SAIS students and faculty,
Welcome back! We hope you had a great break and are looking forward to the semester ahead!
This year, SGA has incorporated student feedback from the many surveys we sent out last semester (we will be keeping the feedback surveys in the Blueser so feel free to send us more suggestions). We have focused on Academic Affairs, Career Services, and our “ONE SAIS” initiative (the goal to improve student life on campus across all programs and concentrations). Many of our projects are now launched and we expect to see successful outcomes in the near future.
In academic affairs, SGA has and will continue to organize focus groups for students to meet with Vice Dean Eliot Cohen. They allow him to incorporate student perspectives in the strategic plan for the future framework of a SAIS education and feature each degree program and concentration. If you are interested in being a part of these discussions, please sign up for a group here.
Furthermore, SGA has worked with career services to provide feedback and suggestions. We had a constructive meeting with the Global Careers – Professional Development Committee in November where we discussed new procedures to stop students from being locked out of their Handshake accounts and make career coaching more accessible. We know the former was an issue that frustrated many students (and SGA members too!) who missed meetings and were then unable to use Handshake. Thankfully, Career Services will no longer lock students out of their accounts and all students will be able to receive career coaching without the pre-required deliverables. You can provide more Career Services-related suggestions and feedback for improvement on our survey here.
We will also continue to organize events for students looking to work in China after graduation. Last semester, four recent SAIS alumni spoke to more than 30 students about how they used their SAIS education to prepare them for jobs in or related to China. Two alumni who worked in finance in China joined the panel via Skype to give an on-the-ground perspective. If you know any SAIS alumni who would like to join an upcoming panel on this topic (via Skype or in person), please reach out to us.
This semester, we will be starting new projects such as fundraising for the Class Gift and restarting and expanding the teaching prize. For the Class Gift, our aim is to reach 100% participation from the graduating class. We would love to hear your ideas for the class gift and are still accepting suggestions here. A generous alum has offered to match up to $25,000 for a “Student Experiences Fund.” The fund would help students go on trips they would otherwise not be able to due to cost and we are strongly considering that option for class gift donations. We will present the teaching awards at commencement in May, which will allow the student body to show our appreciation to stellar faculty members, both full-time and adjunct. Look out for the teaching prize nomination email later in the semester!
Lastly, SGA will continue to plan and host events, such as the Cherry Blossom Ball in April. Equally important, we will continue to work diligently for the student body on smaller, more personal issues as they arise. We want students to remember that we are always available to assist them with their SAIS troubles and always welcome their feedback. We look forward to hearing more from you over the semester.