Aug. 11, 2020Print | PDF
Staff Development Day is always one of the highlights of our year at Laurier and I am very pleased that we are still able to hold it this year, albeit remotely.
It’s amazing to think that this is our tenth one!
A decade gives us a great opportunity to look back at how this event has evolved from a concept into a highly anticipated part of Laurier’s annual calendar of events.
None of the successes we’ve seen over the years would be possible without the tremendous amount of work done by our outstanding Human Resources team that continues to set the bar higher each year – thank you for all you do.
But this year’s theme isn’t about looking back, it’s about looking forward.
I appreciate the chosen theme of Inspiring Future-Readiness because universities, and I would say Laurier especially, are inherently future-focused institutions.
For our students, our university is a place for them to prepare for a collective future, taking with them all the wisdom about the world, and themselves, they grew into.
And for our employees, this is a place where your professional lives make generous and positive impacts on the lives of countless individuals and communities through our shared missions of teaching & learning, research & scholarship, and outreach.
The idea of future-readiness comes from one of the two core themes of our five-year strategic plan. It is a central tenet of our organization. It is a mindset and culture as much as it is an institutional goal.
Future-readiness is not just about being prepared to face future challenges. It is the development of our individual and collective capacities to adapt, to bring our knowledge and experience to bear as we navigate fluid and unprecedented environments.
Universities are here for the long haul. We think and act in terms of decades and centuries. We make choices and decisions now that we hope couple innovation and resiliency in support not just of today but also of future generations.
This has been no truer than in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic presented us in March with a unique and time-sensitive challenge to educate, virtually, in a rigorous academic environment, thousands of students in hundreds of programs while upholding our promise to deliver an outstanding student experience.
We transitioned the majority of Laurier’s workforce from being on campus to working from home as we shuttered academic and administrative offices, research laboratories, the libraries, study halls, computer labs, athletic centres, residences and dining halls.
I commend everyone for the speed with which you adapted to an entirely new situation, and for the creativity, ingenuity, and dedication with which you have made this uniquely challenging time as successful as possible for our students and your colleagues.
I recognize that this has been not been an easy time—child and family care, health concerns, challenges at home and at work, focus on social and employment inequities due to racism, and anxieties about the uncertainties of the present and future—have all added up to a heavy five months. I am grateful for all that everyone has been able to contribute to the resiliency and future success of our institution during this period.
This September will be one like no other. There will be new challenges and new opportunities and continued uncertainty. We don’t yet have answers to many questions like when might all be back together on our campuses. But I am fully optimistic that through collaboration and a focus on building our thriving community we will be successful.
The extraordinary ability you have shown to work together on short-term and long-term challenges, even while we are working apart, is a key driver of future-readiness at Laurier. We are building tomorrow’s legacy today.
I hope you all have an excellent experience during this year’s Staff Development Day.
Thank you all again for your ongoing interest in investing in your enduring skills, at being open to innovation and creativity and change, as we work together to prepare Laurier, our people, and our communities for the future.
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