Assistant vice-president, student life programs Lucy Fromowitz advocated the implementation of co-curricular transcripts at a University Affairs Board (UAB) meeting at Simcoe Hall Tuesday, bringing the project one step closer to completion.
The co-curricular transcript, intended to augment the current academic transcript, would list students’ extracurricular activities affiliated with the university, as well as skills gained as a result of their involvement.
Fromowitz’s presentation, made on behalf of two guests, attracted considerable interest from other members of the Governing Council.
“As the CEO of a Fortune 100 company we see the same kinds of resumes all the time,” said Council member Gary Mooney. “They show marks, but do they share the values of our culture? That would be very helpful.”
Fellow Council member and student representative Aidan Fishman voiced his support for the transcript.
“I was originally a bit sceptical of the co-curricular transcript, but as my concerns have been addressed, I think it will be a boon to the university.”
The transcript will also allow students to hide their political leanings if they wish.
“You’ll be able to mask being in a Young Liberal club if you’re applying to a firm that’s more conservative in nature,” said Fromowitz.
However, several members raised concerns regarding the methods and viability of the transcript, asking if the increased costs and administrative work would be worth the benefits a transcript might bring.
“As much as possible we’d like to piggyback on existing bodies,” Fromowitz responded. “We don’t want to make more work, or it will fall by the wayside.”
The idea for a co-curricular transcript came from the Council on Student Experience, which held a series of student consultations in 2010 and identified a need for students to track and list their involvement while at university.
While the broad strokes of the co-curricular transcript’s mandate are agreed upon, questions remain about the fine details of its structure.
Questions were raised at the UAB meeting about what difference, if any, would be made between paid and volunteer extracurricular activities, and where teaching assistants, dons, and research assistants would fall on this spectrum.
Participation in potentially contentious organizations was another issue discussed.
Council member Andrew Szende asked Fromowitz if anti-establishment activities such as organizing protests or joining advocacy groups would be considered among the activities included on the transcript.
For Council member Kimberly Ellis the answer is clear: “If it’s a process that could go on a resume, it should go on a co-curricular transcript.”
While the transcript is currently being developed and designed, it may take several years before it is made available to students.
Jill Matus, Vice-Provost of Students, noted during a separate presentation at the UAB that other Governing Council programs such as the On-Tap Initiative and the Email Project took two to three years to implement.
Matus said the extensive consultations and research these programs required were responsible for the gap between their proposal and their implementation.
“As we live in this community, what looks innocuous is actually complicated,” Matus said in a later interview. “We don’t as a rule tend to do top-down decisions.”
Fromowitz indicated during her presentation that “extensive consultation, system selection, implementation, testing and training, and development” were the necessary next steps in creating the co-curricular transcript.
Co-curricular transcript have been implemented at other Ontario universities such as Windsor and Guelph.