Studio Q revamps hiring

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AAC Academic Grievance Centre

New procedures will have executive producer appointed, not elected

Tristan Moran, executive producter, and Jess Lindal, business manager, in the Studio Q office.
Tristan Moran, executive producter, and Jess Lindal, business manager, in the Studio Q office.

Studio Q is changing its hiring structure this year so that instead of being elected by volunteers, Studio
Q’s executive producer will be hired by an AMS panel.

On Wednesday, the AMS board of directors unanimously passed a motion to change the hiring of the executive producer.

“What we moved at board is to make Studio Q’s executive producer the equivalent of a head manager of a service … to be hired by a panel instead of being elected,” said Jess Lindal, Studio Q business manager.

Dan Jacob, media and volunteer director, said the hiring panel will consist of the services director, the
incoming VP (operations) and a permanent staff member.

Jacob said the new process, which will start immediately, won’t be a problem for the hiring currently taking place. “We’ve requested of Studio Q, regardless of an election or a hiring panel, any applicant produce a proposal with their ideas,” he said. “It’s still in line with hiring policy requirements.”

Jacob said when Lindal came to him with the idea he saw it as a great way to increase involvement with the service. “It comes from within—it shows the service is willing to take steps in the right direction to ensure people become included.” Jacob said the hiring panel will consult a member from Studio Q—in most cases the current executive producer—during the hiring process.

“[The AMS] may hire on the basis of good strong people management, but the consultant is there to ensure the technical aspect of the service.” Ian Black, AMS VP (operations), said he thinks the new hiring process will help Studio Q to better fulfill its mandate of providing students with experience.

“Because Studio Q is such a close knit community … [the previous selection process] could inadvertently exclude some people from the process,” he said.

Lindal, who was Studio Q’s executive director last year, said problems with elections in the past and the hope for more inclusivity are the reasons for the change. “The election process had the tendency to fall into a single-candidate race because other students are intimidated to run,” she said.

“We don’t get new people involved in the election because if they’ve just heard of the service and want to get involved and run the show, they’re at a huge disadvantage. “The big argument for keeping
the elections is that, ‘Oh, the internal voters know best. And they may know best in terms of who’s been around the most, but if they shun the idea of other people or don’t ask the right questions for managerial traits … then those things can be overlooked and that can and has lead to serious problems for Studio Q.”

The last two years at Studio Q have been acclaimed elections, Lindal said. “The big question is, ‘What if
you don’t vote someone in?’ And that leads to conflicts of its own.” Lindal said she hopes the change will get more people to apply for the position.

“I think a hiring panel is just the most official and objective way. It’s probably the most inclusive way.”
Lindal said it’s important to have a Studio Q consultant involved in the hiring process to ensure the group’s editorial autonomy.

“In terms of [the change] being a problem with our editorial autonomy, a big measure against that is having a member of Studio Q as a consultant on that hiring panel,” she said. “Studio Q is primarily aimed at giving students experience more than anything and covering campus events; it doesn’t delve into deep opinion pieces or investigations into really really controversial issues.

“Maybe it will in the future, who knows, but for what it can manage it doesn’t become an issue for the AMS to be editorially controlling of it.”

Lindal said another big reason for the change is to help fight the turnover Studio Q experiences every year. “Turnover has been a problem in the past when we lose waves of former exec and former
volunteers,” she said. Lindal, who is constructing the service’s first long-term strategic plan now said that the plan will hopefully allow the service to become more institutionalized. “Having stronger ties to the AMS at least structurally will help Studio Q build itself up over the next few years,” she said.
“Later on, it can look at re-evaluating this process but the priority right now is to use the AMS as an organizational resource for Studio Q to really establish itself.”

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