Dean's Update - August 2020

Hi Applied Arts,

I’ve been seeing a few faculty members returning from vacation, so it’s seems the right time to get back to monthly blogging. I hope that, despite all the restrictions in place because of COVID-19 and the cool, wet summer we’ve had, you managed to find time away to relax and have some fun. I managed three weeks of weekend warrior camping with the kiddos—not quite the Maritimes beach vacation we had planned, but we created a lot of great memories regardless.

As there have been a number of announcements this summer, I will refrain from duplicating any of that information here. As you return to work, please pay attention to any institution-wide messages that have gone out and are likely sitting in your Inbox. If you have questions about any of those updates, feel free to get in touch.

Online program and course delivery

The admin teams in both divisions worked incredibly hard to assemble data on what program and course delivery will look like this fall. In particular, efforts were made to give students as accurate a sense as possible of the balance between synchronous (i.e., Zoom) and asynchronous (i.e., Moodle) time they would be spending in their courses. Where this information was uncertain for specific courses by late July, default percentage splits were entered into Banner. Although not the only reason, we were trying to avoid situations in which students would be required to attend synchronous class meetings for 100% of a course, as the related cost to them in terms of additional bandwidth required is significant. We are already facing a COVID-related dip in enrolments, so we don’t want to price students out of courses they’ve already signed up for. Plans are in the works for students to have space on campus from which they can join Zoom classes and maintain social distancing, but it will likely be limited and in high demand. If you have questions about the specifics of delivery mode percentages with respect to any of your courses, just let me or your chair know. And please note that IT is currently working to fix a technical glitch that is preventing up-to-date course info stored in Banner from appearing on the University website.

Zoom classrooms

I understand many faculty across both divisions will be delivering Zoom class times from their office work station (balanced perhaps with some delivery from home computers). That said, we're also aware of requests for specific Zoom-enabled class spaces where instructors can teach with a trusted resource available to them (e.g., whiteboard, SmartBoard, etc.). A group will be meeting next week to finalize these room scheduling details, so stay tuned.

The rest of the year

Although the situation with COVID-19 remains fluid and unpredictable, it is likely we will be continuing the blend of online delivery modes with the majority of our courses through to the end of the 2020-21 academic year. I know that many of you (and me!) were hoping to be able to return to more in-person delivery in January, but we need to be in a position to be able to continue running program if, worst case scenario, we are forced to return to the situation we faced late in the winter 2020 term.

Connect2YukonU

Pursuant to my last dean’s update, YukonU has been piloting a new approach to student advising this summer. A Connect2YukonU team has been hard at work providing first-point-of-contact communications with prospective and returning students.

New faces

I realize not all of the following folks have been formally introduced to the YukonU community, but I want to welcome them to Applied Arts or to their new role within the division:

  • Andy Roebuck – instructor, psychology
  • Brent Langbakk – chair, Academic and Skill Development
  • Helen Reed – 2D/3D instructor, Yukon School of Visual Arts
  • Hannah Jickling – 2D/3D instructor, Yukon School of Visual Arts

Before the inevitably rush of the final weeks of August sets in, I want to take the opportunity to thank the Applied Arts admin team for the work they have done in the face of so much uncertainty this past spring and summer. Carolyn Kauth, Maureen Conway, AnnMarie Jim, Taylor Bradley, Marjie Cowell, Angela Bonnici, Catherine Bradbury, Amanda Graham, Erica Bourdon, Janna van Kessel, and Aubyn O'Grady--the support they have given me, our students, and our programs is incredible.

I hope everyone has a fun long weekend. As always, feel free to get in touch with questions you might have. You can email them, connect via Teams during my “virtual water cooler” times on Fridays, 9-10 am, or request a meeting via Carolyn Kauth.

See you (virtually) next week at Fall Huddle!

Andrew