Provost and VP Academic James Mandigo reminded me of an important anniversary this week: it has been three months since UFV made the rapid switch to remote learning and working. Since then we have marked the transition from winter to spring, and this weekend we’ll welcome summer.
The summer solstice is also the time we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. Looking through the photos of last year’s event reminds me of how much we’re missing these community celebrations and I’m feeling a sense of loss. In a poignant post on the President’s blog, Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs Shirley Swelchalot Hardman tells a story about the loss of a name, and reminds us of the difference between learning about and learning from Indigenous people.
Speaking of celebrations we’re missing this year, the decision to postpone Convocation ceremonies left a giant hole last week where this beloved UFV tradition would have been. I sent my greetings by video to UFV grads last Tuesday, and then I hit the road to preserve some of that spirit of celebration. As our grads receive their parchments and celebration packages in the mail next week, watch our social media and blogs to take part in virtual mini-celebrations of UFV’s class of 2020.
And of course Pride month has been another important time for celebration and commemoration by the members and allies of UFV’s LGTBQ2+ community. With the entire country talking about systemic racism and injustice, Associate Professor in Kinesiology Joanna Sheppard has written a powerful post about what it means to observe Pride month in a time of solidarity.
I believe strongly that as the centre of higher learning for the Fraser Valley, UFV has a responsibility to be a catalyst for change that will lead to a more just society. I am committed to ensuring that UFV lives up to that responsibility. And as part of that commitment, I plan to take part in the discussion hosted by the Race Anti-racism Network on Monday. You can find out more and register here.
Finally, I am hosting a virtual town hall for faculty and staff next Wednesday so that we can connect and share some important information before the summer break. We’ll be using Zoom Webinar for this event, which will allow a greater number of people to participate in real time than the meeting version of Zoom. You need to register in order to receive the participation details and if you can’t attend in real time but would like to submit a question, you can do that through the registration form. A recording of the town hall will be provided after the event.
Happy Father’s Day to all our UFV dads! Be well, stay safe and take good care of each other,
Joanne MacLean, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor