Dean's Update - April 2020

Hi Applied Arts,

I don’t know if you’re all feeling the same way, but early March feels about a thousand years ago. I kind of hope that attending to work commitments in between kids’ snack breaks and story times never begins to feel completely normal, but I feel myself growing accustomed to the chaos.

We’re now a full month into contingency planning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I want take the opportunity to thank everyone across Applied Arts for the incredible effort you’ve put into supporting our students through to the end of the winter term.

As we head into what is shaping up to be a beautiful weekend, here are a few stories you should know about:

Fall 2020 Contingency Planning

This week, the College began rolling out a framework for fall 2020 academic planning. By now, your chair might have already begun communicating the framework or will be doing so in the coming week; please make every effort to attend meetings about this. We are facing a small window to come up with scenarios for how the fall term could look: the deadline to have plans back to the VPA is May 1. Our challenge is to imagine what we can do if some degree of social distancing is still in place by the fall. What will our programs look like if we are still not able to go onto our campuses? How much of our curriculum can we reasonably shift to an online mode? Can we reschedule courses so as to keep students moving through our programs even though they can’t attend face-to-face classes? Can we use the present predicament as an opportunity to reimagine our programs? We might very well be past the COVID-19 crisis by the fall, but we need to prepare for the possibility that we won’t be.

SOVA Online Exhibition

Regrettably, COVID led to the cancellation of the year-end exhibition of student artwork at SOVA. But faculty and students at the School are undeterred! They’ve moved swiftly into planning an online exhibition. In the lead-up to the launch, SOVA has been featuring its 2019-20 cohort of students on its social media feeds. Check out our amazing students @ #SOVAClassof2020.

Indigenous Governance Capstone Presentations

A huge shout out to students in our Indigenous Governance capstone course, who presented on their projects to a packed Zoom room on Wednesday. I knew they were fighting nerves, but the level of professionalism was outstanding, and their intelligence and passion shone through. Also, great work hosting Rhiannon!

New Hires in Liberal Arts

Amid all the COVID-19 response planning, we didn’t get to celebrate the fact that two recruitment processes in Liberal Arts ended in success this past winter! Formal College-wide announcements of these hires will go out closer to the official start dates. For now, I can report that Drew Lyness has accepted a permanent English instructor position (and will also be assisting with the Teaching and Learning Team later this spring), and Andrew Roebuck, currently completing a doctorate at USask, has accepted a permanent position as our new psychology instructor. 3 Drews in the division—we are legion!

3-Month Forecasting

Some processes continue, pandemic or not. Carolyn Kauth has begun putting together our 3-month forecast. By this point in the year, we are trying to affirm that financial predictions we made back in January are coming true. Obviously, COVID-19 will mean some adjustments to our divinations.

Hangs with Me

Because I’m not seeing Applied Arts folk in hallways, the Bookstore and the Kaff right now, I will be setting up virtual “water cooler” chats. What I’m thinking is that I’ll invite all of you to a recurrent meeting in Zoom, probably just an hour once a week to start. If you have something interesting to share or a question you need answered, I’ll just be “there,” working away on something and waiting to be interrupted. Of course, if at any time you want to connect with me directly, feel free to phone or text me at 867.332.5405, send an email, or start a chat in MS Teams.

Now get out there this weekend and enjoy some activities in the sunshine, while maintaining the one caribou distance from other humans.

Take care,

Andrew