When you put a bunch of people together all day everyday, you’re bound to have conflict. It can happen between classmates, which is easy to work out between yourselves, or just pretend the person of ire doesn’t exist until your aggravation has blown over. However, it can also happen between students and supervisors, students and teachers, even students and KI administration. These are not always issues you’re comfortable or equipped to handle on your own. This is where I, and other students like myself come in. I am an elected Course Representative, as well as a substitute Undergraduate Program Committee Representative (The original got accepted to study abroad and needed someone to fill their spot). These positions are loosely defined, but they suit me and my passion for complaining and fighting “the man”(hippie parents, don’t judge).
As a Course Representative, I deal with problems with the course. I take complaints from the students to the teacher, and we have regular meetings to try to find solutions to these problems. In general, we handle issues such as a specific lecturer needing better training, maybe in technology, maybe in pedagogic methods, maybe in the English language, but the faculty member in charge of the course needs to help this lecturer improve. We sometimes handle complaints of unreasonable deadlines, like we have three papers, two projects, a lab report, and an exam in one week. Sometimes these things will pile up due to bad planning, and we meet to discuss changing these deadlines to allow for a more reasonable workload. Some of the issues we deal with are just general feedback of what would make the course better for the next group of students. The textbook is at the wrong level, the lab instructions are some hybrid mix of English, French, and Swedish, little tweaks to help make the course better overall. It’s a fulfilling role. A course can have as many course representatives as it wants and can find students willing to do it. Our course currently has 4, previous term we had 2, the year before us had 1.
As an undergraduate program committee representative, I sit on the program committee to represent the student issues of the Undergraduate Program. The Bachelors in Biomedicine is in Program 7, which also contains the Bio-entrepreneur, Toxicology, and Biomedicine Masters programs. This committee handles what is taught in each program, the curricula for each course, funding for student groups, recruitment, as well as issues which the Course responsible teacher failed to address. I view this as more of a resource than an outlet for complaining. The faculty members that sit on this board have been available with endless information that I have needed to answer student questions. As an undergraduate representative, I help students find the answers to many questions they may have, more than handling individual complaints. Of course, complaining does happen at every meeting, I would guess that Program Committee 7 represents maybe 400-500 students, so there is always something to be addressed.
“BUT WAIT CASSANDRA! THIS DOESN’T COVER ALL THE PROBLEMS/ COMPLAINTS I HAVE!” Very very true! This only covers a small portion of things which could go wrong that you may need an advocate to help you with. KI has faculty for assisting students, and MF, the student Union, also has people to help. If you are a student with a disability, you go to KI’s disability officer. If you have a personal conflict with a teacher, you experience harassment, you need to take a break from studies, you’ve failed a course and need to apply for an exemption for a prerequisite, or any other issue which might be seen as confidential you go to the Study Counselor (I really love her, she’s FANTASTIC!). The student union has a Student Ombudsman that helps with conflicts with teachers / KI, as well as many individual committees to help with a wide variety of issues.
KI works hard at giving students a voice at the table, which is fantastic. There are lots of people at KI willing to listen to your problems and concerns and try to help. There are many routes to go for many of the problems you may experience as a student here, so you never need to worry about feeling isolated or unheard. If you do ever feel that way, contact me, I really love to argue and complain for other people. If you are also a fellow productive complainer, then become a Course representative! It’s a rewarding experience that lets you get behind the scenes and really get to know your instructors. Because when we as students and University work together, we all get to be