Welcome, all, to the New term, and the New school year!
We are moving into a new year that requires us, more than ever before, to think about what community and collegiality mean.
To think about what appropriate forms of care, compassion, kindness, and caution mean, in the context of a global pandemic.
To think about the forms of accountability we are called to, especially at New College, at a critical juncture for thinking about decolonial and anti-racist practice, and challenges to anti-Black and Indigenous violence.
To think about what it means to support each other, in being and becoming creative and loving, independent and intimate, inter-dependent and questioning.
I applaud the work done by the front-line workers at the College this summer—those who worked at and in the front desk, facilities, care-taking, and technical support for the College, and the resident and student life staff and dining staff workers who supported students in residence throughout the summer.
I am impressed by the students, who are finding ingenious ways to connect with each other, and reach out to us. We want to hear from you! Please reach out—to others in your classes, to instructors, to the residence and student life staff, to registrars, to librarians, to the writing centre. We have all put plans in place to connect online.
I honour the work done to continue to reach out to students in residence and commuting (often on-line, often enough, from abroad) this fall, including in a novel one-month long virtual orientation.
I am awed by the work done by all of our instructors, in preparing in novel ways for online and dual-delivery instruction, and for those in the library, writing centre, technical support and vice principal’s office, who supported this work. I’ve heard about many successes this week. About how challenging, but often how emotional, it is for us to connect to each other this year. About how we can see why our work in education matters, as we see how hard everyone is trying to make it work. About some glitches we need to work on—we’ll get there. We are here to continue to support you, as we all work on figuring this out together.
I recognize the extraordinary work done by the registrar’s office, booking many hours of over-time, in order to support close to 2000 requests from student for COVID-related support, and to help students sort through rapidly changing processes for registration in classes that ranged from dual-delivery, to synchronous, to asynchronous.
We are aware of what we are missing. I miss you. I miss seeing you at orientation, at our usual end of summer and beginning of the fall gatherings, at principals’ lunches, in the hallways, and in the quad. I even (!) miss committee meetings.
We will stay connected. We will soon share detailed updates on work done during the summer, and what the fall brings, in the newsletter, in New College Council meetings (always open, to everyone, and a critical site for exchanges in a complex year), and in an on-line welcome event for faculty & staff. to conne