Ryan Hirsch

Senate of College Councils president-elect Ryan Hirsch resigned from her position Wednesday night.

Hirsch, a neuroscience and pre-med junior, also left her post as current executive director of Senate because of personal reasons, according to current Senate president Michael Morton.

Morton said the organization will have to go through the election process again, starting with nominations March 21 and voting April 4.

“She handled this situation very professionally,” Morton said. “This was entirely on her own accord. This was strictly to do with personal reasons. There is no other factor involved or any inappropriate behavior.”

Senate elected Hirsch on Feb. 22.

“Students deserve a seat at the table,” Hirsch said to the councils. “We must continue to grow and develop to better address student concerns and create policy to better the academic lives of students.”

Morton said Hirsch has not made it clear if she will continue as a part of the organization.

“We would love to have her come back to the organization when she is ready,” Morton said. 

Hirsch has not replied for comment.

UT Senate of College Councils president elect Ryan Hirsch resigns

Senate of College Councils president-elect Ryan Hirsch resigned from her position Wednesday night.

Hirsch, a neuroscience and pre-med junior, also left her post as current executive director of Senate because of personal and family matters, according to current Senate president Michael Morton.

Morton said the organization will have to go through the election process again, starting with nominations March 21 and voting April 4.

“She handled this situation very professionally,” Morton said. “This was entirely on her own accord. This was strictly to do with personal reasons. There is no other factor involved or any inappropriate behavior.”

Senate elected Hirsch on Feb. 22. Vice president-elect Kiefer Shenk and finacial director-elect Philip Wiseman will not be officialy appointed until after the new president is elected.

“Students deserve a seat at the table,” Hirsch said during her speech to the councils. “We must continue to grow and develop to better address student concerns and create policy to better the academic lives of students.”

Morton said Hirsch has not made it clear if she will continue as a part of the organization.

“We would love to have her come back to the organization when she is ready,” Morton said. 

Hirsch has not replied for comment.

This story has been updated after its original posting.

Striving to inform students about the University’s resources and academic issues, the Senate of College Councils hopes to start a new tradition this year.

The Senate is holding its first Academic Expo on Gregory Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, where it is partnering with the Office of the Dean of Students to educate students on various academic resources.

“We wanted to provide an event that highlighted and showcased all the academic resources at UT,” Senate president Michael Morton said.

Morton said the event will address six categories of resources and academic issues. Morton said the categories were study abroad, undergraduate research, technology in the classroom, recruitment and retention of first year and transfer students, faculty and student relations and curriculum.

Along with introducing University resources in each category, Morton said the event will inform students about academic issues students face. Examples include curriculum reform, plus-minus grading, advising, transfer student orientation and undergraduate research opportunities.

Mary Beth Mercatoris, assistant dean of students, said the event will give students a comprehensive view of academic resources.

“I think holistically there is a lot of knowledge out there,” Mercatoris said. “But what I think happens for students is their interest for knowing the information presents itself at different times.”

Mercatoris said the event will give students all the information they need at once.

Ryan Hirsch, Senate’s executive director who organized the event, said this was an important year to keep students informed about academic recourses and issues.

“We’re going through a lot of changes at UT,” Hirsch said. “We’ve got a big freshman class, and there has been this big overarching theme about graduation rates.”

In addition to welcoming UT’s largest ever freshman class of 8,092 students, the University is also working to increase graduation rates from the current 52.2 percent to 70 percent by 2016.

“I think this is the optimal time to present academic resources, services and to connect student leaders in academics with the everyday student,” Hirsch said. “This [Academic Expo] will really enhance their experience, open them up to new opportunities and really encourage them to take ownership of their education.”

Morton said Senate’s goal is to make Academic Expo an annual event.

Printed on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 as: UT tries to increase resource awareness

Undergraduate researchers from across the 40 Acres will be able to earn a certificate in research for the first time, after the Senate of College Councils unanimously passed a resolution.

The Senate and the Undergraduate Research Council created a resolution this semester calling for an undergraduate research certificate intended for student researchers at UT. The resolution passed 15 to nothing at a Senate meeting held Thursday. When the certificate program goes into affect will be dependent on students working with administrators to create the program, said Senate spokesperson Michael Morton.

A certificate program will give recognition to undergraduates who take the initiative to get involved in extracurricular research, said Shannon Jacobson, a communication sciences and disorders junior. Jacobson is researching how bilinguals acquire, organize and assess two languages in order to target language milestones in typically developing bilingual children and identify ways to determine language impairments.

Jacobson said undergraduate researchers who dedicate time outside of the classroom should have a credential to show on their degree.

“Undergraduate researchers dedicate hours of time outside of the classroom to working on important projects,” she said. “That achievement deserves some sort of acknowledgement and a certificate would do just that.”

Currently, there is no formal research-based program at the University that is available to all undergraduates, said biology sophomore Ryan Hirsch, co-chair of the undergraduate research council.

“Creating a research certificate program can really make undergraduate research a seamless part of the academic culture here at UT,” Hirsch said. “A program like this would enable all types of students to add a sense of practicality to their education because research promotes further exploration and a deeper understanding of a topic.”

Students could yield significant benefits from this program such as improved academic performance, higher retention and graduation rates and a greater development of critical thinking, Hirsch said. Consolidating research methods and inquiry-based courses into a transcript-recognized academic certificate will facilitate engagement in undergraduate research, expand access to research opportunities and introduce students to the research process early in their undergraduate careers, she said.

The certificate program could also encourage students to enroll in more research-based courses by enhancing the visibility and support for undergraduate research participation, Hirsch said. The program that the resolution calls for will also be cost efficient because it will draw from resources already available at the University, she said.

Printed on Tuesday, October 8, 2011 as: Student researchers to be acknowledged