing commitment to enrich the academic journey of Science students.

“Based on the growing enrollment in these courses, I would say that students are finding applied placements a great way to apply their academic knowledge in the community. They are also a very useful tool in their career planning.”

Amidst continuing global economic turbulence, opportunities to develop career-related skills in a way that helps gain credit towards graduation are incredibly valuable. Not all students may be interested in cooperative education positions, and therefore experiential programs may be a more relevant choice. Barty emphasized that, “Experiential education allows our students not only to explore career options, but to reflect upon their own strengths and goals.”

One concern that students may have is that there may be scarcer co-op opportunities in the face of increasing enrollment. However, the Faculty aims to address these needs as well. “The Faculty of Science is planning to expand our cooperative education programs to meet the growing student demand for work integrated learning,” explained Barty.

“We are also exploring a formalized internship program and looking to build a framework to grow our applied science placements. Our students value the opportunity to gain professional networks, find mentors, and determine if further education is required to meet their career goals.”

Proposals for projects based on collaborative efforts and research pursuits between different areas of study are being accepted in the second round, which closes at the extended deadline of noon on Feb. 28.

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