Officer Portfolios

The below descriptions of each GSA Directly-Elected Officer position and the role of Councillors-at-Large are quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy.

GSA President

GSA Vice-President Academic

GSA Vice-President External

GSA Vice-President Labour

GSA Vice-President Student Services

GSA Councillors-at-Large


General (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Bylaw, GSA Officers)

D.BYL.1 General
D.BYL.1.1 The Officers of the GSA comprise:
D.BYL.1.1.a Directly-Elected Officers (DEOs) and 
D.BYL.1.1.b Council-Elected Officers.
D.BYL.1.2 The GSA has the following DEOs: 
D.BYL.1.2.a The President, 
D.BYL.1.2.b The Vice-President Academic (VPA), 
D.POL.1.2.c The Vice-President External (VPE), 
D.BYL.1.2.d The Vice-President Labour (VPL), and 
D.BYL.1.2.e The Vice-President Student Services (VPSS). 
D.BYL.1.3 The GSA has the following Council-Elected Officers:
D.BYL.1.3.a The Chief Returning Officer (CRO),
D.BYL.1.3.b The Senator, and 
D.BYL.1.3.c The Speaker. 
D.BYL.1.4 Stipends and Honoraria: 
D.BYL.1.4.a DEOs will be paid a stipend and the CRO and Speaker will be paid an honorarium as detailed in the GSA’s annual GSA Council approved budget. 
D.BYL.1.4.b Any committee related to graduate student market modifiers.
D.POL.5.3 Qualifications
D.POL.5.3.a Any changes in the stipend above the Consumer Price Index are subject to explicit approval by GSA Council. Any changes to the honorarium are subject to explicit approval by GSA Council

NOTE: Questions about the responsibilities of specific portfolios and the benefits associated with serving as a GSA Directly-Elected Officer may be directed to gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca.

Return to top



GSA President Officer Portfolio (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Policy, Officer Portfolios)

D.POL.5.1 Duties
D.POL.5.1.a As President and CEO of the GSA, the President has overall responsibility for ensuring the long-term effectiveness of the GSA at all levels, and serves as a signatory of all major contracts and agreements.
D.POL.5.1.b The President will name an Executive Vice-President and, should the President be unable to act for any reason (eg illness, research field trip), as determined by the Speaker and ED, the Executive Vice-President will assume the President’s duties; any such instance will be reported to GSA Council at its next subsequent meeting. A second Vice-President will also be designated to serve as Acting President should the President and Executive Vice-President be unable to act for any reason (see also GSA Board Policy, Section 5, Designation of Executive Vice-President and Line of Succession for Acting President).
D.POL.5.1.c The President ensures that the GSA carries out its legal functions as specified in the Post-Secondary Learning Act.
D.POL.5.1.d The President leads the organization internally by shaping a cohesive, cross-trained, dynamic team of Vice-Presidents and managers, and by developing relationships with the University Vice-Presidents, Chair of the Board of Governors (BoG), and Chancellor that advance the GSA’s strategic goals.
D.POL.5.1.e The President leads development of a strategic work plan for the GSA and works in concert with the Vice-President Labour (VPL) to craft the GSA’s bargaining position and to strategize concerning tuition and other crucial, “big ticket” issues facing graduate students.
D.POL.5.1.f The President leads the GSA on bodies external to the GSA. This includes:
D.POL.5.1.f.i Membership on the BoG and General Faculties Council (GFC),
D.POL.5.1.f.ii Playing a lead role in provincial lobbying, along with the VP External (VPE),
D.POL.5.1.f.iii Active participation in any national, provincial, and municipal advocacy groups or initiatives in which the GSA is involved, along with the VPE, and
D.POL.5.1.f.iv Advocating for graduate student issues at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels, along with the VPE.
D.POL.5.1.g The President carries out the above in large part through excellent navigation through a complex governance system, by managing a diverse set of human and financial resources, and by tending constantly to maintenance of key personal and professional relationships.
D.POL.5.1.h
As per GSA Bylaw and Policy, the GSA President will normally represent the GSA on search and review committees of the University President, Vice-Presidents, Provost, Vice-Provosts, and Deans (where indicated in the composition of the committee) or equivalents. In the case where a delegate must be found (normally another DEO), the GSA President will consult with the GSA NoC.
D.POL.5.1.i The President maintains the relationship with TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, provider of insurance and other such services for graduate students and may delegate this responsibility.
D.POL.5.1.j The President oversees, in consultation with other DEOs and the Executive Director (ED) or delegate, all GSA events.
D.POL.5.1.k The President is an active participant in events associated with Alumni Weekend.
D.POL.5.1.l The President keeps a watchful eye on the hours spent by the Vice-Presidents (VPs) on their portfolios in order to balance work-loads.
D.POL.5.1.m The position of President requires daily contact with the ED and Executive Coordinator (EC), weekly contact with the ED on financial matters, daily or weekly contact with the VPL as needed, and at least weekly contact with the VPE, Vice-President Academic (VPA), and Vice-President Student Services (VPSS).
D.POL.5.1.n The position of President totals approximately thirty (30) to forty (40) hours per week on average and will include evenings and weekends and, along with the VPE, more participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities than found in other portfolios. This time includes but is not limited to both time spent preparing for and attending formal meetings as well as time spent reading and responding to emails, participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities, work done on various projects and initiatives, informal strategic and problem-solving meetings, etc.
D.POL.5.2 Committees
D.POL.5.2.a The President chairs the following GSA Standing Committees:
D.POL.5.2.a.i The GSAB (see also GSA Board Policy, Section 10, Line of Succession for Chair of the GSA Board),
D.POL.5.2.a.ii The GSA Governance Committee (GSA GC), and
D.POL.5.2.a.iii The GSA Budget and Finance Committee (GSA BFC).
D.POL.5.2.b The President or delegate chairs any committees or caucuses associated with provincial lobbying.
D.POL.5.2.c The President is a member of the GSA GFC Caucus and GSA Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) Council Caucus.
D.POL.5.2.d The President is a member of the following University boards and committees:
D.POL.5.2.d.i The BoG,
D.POL.5.2.d.ii The Board Finance and Property Committee,
D.POL.5.2.d.iii The Board Learning and Discovery Committee,
D.POL.5.2.d.iv The Board Safety, Health, and the Environment Committee, normally delegated to a VP by the full BoG,
D.POL.5.2.d.v The Board University Relations Committee,
D.POL.5.2.d.vi GFC,
D.POL.5.2.d.vii The GFC Academic Planning Committee,
D.POL.5.2.d.viii The GFC Campus Law Review Committee (GFC CLRC),
D.POL.5.2.d.ix The University Tuition Budget Advisory Committee (TBAC),
D.POL.5.2.d.x Any committee related to Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees, and
D.POL.5.2.d.xi Any committee related to graduate student market modifiers.
D.POL.5.3 Qualifications
D.POL.5.3.a Candidates must have some experience with budget, negotiations, and governance, ideally at a university level."

Return to top


GSA Vice-President Academic Officer Portfolio (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Policy, Officer Portfolios)

D.POL.6.1 Duties
D.POL.6.1.a The VPA is the GSA’s voice at the central governance table on all matters related to the academic life of a graduate student.
DD.POL.6.1.b The responsibilities of the VPA mirror the responsibilities of the University Provost and Vice-Provosts and embrace a wide swath of essential matters, from grading/assessment to use of email; the list of committees the VPA attends provide a clear picture of the depth and breadth of this portfolio.
D.POL.6.1.c The VPA may be assigned by the President to serve as the lead on special projects and initiatives (eg international graduate student issues).
D.POL.6.1.d The position of VPA requires regular weekly contact with the President, ED, EC, and the other VPs.
D.POL.6.1.e The position of VPA totals approximately twenty (20) to thirty (30) hours per week on average and may include evenings and weekends. This includes but is not limited to both time spent preparing for and attending formal meetings as well as time spent reading and responding to emails, participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities, work done on various projects and initiatives, informal strategic and problem-solving meetings, etc.
D.POL.6.2 Committees
D.POL.6.2.a The VPA is a member of the GSA Negotiating Committee (GSA NC) (as Vice-Chair).
D.POL.6.2.b The VPA chairs the GSA FGSR Council Caucus and GSA GFC Caucus.
D.POL.6.2.c The VPA is a member of the following University boards and committees:
D.POL.6.2.c.i The FGSR Council,
D.POL.6.2.c.ii The FGSR Council Policy Review Committee,
D.POL.6.2.c.iii The FGSR Dean’s Advisory Committees,
D.POL.6.2.c.iv The FGSR Graduate Scholarship Committee,
D.POL.6.2.c.v The FGSR Academic Appeals Committee,
D.POL.6.2.c.vi GFC as the statutory member,
D.POL.6.2.c.vii The GFC Executive Committee,
D.POL.6.2.c.viii The GFC Academic Standards Committee),
D.POL.6.2.c.ix The GFC ASC Subcommittee on Standards,
D.POL.6.2.c.x The GFC Committee on the Learning Environment,
D.POL.6.2.c.xi The GFC University Teaching Awards Committee,
D.POL.6.2.c.xii The University Research Policy Committee,
D.POL.6.2.c.xiii Committees related to graduate supervision and graduate education quality measures,
D.POL.6.2.c.xiv Committees related to graduate student attributes and competencies, and
D.POL.6.2.c.xv Committees related to academic policy, and teaching and learning and associated technologies.
D.POL.6.3 Qualifications
D.POL.6.3.a Candidates should have some experience with governance at a university level, as well as the ability to work with all levels of administration.

Return to top


GSA Vice-President External Officer Portfolio (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Policy, Officer Portfolios)

D.POL.7.1 Duties
D.POL.7.1.a The VPE has overall responsibility for student life and engagement and shares responsibility for external advocacy and representation with the President. This includes but is not limited to:
D.POL.7.1.a.i Residence life,
D.POL.7.1.a.ii Engagement with University or departmental activities, and
D.POL.7.1.a.iii External advocacy and representation.
D.POL.7.1.b The VPE may be assigned by the President to serve as the lead on special projects and initiatives (eg international graduate student issues).
D.POL.7.1.c The position of VPE requires regular weekly contact with the President, ED, EC, and the other VPs.
D.POL.7.1.d The position of VPE totals approximately twenty (20) to thirty (30) hours per week on average and will include evenings and weekends (the VPE portfolio normally contains the most evening and weekend hours and requires a very flexible schedule in order to attend occasionally hastily called meetings related to external advocacy and representation. Along with the President, the VPE portfolio contains more participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities than found in other portfolios). This time includes but is not limited to both time spent preparing for and attending formal meetings as well as time spent reading and responding to emails, participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities, work done on various projects and initiatives, informal strategic and problem-solving meetings, etc.
D.POL.7.2 Committees
D.POL.7.2.a The VPE chairs the GSA Awards Selection Committee (GSA ASC).
D.POL.7.2.b The VPE is a member of the GSA LRC (as Vice-Chair).
D.POL.7.2.c The VPE sits on the following University boards and committees:
D.POL.7.2.c.i The Athletics & Recreation Fees Advisory Group,
D.POL.7.2.c.ii The Residence Budget Advisory Committee,
D.POL.7.2.c.iii The Council on Student Affairs, which the VPE may delegate,
D.POL.7.2.c.iv The Alumni Council and other Alumni Committees,
D.POL.7.2.c.v Committees related to student life (including those associated with student grants, awards, and residences), and
D.POL.7.2.c.vi Committees related to the Festival of Ideas.
D.POL.7.3 Qualifications
D.POL.7.3.a Candidates should have some experience with student life issues.
D.POL.7.3.b Experience with external advocacy or representation would be advantageous.

Return to top


GSA Vice-President Labour Officer Portfolio (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Policy, Officer Portfolios)

D.POL.8.1 Duties
D.POL.8.1.a The VPL is the chief negotiator of the Collective Agreement (CA) with the University covering all graduate student assistantships.
D.POL.8.1.b The VPL also negotiates other matters with the University related to graduate student assistantships and issues regarding interpretation of the CA.
D.POL.8.1.c The VPL receives and seeks resolution of complaints and concerns from graduate students about assistantship matters, working in concert with the ED (or delegate) and other offices as required.
D.POL.8.1.d The VPL may be assigned by the President to serve as the lead on special projects and initiatives (eg international graduate student issues).
D.POL.8.1.e The VPL may be assigned by the President to take on specific labour-related projects (eg reviewing departmental graduate studies policies for CA compliance to ensure compliance with the CA and other efforts with respect to education and compliance with the CA).
D.POL.8.1.f The position of VPL requires close contact with the ED (or delegate) on labour-related matters as they arise and regular weekly contact with the President, ED (or delegate), EC, and the other VPs.
D.POL.8.1.g The position of VPL totals approximately twenty (20) to thirty (30) hours per week on average and may include evenings and weekends. This includes but is not limited to both time spent preparing for and attending formal meetings as well as time spent reading and responding to emails, participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities, work done on various projects and initiatives, informal strategic and problem-solving meetings, etc.
D.POL.8.2 Committees
D.POL.8.2.a The VPL chairs the GSA Labour Relations Committee (GSA LRC) and the GSA NC.
D.POL.8.2.b The VPL is a member of the GSA ASC (as Vice-Chair), the GSA GC (as Vice-Chair), the GSA BFC (as Vice-Chair), and the GSA FGSR Council Caucus.
D.POL.8.2.c The VPL is a member of the following University committees:
D.POL.8.2.c.i The FGSR Council
D.POL.8.2.c.ii The Protective Services Advisory Committee, and
D.POL.8.2.c.iii Committees related to workplace health and safety issues, campus alcohol issues, and mental health and wellness issues.
D.POL.8.3 Qualifications
D.POL.8.3.a Candidates should have a background in law and/or business and/or labour issues.
D.POL.8.3.b Previous experience on the GSA LRC or the GSA NC would be both desirable and advantageous.

Return to top


GSA Vice-President Student Services Officer Portfolio (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Policy, Officer Portfolios)

D.POL.9.1 Duties
D.POL.9.1.a The VPSS has overall responsibility for the proper disposition of funds received from the University for disbursement to graduate students, and works closely with GSA management in this regard; these funds presently support GSA Academic Travel Awards, GSA Emergency Bursaries, and GSA Child Care Grants.
D.POL.9.1.b The VPSS oversees the GSA Health and Dental Plan and Graduate Student Assistance Program, and ensures that there is solid value for these services for the dedicated fees paid by graduate students to support them.
D.POL.9.1.c The VPSS is responsible for connecting with departmental graduate student associations, and supporting graduate student groups and graduate student engagement in the GSA.
D.POL.9.1.d The VPSS will maintain awareness of student groups with respect to risk management and work closely with the ED in this respect.
D.POL.9.1.e The VPSS is overall in charge of attending University committees that discuss space for the University community, including collaborative social space, housing, social space, and any other space that the GSA deems is needed or which may be part of any memoranda of understanding the GSA has signed in the past (eg the various Power Plant agreements). This area of responsibility includes close contact with the GFC Facilities Development Committee (GFC FDC), the University Architect and the Associate Vice-President Facilities and Operations or equivalent.
D.POL.9.1.f The VPSS is responsible for coordination with University Student Services and the Dean of Students Office regarding all services offered to graduate students by the University (eg Career Services, U-Pass, Student Success Centre, etc). This responsibility includes ensuring that non-instructional mandatory fees paid to the University are returned to students in the form of relevant and timely service provision that meet graduate students’ needs.
D.POL.9.1.g The VPSS is responsible, in collaboration with the GSAB, for the negotiation of new GSA fee-based services and oversight of newly negotiated GSA fee-based services.
D.POL.9.1.h The VPSS may be assigned by the President to serve as the lead on special projects and initiatives (eg international graduate student issues).
D.POL.9.1.i The position of VPSS requires regular weekly contact with the President, ED, EC, and the other VPs.
D.POL.9.1.j The position of VPSS totals approximately twenty (20) to thirty (30) hours per week on average and may include evenings and weekends. This includes but is not limited to both time spent preparing for and attending formal meetings as well as time spent reading and responding to emails, participation in travel associated with conferences and advocacy opportunities, work done on various projects and initiatives, informal strategic and problem-solving meetings, etc.
D.POL.9.2 Committee
D.POL.9.2.a The VPSS is a member of the following University boards and committees:
D.POL.9.2.a.i Committees related to the U-Pass (including the committee external to the University),
D.POL.9.2.a.ii The GFC FDC,
D.POL.9.2.a.iii Committees related to international strategies and international student issues
D.POL.9.2.a.iv Committees related to the Campus Food Bank,
D.POL.9.2.a.v Committees related to Dewey’s and the North Power Plant,
D.POL.9.2.a.vi Committees related to campus space planning,
D.POL.9.2.a.vii The ONECard Student Advisory Group,
D.POL.9.2.a.viii Committees related to University student services,
D.POL.9.2.a.ix The Health Centre Advisory Group, and
D.POL.9.2.a.x Committees related to the Physical Activity and Wellness Centre.
D.POL.9.3 Qualifications
D.POL.9.3.a Candidates should have some experience with student services issues.

Return to top


Councillors-at-Large (CALs) (quoted directly from GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section C: GSA Council, GSA Bylaw, GSA Council, Section C.BYL.2.3)

C.BYL.2.3 CALS
C.BYL.2.3.a CALs will be elected annually (Section I: Elections, GSA Bylaw, Elections), with their terms to run from May 1 until April 30 of the following year:
C.BYL.2.3.a.i In the case of CALs, ‘constituents’ will refer to all members of the GSA.
C.BYL.2.3.b The duties of CALs will be:
C.BYL.2.3.b.i To attend all meetings of GSA Council,
C.BYL.2.3.b.ii To ensure that the Speaker and GSA office are kept up to date with their names, departmental addresses, and contact information, and
C.BYL.2.3.b.iii To provide additional voices on GSA Council from those offered by Departmental Councillors.

Return to top


If you have any questions, please contact the GSA Chief Returning Officer at: gsa.elections@ualberta.ca