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This is a marathon, not a sprint

Letter to the College of Arts community

Dear Colleagues,  

As we begin the second week of distance education (in the many forms that’s taking) I am writing to thank all of the staff, faculty, post doctoral fellows, graduate students, teaching assistants and undergraduates for your imagination, generosity, and hard work that has made this emergency transition possible.  

As you all know, we are part of a global effort to “flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19. With the recent declaration of a state of emergency in Guelph and the end of all but essential work in Ontario, we are now at a stage where the College of Arts has no one working on campus. For most of us that has meant a move to working from home using Teams, WebEx, conference calls and other tools.  We are all teaching and working in different ways often while juggling family responsibilities and  unusual and varying levels of anxiety.  

I want you to know that the deans and the associate deans are all working closely with other members of the senior administration team, with the deans’ office staff, and with chairs and directors. We are meeting daily to chart our route through the many decisions that need to be made, to communicate our plans, and to listen to the concerns of our communities.  

This isn’t easy. I know that. I’m someone who works best on campus with her door open and I thrive on conversations and coffee with those who stop by. I’m glad that our understanding has shifted from social distancing to physical distancing. Likewise, instead of thinking of this time in terms of a retreat to our homes, I feel better thinking of it as a giant team exercise in social solidarity and community in the face of severe obstacles. Still, I miss my work office and my College of Arts community. I am trying to be patient with myself as we work our way through the rapid changes in lives and our workplaces. I ask you to do the same with yourselves. We won’t be as productive and that’s going to be okay.   

Please continue to use the University of Guelph’s COVID-19 website for information about the University’s response to the  pandemic. We know that there will be longer term implications for students, faculty and staff because of the current work disruptions. As the senior admin team keep reminding each other, “this is a marathon, not sprint.”   

We are working together to get through this. Please stay in touch with one another, with the associate deans, with your chairs and directors, and with me.  

Best, Samantha

Follow the College of Arts on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. You can follow my blog here, https://deaning.uoguelph.ca/.
If you are looking for joyful things to do in a time of physical but not social distancing, check out the College of Arts list of activities, https://www.uoguelph.ca/arts/artsy.
Miss you all!

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