Pinoy grad student runs for VP of student society

Vancouver, B.C.

Teilhard Paradela wants to ensure continuity

By Ted Alcuitas

UBC doctoral candidate Teilhard Paradela is running for Vice-President, University and Academic Affairs of the Graduate Student Society.
The Society is the independent voice of graduate students on campus.

Voting starts today (March 6) and will run until March 10, 2017.

A teaching assistant at UBC’ graduate school, he is currently completing his degree on the History of Modern Southeast Asia. He studied International Performance Research at the University of Amsterdam / University of Tampere and finished his BFA in Creative Writing and Drama at University of British Columbia.
Paradela did his undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines, Dilliman, and went to the University of San Carlos – Boys School in Cebu City.

Here is an excerpt of his candidate profile:

What I offer to the position of VP University and Academic Affairs are years of committed and cooperative student service. Among the leadership positions I have embraced: I am a co-chair of the Academic Committee at St. John’s College. I have been a coordinator of the UBC Philippine Studies Series for the past five years. Before immigrating to Canada, I was involved in LGBTIQ+ and HIV-AIDS prevention advocacies in Southeast Asia.

I am running for this position to ensure the continuity and consistency of meaningful endeavours that graduate students have already started. I was the president of the History Graduate Students Association when the issue of sexual assault in our department exploded in 2015. I witnessed how our colleagues worked hard to initiate sexual assault prevention policies and programs.

My aim is to strengthen existing structures within GSS to allow student initiatives on this and other important advocacies to flourish even after we graduate from UBC. This is especially crucial as we start enacting the new GSS strategic plan.

I was the president of the History Graduate Students Association (HGSA) when the issue of sexual assault in our department exploded in the mass media in the academic year 2015 – 2016. I have witnessed the efforts of my colleagues to push for changes in policies and programs not only in our department but also in our university. Some of these initiatives have continued, while others have petered out— which is a shame because I think all these initiatives are necessary to address this issue from multiple levels.

I am running for the position of GSS Vice President for University and Academic Affairs to ensure the continuity and consistency not only of these endeavours but also other meaningful advocacies that graduate students have started and pushed. While we are only here in this university for a few years, we can have lasting impact to future generations of graduate students.

What is your one-year vision?

The twin themes of continuity and consistency will inform my entire stint as VP for University and Academic Affairs. These themes underscore, for instance, how I will address the implementation of the new Strategic Plan.

I think this would be the overarching trajectory for the GSS in the next year. How to translate this plan into action in its first year? I know a lot of graduate students have worked hard on producing this plan. They have invested a lot of time, energies, and resources to generate this plan.

I would like to acknowledge and contribute to their efforts by executing policies and programs that would not only address the goals set out in the plan but also persevere in the long term. We can do that by ensuring that we have systems in place to foster our policies and programs at least until the next plan five years from now.

Broad experience

I have been part of the broader ecology of the GSS as an active member of HGSA and other graduate student organizations in the university. I am currently the co-chair of the Academic Committee at St. John’s College.

Together with another student, I also organize and moderate the bi-monthly Resident Fellows’ Speaker Series at SJC. I have been a coordinator of the UBC Philippine Studies Series, a network of graduate and undergraduate students studying the Philippines, for five years. Through this role, I have programmed discussions, lectures, and festivals.

I am also a fellow of the UBC Public Scholars Initiative, UBC Liu Scholars Network, and the UBC Southeast Asian Network. I am currently consultant of Babaylanes, a non-governmental organization in the Philippines, helping queer university students create and sustain their own organizations in this predominantly Catholic nation.

While working as GSS executive would be new to me, student service has been a consistent and continuing endeavour for me.

Initiatives

My major initiative will be to coordinate the different efforts of disparate departments, organizations, and institutions within the university for graduate student development.

I know the current GSS executives and councilors have been talking about improving the relationship between graduate students and their advisors. In my various capacities, I have discussed this matter with colleagues. And as VP, I would continue the discussions and initiatives around this.

But this is one aspect of the broader concern of graduate student development. There are many more: funding commitments, work-life balance, anti-sexual-violence advocacy, residence life, writing challenges, future job markets, etc. These issues are ultimately and inextricably intertwined.

In coordinating the various efforts to approach these manifold issues, my aim would be to reflect– critically and collectively– on how we understand “graduate student development”.

What does it mean for us? Through this reflection, I think we can better articulate our needs to our supervisors, departments, GPS, and UBC. And then from that we can examine the structures and mechanisms that could help us enhance our vision of graduate student development.

Why should graduate students vote for you?

What I offer to this position are years of proven student service. I have had wonderful opportunities to be involved in multiple and overlapping communities within and outside UBC. Through these experiences, I have gained deep appreciation on the position of VP for University and Academic Affairs. I have a clear approach to my role. And I would like a chance to use my skills, networks, and experiences to this position.