Hi Applied Arts,

I feel like this year we all need a huge congratulations for just making it to midterm.

Before getting to some updates, I want to acknowledge that this has been a particularly painful month for the YukonU community as we mourn the loss of one of our students, on top of continuing to cope with the isolation brought on by the pandemic. Please keep in mind that the University has an Employee Assistance Plan, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you want more information about it.

Winter & Spring 2021

A repeat of last month’s message: The plan for the winter and spring terms is to continue delivering courses and programs through a blend of online modes—e.g., a percentage via Zoom + a percentage via Moodle—as much as possible. Faculty, as we move through the CRN creation process, please provide your chairs and admin assistants with accurate info on the percentage split between modes, so the scheduling information students eventually see on the website matches how the term will unfold. Health labs, science labs, and trades shops, as well as practicum components, will continue to be in-person, with COVID Safe 6 guidelines followed.

Midterm Student Feedback on Courses

For this section of the update, I’m going to shamelessly copy text from a message Catherine Bradbury sent out to folks in HEHS, because it says all that’s needed: For the midterm course evaluations/feedback this term, we are doing something different. To allow for more meaningful feedback in an unusual term, we are not going to run the usual EvaluationKit format at this point (we are also working on revising that format for future terms).

We’re asking that you use the feedback tool on your Moodle site(s) to seek feedback from students. Suggested questions from the Transitional Faculty Council group:

Think about your experience in this course – so far…

  • What is working for you?
  • What is not working for you?
  • What do you wish was happening?
  • What do you need to help you succeed?

Think about your experience in this course (inspired by Stephen Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire)…

  • At what moment did you feel most engaged with what was happening?
  • At what moment were you most distanced from what was happening?
  • What action that anyone (instructor, student, yourself) took was most affirming or helpful?
  • What action that anyone took was most puzzling or confusing?
  • What has surprised you the most?

You are welcome to use either set, or a combination of both, and tweak if you think it works better.

Faculties and Faculty Councils

Late last month, Transitional Faculty Council met to consider an interim plan for faculties and faculty councils. The outcome of that discussion is the following 3-point plan:

  1. As an interim measure, YukonU’s current academic divisions should be converted into YukonU faculties;
  2. The resulting faculties of Applied Arts and Applied Science and Management should, as one of their first orders of business, organize and develop terms of reference for their respective faculty councils; and
  3. This organization of faculties and faculty councils will be in place for a 3-year period, with a mandatory evaluation to take place no later than 1 year prior to the end of this period; the evaluation will include the option for faculty councils to propose new faculty structures for the Board to consider.

This plan will go to Senate this month for consideration; TFC is asking Senate to recommend the plan to the Board. Pending Senate’s response, the plan would then move on to the Board for approval.

COVID & the 2020-21 Budget

I know this topic has already been brought up at some school meetings, but please note that budgets across the institution were reduced substantially over the summer months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The adjustments were mainly done in response to projected drops in student enrolments and, from there, revenues from domestic and international tuition. We are already running into challenges stemming from the reductions, so the overarching message is to please plan on a no-frills academic year and feel free to send questions about it my way.

Maddison Chair Lecture

Dr. Wade Davis (UBC) will be giving a Maddison Chair Lecture at the end of this month. The event will take place 12:15-1:15 pm on Oct. 30, via Zoom. Dr. Davis will be speaking to his Rolling Stone article “The Unraveling of America”—a timely topic amid the COVID pandemic and on the eve of the American presidential election. YukonU will be sending out details on how to sign up as a participant shortly.

Zero-Base Budgeting for 2021-22

The budget development process for next year is going to be different for two reasons: (1) we’re doing zero-base budgeting and (2) our fiscal year will begin on April 1, 2021 and end on March 31, 2022, to align ourselves better with the Territorial and Federal fiscal years. In terms of building budgets from zero up (instead of budgeting to an arbitrary target), we’re obligated to provide more detail up front about why we need the budget we say we need than we’ve provided in previous years–which creates challenges on a tight timeline for sure. Just a heads up, then, that’s it’s likely you’ll have an administrative officer, dean or chair near you reaching out for info as we peer into our crystal balls over the next two weeks.

That’s all I can think of for now. 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.

Take care,