Welcome Back: Health, Happiness and the Joy of Dreams Coming True
The Director General Richard Filion set the stage at his annual January address for a semester of new challenges, new consultation and continuing work in the pursuit of the academic mission as the College welcomes students on January 18 for the Winter session. Read his full address below.
WELCOME BACK ADDRESS – JANUARY 17, 2018
I would like to extend to each and every one my very best wishes for the New Year. May 2018 be filled with health, happiness and the joy of seeing some of your cherished dreams come true.
To all those who have recently become members of the Dawson community as part of our faculty and staff, I extend my warmest welcome. I hope you will enjoy working at Dawson as much as we do in pursuing our mission to educate students.
We at Dawson embrace a very generous understanding of this educational mission. We believe education can make a real difference in people’s lives, especially at this time when, from the other side of the border, basic values of civilization are under attack and being redefined without too much subtlety or nuance.
As stated at the forefront of our strategic planning document, we see our mission as being one that is transformational. By giving our students the very best learning opportunities, associated with the highest standards, we seek to educate, enrich and engage them to become fully responsible citizens contributing to the best of their capacities to the making of a better world.
Needless to say, this is a high-level educational ideal, and even more so in this adversarial period. But we are not giving up!
The strategic directions we have set for the College for the period 2016-2021 are now well underway. As planning goes, we are now in the phase where we are evaluating and benchmarking some of the key components of our activities. We do so in order to gather relevant information that will help to consolidate and further develop our capacities to provide appropriate support to the various stakeholders.
Seeking feedback on classroom design and employee satisfaction
In this perspective, you will have to play an important role. There is now a survey online asking for your feedback on classroom design. We seek to get a sense of what we see as being needed in terms of an optimal learning environment. I encourage every faculty member to participate in the survey. The information we gather will serve to guide the discussion and inform the decision-making process related to the transformation of our pedagogical spaces.
Another survey will go out soon directed to all employees.
The Human Resources Department, in collaboration with the Quality Assurance and Planning Office, is conducting an Employee Satisfaction and Engagement Survey to learn about important issues that affect the engagement and satisfaction of Dawson College’s employees.
We are particularly interested in learning about the strengths of Dawson College as a place to work and in identifying areas in need of improvement. The survey is also being conducted to establish a benchmark for Goal # 5 of the Strategic Plan, which is for Dawson College to “be a leading employer dedicated to employee development and engagement.”
Your participation is important, as it would allow us to develop a better, more accurate understanding of issues that affect employee satisfaction, and make the College a better place to work, where well-being for all will be more than wishful thinking.
Legal obligation to formally address sexual violence
In the same vein, we intend to undertake this semester the drafting of a policy to stem sexual violence. There is now a legal obligation that flows from the adoption last Fall, by the National Assembly, of Bill 151 making mandatory for all educational institutions to formally address this issue.
Our Director of Human Resources will be leading this dossier. A steering committee will be struck in the coming weeks that will include the participation of representatives of all categories of employees, plus a representative of the Student Union.
In light of what has been happening recently on the public scene, we should engage in this discussion with a clear determination and a strong commitment to lay out rules and guidelines that will serve to prevent and eradicate unacceptable behaviours in such matters. For an educational milieu, it is a question of ethical norms, not just a question of common sense.
Addressing space deficit represents huge investment and opportunity
One last word on the very important dossier of the space deficit. Over the past months, progress have been made to document and identify the most interesting option for Dawson to make up the missing space. This process has been conducted in close collaboration with the Ministerial officers that are responsible for infrastructure.
Needless to say, this is a labour-intensive and quite complicated file as it is seen as a major project, according to ministerial norms. In fact, it represents the biggest project in the College network’s recent past. From what we have estimated at this point, it could constitute an investment between $75 million and $95 million. Nothing less.
There is still a lot of work to do before getting the final approval for the project from the Conseil des ministres. At this point, we are happy to see that we can count on the Minister of Higher Education’s support, Hélène David, with whom we met yesterday.
We will also have to open the discussion within the College with the main stakeholders to define the pedagogical model in order to take an innovative approach to education in that new facility. These discussions will soon be undertaken.
Although the ultimate resolution of this project may be far from being achieved, one thing is for certain: this is an opportunity for Dawson to implement something that will be avant-garde in terms of pedagogical offering. In doing so, Dawson will be proving itself to be a leading institution in college education, here and abroad.
I wish all of you a fruitful semester in your respective capacities.