Minutes 2010 04 27

2010/04/27 Meeting with Luca Fillipozzi, Andre Ivanov and Robert Schober – KAIS 5505


  • Andre Ivanov, Head
  • Robert Schober, Associate Head Graduate Affairs & Graduate Advisor
  • Luca Filipozzi, Director of Operations
  • Adam Noel (ECEGSA President)
  • Dana Hoffmann (ECEGSA Treasurer)
  • Parisa Behnamfar (ECEGSA VP Social Affairs)
  • Mohammad Mohammadnia (ECEGSA Secretary)
  • Ahmad Ashoori (ECEGSA VP Student Affairs)


  • Expectations of the Department on the GSA regarding operations or activities
  • Brainstorm list of activities

General Discussion:

  • Luca has already met with the ECEGSA regarding operational considerations regarding constitution, bylaws, financial policies and procedures; Luca reviewed these for Andre and Robert; Andre reiterated the need for some clarity regarding governance
  • Andre discussed the Strategic Plan:
  • MCTF millennium curriculum task force: focusing on curriculum reform, primarily at the undergraduate level
  • C3TF communications and community connections task force: Focusing on website and general communications; secondary focus on student, alumni, industry and general public engagement
  • Research metrics: focusing on developing metrics by which we can measure our performance so that efforts to improve performance (more grants, higher quality post-graduate educational experience, more published papers, more citations) can be evaluated
  • Signature project: an interdisciplinary activity that will attempt to engage a large subset of our extended community in the development of a multi-year project that will have a significant impact on society (ideally); an example might be a project that focuses on SmartGrid and Sustainability
  • Operational effectiveness: focusing on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of departmental processes
  • Robert indicated a desire to hear from ECEGSA regarding departmental issues, etc.
  • Adam indicated that the major issue that he’s come across are:
    • ECEGSA Activities
    • Graduate Lounge
    • TA Job Distribution
    • PhD Tuition Waiver, UGF, GSI,
  • Andre asked whether there is a particular focus for this ECEGSA executive
  • Luca provided some historical background regarding the past four years’ executive teams
  • Adam indicated that there is an opportunity to revitalize the ECEGSA
  • Adam/Parisa indicated interest in working on the following:
    • Lounge Reclamation
    • Lounge Renovation
    • Weekly Coffee & Tea Gatherings
    • Summer Activities: Hiking, BBQ
    • Orientation (timing, content, participants)
    • Welcome Back BBQ
    • Mentorship Program
    • Volunteer Database
    • Communications to
      • Prospective Students
      • Existing Students
    • Christmas Party
    • Graduation Event
    • Technical Seminars and Workshops
    • Lunch and Learn
    • Industry Dinner / Career Fair
  • Luca explained the process of recruiting volunteers:
    • Send email for every event. Problem: Takes so much time to manage.
    • Use online surveys like surveymonkey or UBC tool (he can help for the UBC tool). If the survey asked for name and email address -> Do Not Use surveymonkey or doodle because they are hosted in the US.
  • Andre indicated a need for the ECEGSA executive to focus their communication on Andre, Robert and Luca in terms of accessing information
  • Parisa and Ahmad broached the topic of financial difficulties for graduate students
  • Luca provided some background information
    1. Tuition Fee Waiver Program – discontinued by UBC; no opportunity to reverse decision; funding rolled into GSI; is being phased out now for grandfathered students
    2. UGF – discontinued by UBC; no opportunity to reverse decision; funding rolled into GSI
    3. GSI – per direction of Faculty, to be used primarily to offer top-ups to Tri-Council and FYF scholars; there is an opportunity to alter path; requires discussion with Faculty; would take several years to phase in; not necessarily supported by faculty members in ECE
    4. TA Program – under control of Department but subject to conditions of the Collective Agreement between UBC and CUPE 2278; could introduce ‘financial difficulty’ as a parameter for allocation; would take several years to phase in; requires CUPE 2278 agreement
  • Andre spoke about the philosophical difference between providing small funding packages to many or large funding packages to a few; there are many faculty members within the Department who favor the latter
  • Robert provided the insight that this is a competitive market and ECE needs to attract the best graduate students possible; the funding package is one way to doing so
  • Parisa broached the topic of Teaching Assistant job distribution
  • Main concern: that the distribution of TA jobs amongst graduate students is not very even
  • This is an issue primarily because of the financial difficulties; a single TA job has a big impact on a single student; when graduate students hear that jobs might have been available but offered to people who already have jobs, they grow concerned… because a single small job has a big impact on an individual student
  • Luca walked through the process and deadlines
  • For both GSI-funding and TA-jobs concerns, the conclusion is that we should work together to communicate with the student cohort… possibly through an open forum.