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Reflections from Dr. Glenn Moulaison

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glenn moulaisonLast Wednesday was Administrative Professional Day, and I missed it. The next day, as early as I could, I sent an apologetic note to my office staff and to the administrative assistants of my fifteen Departments, all of whom are working from home. Most of them hadn’t realized it had been Administrative Professional Day. They were too busy to notice. They had missed it too.

And that’s how it’s been for the past few weeks at The University of Winnipeg. I’m sure the situation is the same at other Manitoban and Canadian postsecondary institutions. We’re too busy to notice normal things right now. Every day seems to be the same day.

Apparently, the weather is nice. Apparently, the Red River is cresting. Apparently, Dustin Byfuglien and the Jets are parting ways. And has the Slurpee title been announced? Did I miss that too?

The old normal is gone.

The new normal is everyone receiving and sending emails early in the morning and late at night. The new normal is Chairs and faculty members looking for ways to offer the best possible learning experience to students, many of whom are hoping to graduate. The new normal is scrambling to meet all sorts of deadlines—most of them unreasonable—communicating with uncommunicative colleagues, keeping delicate research projects viable.

Actually, the new normal sort of looks like the old normal. It’s business as usual for us at The University of Winnipeg, except for the fact that we have more business than usual. We’re trying to increase supply given the massive increase in demand.

Students stuck at home want to take courses. Students facing reduced employment opportunities want to take courses. Students thinking the best way out of this situation is to pursue their education want to take courses.

Many of us are trying to get more business done with “co-workers”—dependents, in-laws, siblings—who are trying to get their own business done. My administrative professionals, my Department Chairs, my faculty members, are working harder now than they ever have. I appreciate all that they do to get our not-so-normal normal business done.

And speaking of Zoom. That’s not business as usual, and definitely more work. But it does allow one—so I’m told by a friend—to attend Senate and cook supper at the same time. I just wish there would still be sandwiches left in the waiting room when I got there.

And lastly, I really need a haircut, and what day is it today?...

SUBMITTED BY:

Dr. Glenn Moulaison, Dean of Arts, The University of Winnipeg