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Interim President's Friday Message

Updated on Oct 16
Tags: community, all updates

Fall Convocation

In a normal year, members of the University of Regina community – including graduands, their family and friends, and faculty and staff – would at this very moment be preparing for a Fall Convocation ceremony at the Conexus Arts Centre.

Of course, 2020 is not a normal year, and the COVID-19 pandemic prevents us from celebrating our graduates with a traditional in-person ceremony. As was the case with Spring Convocation in June, this is disappointing. But it in no way diminishes the achievements of those who are about to graduate.

Rather, it highlights the adaptability, resilience, and determination of students who experienced an historic disruption to the final year of their programs, but persevered to overcome the challenge. It is also a testament to the dedication of faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly over the past seven months to ensure that students progress in their studies.

I wish to thank those who have put so much work into the virtual celebration of the University’s 47th annual Fall Convocation. And above all, I wish to congratulate our graduates. We are proud of your achievements as University of Regina students, and look forward to seeing what you will accomplish as University of Regina alumni.

New CCE program aims to help businesses affected by COVID-19

With COVID-19 having had a devastating effect on many organizations across our province, the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) is offering a new Business Essentials Program to help Saskatchewan businesses cope with the circumstances of the pandemic.

Designed for small- and medium-sized businesses, the program will provide both employers and employees with strategies in areas such as change management, innovation, stress management, and resilience. It begins on 22 October, and will be offered again in the Winter term.

Christie Schultz, Director of CCE, recently discussed the program in a five-minute CBC interview.

Thank you to everyone involved in developing and delivering the program. It is a wonderful example of how the University of Regina serves the community through education and public engagement.

Easing the disruption of COVID-19

Dr Gord Asmundson, professor of clinical psychology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), provides another great example of how universities can help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

In April, the RSC established a Task Force on COVID-19 that includes 11 working groups in areas such as mental health, economic recovery, and Indigenous health and wellbeing. Dr Asmundson is a member of the mental health working group.

Last week, the RSC published a policy brief written by Dr Asmundson and his colleagues in the mental health working group. Titled “Easing the Disruption of COVID-19: Supporting the Mental Health of the People of Canada,” the document makes 21 recommendations to improve the mental well-being of Canadians in light of the pandemic.

Thanks to Gord and his colleagues for their continuing contributions to people’s wellbeing!

Finding good in adversity, the power of humour, and rolling with the punches

Gord’s investigation into COVID-related stresses has received international attention, and was featured in the Leader-Post last week. He notes that “where there’s adversity, there’s also opportunity.” Among the positive effects of COVID-related stress highlighted by his research findings are “stronger appreciation for family and friends; better appreciation for the value of one’s own life ... [and] more compassion for others.”

And then there’s humour. The Guardian carries a report on the work of Stanford academics Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonis, whose new book Humor, Seriously argues that laughter is especially powerful in times like those we now face.

Laughing often, they write, is physically and mentally good for us. Bagdonis notes that “some people believe this is too serious a time to laugh .... but this is when we need humour more than ever.”

So — since a good laugh clearly does not go amiss — take the opportunity to watch CTV Regina weather anchor Warren Dean rolling with the punches as he reacts to persistent technical glitches on a live broadcast. Warren, kudos for a virtuoso performance!

Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor