Dean's Update - May 2020

Hi Applied Arts,

I hope you all had a restful May long weekend. It has been a frantic two months since we learned we’d be off campus and trying to find ways to work from home. Thank you everyone for the incredible effort and dedication you have put into this time of transition, particularly when it comes to taking care of our students.

And what a transition! I know it didn’t happen in the way any of us imagined, but we are now Yukon University. I’m still catching myself referring to us as “the College” and our Senate as “Academic Council,” along with a few other legacy words, and I’m sure that will continue for some time. However, if people are asking whether we’re now a university, you can proudly say Yes!

Fall 2020 Contingency Planning

Contingency planning has hit a few bumps but continues. There are so many moving parts. We’re trying to figure out how instructor support for course redevelopment will be resourced over the spring and summer; what kind of course schedule makes the most sense to ensure students can progress through programs but also allow us to remain flexible in relation to pandemic developments; and whether certain programs should postpone intakes to January 2021 or the following fall. Ultimately, Senate needs to approve any recommendations, so this Wednesday's meeting will be a crucial one.

Budget Revision

In light of COVID-19, the Board of Governors asked the University to revise its 2020-21 budget with a number of assumptions in mind, among them a roughly 20% decline in enrolment. After analyzing numbers, it was determined that the University needed to find $1.5M in reductions. Applied Arts submitted a tentative contribution of just over $200k of budget reductions on May 15. The reductions were achieved by eliminating many non-labour expenses in core-funded programs (e.g., travel, catering and food, event expenses, etc.). I do not know at this time whether the institution, as a whole, came close to its target. If we weren’t able to, the next step might be the imposition of an across-the-board cut by percentage. Obviously, if we return to relatively normal operations sometime next year, and the budget reductions we’ve identified become real, that will mean a very no-frills academic year. I will keep you posted as the situation becomes clearer.

Return to Campus

You might already have seen the various messages regarding access to campus. After a lengthy discussion with the chairs, we determined that I should coordinate and approve requests for campus access from faculty and staff. Thus far, I’ve had only a few folks come forward with requests. If you are planning to be on campus, just remember to download, sign and scan your Working from Campus During COVID-19 Agreement, then send it and your building access schedule to me via email. I will let you know if your request is approved and forward the information on to Safety and Security.

Virtual Water Cooler

In my last blog, I mentioned I would be setting up virtual water cooler chats. For now, I’m doing them on Friday mornings, 9-10 am. If you have something interesting to share or a question you need answered, I’ll just be at my computer, working away on something and waiting for your call. Just look me up in MS Teams and initiate a video chat.

Take care,

Andrew