Our Q&A with the two Secretarial candidates for 2016/17 !
If you were elected Secretary in 2016/17, what is one key policy relating to student engagement with the LSS, both generally and through elections, which you would seek to implement during your term
If elected, I would seek to make the Meeting Feedback Form permanent—and seek to improve it. The current trial has allowed all MLS students to have their views on LSS motions heard at committee meetings. I have seen this feedback help this year’s committee better understand, and react to, the views of the cohort.
Going forward, I would look to look to develop two-way communication, such a through posting a summary of how the feedback was responded to and the outcome of the motion on the LSS website after each meeting.
Student engagement is the area I feel particularly passionate about. As someone who was never your typical student pollie, I’ve found the LSS to be a welcoming bunch of people who have made my law school experience a whole lot easier. I know that not everyone feels the same way and that’s something I want to change. I think we’re a better law school when our representative society is shaped by a diversity of perspectives.
Engagement should be made accessible and easy on multiple levels. From elections, co-opting and continuous communication through weekly drop-ins and online feedback – there should be ways have your voice heard no matter who you are. I love the diversity of our law school and want there to be mechanisms for every student to feel comfortable enough to express their views. I’d also like to think that I’m just about approachable enough to have a chat whenever you have questions, concerns or thoughts (law-related or not).
More than just listening, I want that feedback to be heard, considered and wherever possible put into action. Whether that involves passing your thoughts on to relevant committee members, chatting to faculty or directing you to the right person – your LSS should be your representative and advocate in the law school.
The role of Secretary requires a high-level of organisation and administrative management. What key experience, training or qualifications do you have that make you an ideal candidate?
I have strong student committee and executive experience. I have served as one of the First Year Representatives on the LSS and as the UMSU Graduate Representative. I have been the Treasurer of the Melbourne University Debating Society and have taken minutes for not-for-profit board meetings.
Each of these experiences has helped prepare me for the role. I have gained an understanding of how the LSS operates that is essential to being an effective Secretary. I have learned how to work well within an executive team and to successfully organise and administer within student organisations. And I have learned how to write the most legit minutes.
This year I’ve had the amazing privilege to be part of a great LSS Careers team as a first year co-opt. In that role I’ve had the chance to experience firsthand the inner workings of the LSS as well as the benefits that come out of the hard work of a really organised and well-run LSS portfolio.
I’ve had managerial and volunteering experience working with a diversity of people that involved rostering, budgeting and beyond. Most importantly though I’ve gained experience in how to deal with different viewpoints to work towards a bigger and better picture. I’ve got great time-management and organisational skills that have further developed through balancing life, law school, volunteering and a move from Perth! Additionally, I’m keen to work closely with my predecessor during handover (if you’ll have me) to learn from and build on their experiences.
Beyond that, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and help out whenever it’s needed. By sticking to 3 subjects next semester I know I’ll be able to meet the time commitments and expectations required for the role – while making it to swotvac with some of my sanity!
The Secretary’s role includes ensuring the successful management of the MULSS Committee’s internal operations. In particular, it involves ensuring that all members of the Committee adhere to various procedures (such as providing details of appropriations and motions for Committee meetings by the relevant deadlines, or coordinating the LSS’ calendar of events to prevent clashes etc). Imagine an elected Committee Member consistently fails to adhere to these procedures and regularly contacts you at the last minute asking for you to make exceptions to the rules. How would you respond?
The key to any such issues is honest, direct, constructive feedback. My approach would be to privately discuss the issue, beginning by seeking to understand why they haven’t been meeting their responsibilities.
If their issue was to do with workload or personal issues, we would then develop a plan that helped the member meet their obligations—while making the concessions they needed. If not, I would provide them with feedback and work together on a plan to improve.
Sometimes the Secretary must be a firm but fair hand guiding the committee: that is a role I am willing and able to undertake.
In this situation I once again think [buzzword warning] that communication is key! Talking to the member and understanding why they’re failing to meet procedures, as well as making sure they understand them and their importance is vital. I’d love to think that everyone is in their role to best represent the law student body and occasionally being flexible is important.
However, if a member’s behaviour is affecting the work of the LSS and means students aren’t getting the most from their representatives then somethings gotta give. Whether that involves re-prioritising their commitments or re-evaluating their position, its most important that members get the best out of their LSS.
I think a good way of avoiding this whole situation is to make candidates fully aware of their roles before they commit. Whether its an elected position or a co-opt it’s important to make expectations, time commitment and procedures known early on and emphasised during handover for the best result.
Don't forget to have your say!
Voting will be both:
Voting will be both:
- In Person: from Monday 12 - Friday 16 September, 1-2pm at the MLS ground floor west entrance; and
- Online: from Monday 12 September - Friday 16 September 2pm (see the MULSS website for the link) - THE ONLINE VOTING FORM IS NOW LIVE HERE!