SA seeks greater efficiency with smaller executive

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April 26, 2011

1:51 AM

The executive branch of the Student Assembly is consolidating, offering applicants just 30 positions instead of the 50 offered last year under the direction of the new president Kaveh Sadeghian ’12 and vice president Molly Bulman ’12. The positions and applications for those positions were posted on the SA website last week.

The executive branch, responsible for student advocacy on campus, is an extension of the president’s and vice president’s offices. It is composed of seven different departments, including the Department of Diversity Initiatives, the Department of Finance, the Department of Health and Safety, the Department of Public Engagement, the Department of Student Life, the Department of Student Rights and the Department of College Policy.

“Last year, we consolidated the executive [branch] from 87 people to 50 people, but 50 people was still a lot to manage,” Sadeghian said. “By reducing numbers, I hope to make SA members more accessible to students on campus.”

Sadeghian also expressed a desire to increase efficiency and improve coordination and teamwork among the different departments as a reason for the consolidation.

“The downside of having a large number of students in the executive is that it can be hard to manage that many people effectively,” former senator Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 said. “The president and vice president this year believe that they can get results with a smaller group of students.”

Ruzic and Sadeghian also mentioned that in past years the executive branch has struggled to maintain accountability from the numerous undersecretaries.

“Undersecretary retention was very difficult,” Sadeghian said.

Consolidation will take place in numerous departments. Bulman explained that the two biggest changes would be the merging of the Outreach and Student Life Departments, as well as the re-designing of the Public Affairs Department, which has now become the Department of Public Engagement.

“Kaveh and I spent about two weeks going through each executive position, evaluated its role in the overall organization, and spoke to former secretaries and undersecretaries about their experiences. Now, each position has a purpose and a place in the overall organization,” Bulman said of the streamlining process.

The new application offers students more of an opportunity to get creative.

“We included an optional submission form that accepted anything. We’ve been getting everything from resumes to funny photos,” Sadeghian said.

Another change in the application was the creation of a “write-in” category. Applicants were given the opportunity to write in undersecretary positions they felt the SA was missing. Sadeghian and Bulman were so impressed with one of the write-ins that they offered the applicant the position she had created.
Ruzic supported the decision to consolidate.

“Kaveh and Molly believe that a smaller executive will help them better advocate for the many issues and needs of the students here at William and Mary,” Ruzic said. “We won’t ever really know the degree to which this decision affects the job they do, but if at the end of next year they’ve done a lot of good for the students, I think we can safely say they made the right choice.”

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