Meeting in person for the first time since January 2020, the community was invited to attend the Director General and Academic Dean’s welcome back general assembly and lunch on Aug. 17. Nearly 500 people participated for what was also the first time Diane Gauvin and Rob Cassidy were able to convene the traditional Fall meeting since they took office in January and August 2021, respectively.
Space deficit concerns grow
The Director General updated the community on the space deficit and the measures being taken to address it in view of the cancellation of the infrastructure project last winter/spring. Several options are being explored and discussed at the Ministry level. As Diane said, the space deficit is expected to become more serious given revisions to ministerial programs, and of course, expected changes to conform to Bill 96.
Specifics of Bill 96 impact remain unclear
On Bill 96, the Director General gave a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate how the new legislation could affect the College curriculum. Although each scenario came to the same conclusion, that nothing is determined, as discussions with the Ministry are ongoing. One thing is certain, however, the directors general of English-language colleges are committed to safeguarding student success, the integrity of the college curriculum and to maintaining stable staffing levels.
“The strength and resolve of our community to fulfill the needs of the next generation’s demand for education to be better prepared to participate in an international work environment remains our greatest asset in spite of what some may wish,” she said.
Top international prize for sustainability
She shared the very good news about the Green Gown Award that named Dawson Sustainability Institution of the Year by the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education in recognition for its sustainability programs. The announcement got a huge round of applause for the community’s collective efforts and the leadership of Chris Adam and Jennifer De Vera of the Sustainability Office.
“The Green Gown Awards has given Dawson international recognition, she added. “This was especially remarkable because we were up against 56 finalists, many from much larger universities with huge budgets, from 19 countries around the world.”
“We must stand together”
Her remarks included an update on the progress on the work-from-home policy and a new mental health policy to be formulated for both students and employees, as mandated by the Quebec government.
She concluded by reminding the gathering that Dawson is a special place, due to its mission and achievements. The last year has been challenging, but she said, “we must remain undaunted. And united. We must stand together.”
Faculty Hub and DALC going strong
Academic Dean Rob Cassidy also mentioned the challenging year and the atmosphere of uncertainty, but was quick to point out the many positive accomplishments of the year. Among them, the Faculty Hub that continues to offer a wealth of engaging resources for faculty to explore in their teaching practice.
Rob made special mention of DALC’s 10th anniversary and the work of Liz Charles, Chris Whittaker and Selma Hamdani. The anniversary has been widely covered in previous issues of D News. A video is also available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/716202312/9246c0d905
In closing, Rob expressed the hope that “we can get back to being present for each other and revitalize the community spirit that is Dawson.”
Both the Director General and the Academic Dean were effusive in their thanks to the employees, particularly in FAMA and IST, who had taken little to no vacation over the summer to prepare the College for the return to classes last week.