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Interim President’s Friday Message

Updated on Mar 19
Tags: students, all updates

“Millions of small acts”

March 11 was the one-year anniversary of the declaration of a global pandemic, and the national day of observance commemorating those who have died from the effects of the COVID-19 virus.

This past Tuesday, the 16th, marked one year to the day that the University suspended most on-campus operations and transitioned to remote course delivery.

Much has been said about the dedication and resilience of faculty, staff, and students during that transition, and indeed throughout the year that has followed it. Your efforts have been magnificent, and they are appreciated deeply.

This morning, however, I want to acknowledge the struggles that some members of the campus community have spoken of since the pandemic arrived. Those struggles are many: working from home while balancing childcare and eldercare responsibilities; facing the fear and uncertainty that accompanied the pandemic's arrival; supporting family and friends whose livelihoods were interrupted or lost as businesses shuttered; coping with isolation, loneliness, stress, and depression - and much more.

In our individual ways, each of us reacted to stresses unlike any we had previously known. Some were able to adjust quickly, while others struggled, frequently in multiple ways. It has not been easy for them. To those who have known fear and anxiety, I want you to know that we care for you, and appreciate all that you have done - collectively, “millions of small acts” - to persevere through this strange, disorienting, and exigent year.

As we look with hope to a post-pandemic future, allow me again to quote one of my favourite contemporary observers, Liverpool professor Joe Moran, as he writes of a campus once again bustling with people, a “collective organism”:

It houses not just students and lecturers but also office staff, cleaners, counsellors, caterers, librarians, accountants. Inside its classrooms you find people talking about contract law or King Lear, or singing in gospel choirs, or rehearsing plays, or kneeling on prayer mats, or lying on yoga mats. The people and the buildings come together in millions of small acts that make up an intricate, evolving, collective organism. A university is as full of human virtues, quirks and flaws, and as difficult to summarize, as a small town.

When it is safe to do so, we will again come together as an “intricate, evolving, collective organism” that animates our campuses, gives rhythm to our days and weeks, and - most importantly - allows us once again to know a vibrant campus life.


Quick notes

  • ... this week, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education Christie Schultz successfully defended her doctoral dissertation in educational policy studies at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on experiences and practices of leadership in higher education, care ethics in leadership, and qualitative research methodologies, especially narrative inquiry. Congratulations, Christie ...
  • ... Our alumni make tremendous contributions to their communities in countless fields of endeavour in Saskatchewan, across Canada, and indeed around the world. It is important to celebrate and honour our own, so I encourage you to consider nominating someone for the 2021 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards. Nominations are open until 30 April ...
  • ... and finally, throughout the week students from the Paul J. Hill School of Business have been participating virtually in their 12th annual “5 Days for the Homeless” campaign. “5 Days for the Homeless” raises funds for Carmichael Outreach, an organization providing services to those in Regina who experience poverty and homelessness. Today is the final day of the campaign; please consider donating – and thank you to these community-minded students!


Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor