A.J. Collins, a candidate for the position vice president for Academic Affairs, is focused on increasing the academic options for students, whether it’s in the core curriculum, advising opportunities or online classes.
Collins, a junior, is part of the Advance UA movement, which is a coalition of five non-Machine-backed students running for different SGA vice presidential positions.
One of the primary goals Collins has is to increase the number of peer advising programs across campus. He recognizes the advantages of small programs that several colleges, such as the College of Arts and Sciences, have in place that allow students to be peer reviewed.
“I hope that we can expand this program to every department on campus so that each student has the opportunity to solicit advice from older students about faculty members, best courses and a path to graduate in four years,” he said.
Collins also has hopes to work on expanding the academic curriculum at the University. He stresses that students are not given enough options when it comes to choosing classes to complete their core curriculum requirements. For instance, the history department only offers western civilization and American civilization as options for general education credits.
“Students should be able to take something that interests them or relates more to their major,” Collins said.
Along with expanding the curriculum, Collins wants to offer more online courses to students. In an increasingly technological age, students should become more familiar with the online platform, Collins said.
Additionally, Collins wants to increase the number of academic resources across campus. I want to increase the role of the SGA in helping students out, Collins said. He wants to continue helping with the “Finish in Four” registration help hotline and increase student mentoring initiatives.
Collins supports investigating the University’s plus/minus grading system. He said one of the primary issues is that the system is not standardized across campus, causing grade inflation in some colleges. Collins hopes to conduct research to create a policy proposal to address the issue.
Collins also supports the ideas of his fellow Advance UA candidates. He said they all are running under a similar banner and share common ideals.
“Advance UA is a campus-wide effort. We need to empower every student,” Collins said.
Collins says that one of the main reasons the Advance UA students are different is that they are all highly qualified in each position they are seeking outside of their individual greek organizations.
Though they are all in greek organizations, they represent diversity in a lot of different ways, he said. Collins has served on six different executive boards in his time at the University, including being president of the Honors College Ambassadors and co-director of Alabama Action Abroad.