Friday, March 22

2018 GSA candidate endorsement: Ashley Wright for vice president of academic affairs

(Michael Zshornack/Photo editor)

(Michael Zshornack/Photo editor)

The graduate student government’s election for its executive cabinet will continue until Tuesday. The Daily Bruin Editorial Board interviewed each of the five candidates and evaluated their platforms for the coming year.

The board endorses Ashley Wright as the next vice president of academic affairs for her enthusiasm to improve upon the work of the current office and introduce some innovative efforts of her own.

Her ideas, however, could use a bit more specificity.

Wright’s primary plan is to increase participation in and access to the fledgling online Teaching Assistant Marketplace. She correctly identified there are problems with the TA Marketplace, which in its current form is nothing more than a Listserv. Wright did not, however, clearly articulate what an improved TA Marketplace would look like. The board hopes she can leverage her past employment experience in communications and marketing to develop and execute a specific vision for the marketplace and promote it to academic departments.

Wright also stated a desire to improve diversity on the various committees in the Graduate Students Association and to facilitate participation in the GSA’s various graduate councils. These plans could also use more detail.

Wright said she is also interested in promoting interdisciplinary academic socialization, as evidenced by her piloting of “Interdisci Dinners,” a Dinner for 12 Strangers derivative. It would be sensible for her to parlay this experience and interest in developing a similar event, organized with the same principles of fostering a larger graduate student academic community, for a greater audience.

A key role of the vice president of academic affairs is to act as a liaison to UCLA’s Academic Senate, as well as to coordinate graduate student participation, specifically with its Graduate Council. But when asked about the Academic Senate, Wright did not convey a clear understanding of how she would carry out this responsibility. This lapse is only a slight concern, however, as it is unlikely any office holder would be able to achieve more through the Academic Senate than through their own office.

With some further development to her ideas, Wright shows promise as an effective vice president of academic affairs.

Visit this page to read the board’s evaluations of all of this year’s GSA candidates.

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