Deans Message for LFS Community Connects: December 2020

Deans Message for LFS Community Connects: December 2020

With the holidays approaching, I hope you have the chance to take a breather and recharge.

It will indeed be an unusual holiday season. Like many of you, I will not be travelling to celebrate with family, but will sit tight here at home in B.C. Most Decembers, I look forward to travelling back east to Ontario to see my children, in-laws, extended family and to catch up with former colleagues.

As I reflect back on 2020, some thoughts jump out at me:

  • Our LFS students have shown great perseverance, resiliency and patience in adapting to online studies. They’ve been creative at connecting with their peers socially through Wednesday night dinners, and finding new ways to welcome our incoming students.
  • I’ve been so incredibly impressed by the hard work of faculty and staff. They quickly adapted and moved everything online, from teaching curriculum to experiential learning opportunities for our students and the community at large.
  • UBC has pivoted to try and meet the varied health and wellness needs of our students, faculty and staff members during the pandemic. UBC recently announced an extended winter break to provide relief for our undergraduate and graduate students, and to provide more time for instructors to prepare for Term 2.
  • I’ve discovered a sense of connection in simple things, such as 7 a.m. walks with another early-riser, Professor Les Lavkulich.
  • I have become a great fan of audio books, old recordings of programs and podcasts to keep me occupied during my walks. Here are some recommendations from my 2020 listening list:
  • Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance
  • Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version
  • Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace
  • Various replays of CBC’s The Sunday Magazine, especially Michael Enright’s “In conversation with Christopher Hitchens”
  • Various episodes of Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café
  • And importantly, our own podcasts from LFS 400: Audio Storytelling – we have amazing student storytellers!

Like all living beings, we’ve proven that we can adapt to change and I’m sure that you have examples of coping mechanisms that you’ve taken to as well.

Looking ahead, the Faculty continues its strategic planning process. We aim to finalize our strategic plan by the new fiscal year in April 2021, and will be sharing this with our alumni and friends soon afterwards. Stay tuned…

In the meantime, please try to take time away from constant Zooms and recharge. All the best to you this holiday season. Stay safe and well, and here’s to a less challenging 2021!

Rickey Yada
Professor and Dean