The executive committee has been fairly quiet this semester – there were some meeting cancellations, and the bulk of conversation has been debating the details of stuff we reported on last semester that was updated in the program documents (thanks again to Professor Woodward!) – i.e. where did that pesky methods requirement come from anyhow? However, in this last meeting, as well as in the annual student meeting that some of you attended last week, a couple important things have come up, and we created a survey for you all so that we (student reps) can hit the ground running next semester in regard to some of these new developments.

First, our EO reported that data on the first exam has been collected and analyzed, and the results of this analysis suggest that some major revision of our first exam process is necessary. The factors predicting an exam result breakdown as follows: no predictor for the Comparative exam; high GPA and GRE scores predict pass rates on the Theory exam; gender (female) predicts fail rates on the IR exam; race (non-white) predicts fail rates on the American exam; and there is not enough data to produce results for Public Policy.  Because fellowship packages have changed admissions, and we no longer use exams as a weeding mechanism, our EO has invited suggestions for a major restructuring of the first exam – a conversation that we assume will begin next semester.

Thus! We (your student reps) have suggested that this conversation take place with some transparency, and in that spirit, we would like you all to reflect on the last year and to think about what needs you have that either 1) could be met more effectively or 2) have not been met at all. To this end, we’ve developed a little survey with some  questions that we would like you to take some time to answer. The plan is to collect and organize responses in such a way that we can bring some ideas to the committee in the fall about ways to address these issues that are beneficial to US (that includes you)! Yay.

Also, there is still a lot of debate about methods. We’ve included a question about that in this survey, so please take the time to let us know what kind of methods class you might be interested in taking in an ideal world where there are an endless amount of course offerings and no possibility that they will ever be cancelled due to lack of interest.

Also also, we did not share course evaluations from last fall because the response rate was so low. There is a question on the survey regarding evaluations so we would really appreciate it if you all took time to answer that one thoughtfully – we are happy to create evaluations for this semester’s courses if that is something that you all are actually interested in.

Much love,
Emily, Erika, B

IMPORTANT POST SCRIPT: The GC now has a lawyer who’s in charge of Freedom of Information Act requests – fyi anything you check, look up, write or do on a GC account/network/server/device is subject to FOIL and that request is easily fulfilled. For example, anything you send on a GC computer, even from your personal email address, any site you access over wi-fi, any emails you send via your GC account on your home computer/phone. Basically anything. The requests thus far have primarily come from outside “political forces” – supposedly the 8th floor is not spying on us, but people outside the institution are interested in the politics of those inside it, thus far requests are related to the politically active.

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