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February 7, 2002 CCSL Awards promote student life and excellence



by Austin Webb

The Concordia Council on Student Life may not grab as many headlines as some other student organizations on campus, but its members are hard at work behind the scenes, supervising the quality of your services and honouring those who contribute to the life of the school.

“It’s very much a bread-and-butter organization,” said Donald Boisvert, Dean of Students and chair of the CCSL. At his office last week, Dr. Boisvert described the Council’s typical concerns as ranging “from the cleanliness of the washrooms to making sure all the escalators are running and the clocks all tell the same time.”

In addition to the Dean of Students, the Council is made up of representatives from all walks of Concordia life. There are nine members representing the various student services, faculty and support staff. Nine student representatives — seven undergraduates and two graduate students — are also included. That parity makes the CCSL a body in which students have a lot of input.

“Students should have more than just a token say,” said Boisvert, who, as Council chair, has the right to vote in the event of a tie. “I think if you ask students where they can contribute in a real way, many would say [the CCSL].”

Part of Concordia’s tradition

The Council on Student Life has existed in some form since before the founding of the university. In fact, Dean Boisvert characterized it as “an old Sir George Williams tradition.”

Its mandate has been to supervise the overall quality of student life at the old university, and now Concordia. For the most part that means overseeing everything from the nuts and bolts of campus life to the quality of services that every student’s tuition helps pay for.

In that spirit of attention to detail, the CCSL gives out a number of awards every year recognizing students, faculty and staff who contribute, in often unsung ways, to the quality of life at Concordia. As opposed to academic honours, the CCSL awards tend to focus on extra-curricular life at the school.

Every year individuals are nominated by their peers for one of four honours: the Oustanding Contribution Award, the Merit Award, the Media Award or the Teaching Excellence Award.

In keeping with the bread-and-butter approach of the CCSL, the awards often highlight those in the Concordia community who contribute by starting clubs or providing outstanding service to students. Dean Boisvert recalled that one year a science professor was recognized for his work to make his lab more wheelchair-accessible for a particular student.

Faculty recognized with the teaching award

Professor Fran Shaver, who sits on the Council as a faculty representative, believes the Teaching Excellence award can be especially moving.

“The teachers who get the award are quite thrilled,” she said last week, “because students are getting together for this and soliciting the support of others.”

Michael Whatling, an Assistant Professor in the Education Department, can attest to that. He received the Teaching Excellence award last year.

“I was very surprised,” he said. “I didn’t even know I’d been nominated.”

Asked why he thought he had been chosen, he said, “I think it’s because I do things that are seldom done in class. . . I’m very learner-oriented. My students always say they have more work to do in my class, but they enjoy doing it. It was only my second year of [full-time] teaching here. I was really very touched that the students had gone out of their way to do this.”

Last year the CCSL gave out three Awards for Teaching Excellence, five for Merit, five for Outstanding Achievement, and two Media Awards, which went to staff at The Link. The deadline for nominations this year is Wednesday, March 20, at 5 p.m. The Awards ceremony will be April 5.

Concordia Council on Student Life Annual Awards
Call for nominations

• Outstanding Contribution Awards – students
• Media Awards – students
• Merit Awards – any member of the community
• Teaching Excellence Awards – faculty

Nomination forms are available at the Dean of Students Offices
(AD-121, H-653), CSU office (H-637), GSA (T-202), CASA (GM-218), ECA (H-880), Information Desk (Hall Building, first floor).
Deadline for nominations: Wednesday, March 20, at 5 p.m.
For more information, please call the Dean of Students Office, 848-4242