Did you know that socializing over food and adult beverages is one of the foundations of the labour movement that has brought us benefits, equity practices, workplace health and safety protection, and the eight-hour workday? That’s right! Do you think collective organizations of working folks campaigning for better working conditions would have even been possible had it not been for pubs, bars, house parties, and meetings with snacks? Unthinkable!
We’ve passed the mid-point of the semester and the time for developing final papers, grading exams, and planning journeys home for the holidays is fast approaching. However, on the evening of Thursday, December 4th, the GES formally invites you to escape the winter blues and celebrate all of this semester’s hard work and achievements at our annual Holiday Party.
Sponsored by the GES, the Holiday Party is open to all graduate students, faculty members, and staff in the Department of English. In previous years, it has been customary to have refreshments and drinks on campus in the early evening, with the option to continue the party into the evening at a lounge, pub, dance venue, or house party. Spouses, partners, friends, and colleagues from other departments are welcome to join us for the latter half of the evening’s festivities. However, we ask that attendance of the first half of the evening at The Wave be limited to the Department of English. There is no dress code, although many take the opportunity to wear their holiday finest: glitz and glam and questionable holiday-themed sweaters are all appropriate! If you have children, we do not have childcare available but you are more than welcome to bring them to the event.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your friendly neighbourhood GES Co-Chairs or our Social Coordinator.
Minutes from the most recent GES meeting are now available on the Documents page.
The TA Contract FAQ & Info Session will now be taking place on Monday, September 22nd from 12:00pm-1:30pm in AH 2R21.
The GES meeting will now be taking place on Monday, September 29nd from 12:00pm-1:30pm in AH 2R21.
Hello, GES members! As you recall, last week during orientation one of our speakers was Jaime Brenes Reyes, our Chief Steward of Arts & Humanities for the coming year. Jaime was presenting on behalf of PSAC Local 610, the union that represents all Teaching Assistants and Postdoctoral Fellows here at Western. The information you receive during orientation week can be pretty overwhelming, and Jaime only had fifteen or so minutes to introduce the union and what it does. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to hold an FAQ/information session near the beginning of the term. The goals of the session are:
- to familiarize you with the most important details of your TA contract (the Collective Agreement);
- to give you a better idea of what steps to take if you encounter a difficulty or problem over the course of your teaching assistantship;
- and finally, to give you an opportunity to ask more detailed and focused questions now that you’ve actually begun to TA, and have had a chance to look at your contracts and supporting documentation.
As the Lead Graduate Teaching Assistant for this year, Kevin Shaw will be holding a variety of workshops to develop skills for the actual day-to-day business of being a TA, holding office hours, managing tutorials, grading, and professionalization. However, this workshop has more to do with understanding the terms of your employment (your contract) and provide you with the information you need if you have question or issues throughout the year with your rights and responsibilities as a TA. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you be informed about your rights and responsibilities as a TA, and that you know who to talk to and what steps to take if an issue arises.
The workshop will be held on Friday, September 19th from 10:00am-11:30am in Room 2R21 of the Arts and Humanities Building (the building in which you can also find Leanne’s office, if you are still getting used to campus). I’ll be hosting the workshop. I’ll be serving as one of your three Departmental Stewards this year, served as Chief Steward of Arts & Humanities last year and as Departmental Steward the year before that, so I’ve had a lot of experience answering questions and handling issues from the very small to the very serious and will be equipped to answer any questions you may have.
I’ve listed a few resources here that will come in handy over the course of the year and may help you pinpoint some questions for the workshop beforehand. One of these (the TA Handbook) you have a paper copy of, but in the event that this handbook gets lost in the shuffle it’s always handy to have a digital copy. The resources can all be found at the following link: http://www.psac610.ca/index.php/documents-forms
- Graduate Teaching Assistant Collective Agreement (the detailed contract under which you are employed as a Teaching Assistant, and which outlines the terms and conditions of your employment here at Western)
- Graduate Teaching Assistant Handbook (digital copy)
- Hours Log Sheet (a useful tool for keeping track of your TA hours every week, which is a crucial part of preventing overwork and ensuring that you are working within the terms of your contract)
If you have any questions or concerns about the information session, get in touch with me via email. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you at the workshop!
All the best,
After a long drought in terms of web presence, your friendly neighbourhood GES Co-Chairs have been working hard to get the GES@Western website back in action. In addition to providing students with updated information, we’re also working towards ensuring that new content from the past year (the Constitution and Bylaws, The Jane Errors, our event calendar, and so on) is posted to the site.
While we love the ease of Facebook and the GES Listserv for sharing information, we hope that the website will serve as an additional tool in the way of directing you to resources, keeping you updated on events and initiatives in the Department of English, and making sure that new students have a sense of what the GES does and who to talk to about any issues they may have. It also helps give prospective students a sense of graduate life in the Department.
It may be a while before we work out the kinks and shape the site so that it is of greatest use to GES members—not to mention that we won’t have a new Webmaster-or-mistress until after the upcoming elections. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for content you’d like to see on the website, please contact the Co-Chairs and we will do our best to incorporate them.
Thank you for your understanding, and welcome to the site!