After months of grappling with the strange and unprecedented, something ordinary is finally happening: vacation season has arrived at UFV. The frenzied pace of university life in a pandemic is coming down a notch, allowing many of us to turn on our email auto responses and tune out the daily chatter of MS Teams and BlueJeans for a while.
As Maureen and I prepare to take a few weeks off to rest and recharge, I want to ask all of you to make sure you are also finding time to do the same before UFV opens for another challenging term in September. Even if you’re part of our valued staff who keep the heart of UFV beating by working through the summer, I hope you find at least a few days of respite and relaxation.
Before I start my vacation, there are a few things I’d like to share with you. First, I want to thank all of you who participated in our first-ever virtual town hall last week – at the peak of the event there were more than 270 of you watching live. A recording is now available on my blog. We plan to do another virtual town hall in late August – watch your email for details.
As I said during last week’s town hall, the Black Lives Matter protests have brought the issue of systemic racism to the fore in a powerful way. I reiterate my words that we must do better as a society, we must do better as a university, and that we need to acknowledge the problem and work together in making change. In a guest post this week on the President’s blog, Dr. Satwinder Bains depicts the exhaustion of the BIPOC community and why the onus is now on each of us to back up our words with action.
The President’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is working hard to develop an action plan that integrates EDI into everything we do. This work is not a checkbox exercise. It is challenging, yet rewarding and necessary as we examine ourselves, our biases and our power dynamics. Currently, institutional-level structures and processes are being developed to support implementation and cross-campus learning, as well as accountability for the goals and actions in the plan. Stay tuned for more information and for the official launch of the action plan. I am committed to this work and I look forward to continuing this journey with the UFV community.
And finally, I sign off with a link to the recent virtual celebrations of our 2020 graduates. It’s a joyful reminder of why we’re all here.
Have a safe and restful month, and I’ll speak with you all again in August.
Joanne MacLean, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor