Here we are at mid-March and I find myself pining for longer and sunnier days as winter should be winding down. Yet we find ourselves re-shoveling driveways and, again, creating huge winter berms.
First and foremost, I want to update everyone on Bargaining.
All but two of our 13-member institutions have concluded and ratified collective agreements. Keyano and Lakeland colleges will resume their individual bargaining processes and I am hopeful they will come to terms before the end of next month.
I am looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces at the ACIFA Conference in May at the Chateau Lake Louise. For me, this will really be a time of decompression and a new learning opportunity. I am confident that the conference will offer something of value to all who choose to attend the event.
The "new normal"
The New Year began a little unstable for most faculty, as the Christmas break didn’t really offer many people any new or positive news regarding the post-COVID return to work. It seems this "new normal" is still somewhat unclear for most of the administrators of our Institutions.
Our “new normal” includes many of the new and excited students, who have spent the lion's share of their high school years in a virtual world of learning and have truly missed out on the social experiences. Those years normally prepare the students for the next phase of education: the post-secondary world. I truly feel the pain of these missed opportunities as they are not quite sure what to expect, nor do they get any sense of expectations placed upon them in the adult education world.
As I take some time to reflect at the mid-point of this academic year, I recognize that many of us in the post-secondary world - including support staff and students - are exposed to some level of uncertainty. Whether its elder-care issues, mental health and well being issues, child-care issues, job uncertainty and precarious employment, the new emerging issues with Artificial Intelligence, and even global supply chain issues, I see they are all the after effects of shutting down the provincial economy to protect against a global pandemic.
If nothing else, the pandemic has accelerated our respective institutions' long term plans by five to seven years as they struggle with infrastructure upgrades that will surely be needed to keep pace.
The ray of sunshine is that we simply got through this the best we could and we all should be proud of the fact that we have persevered. And as time passes, this sadly will be forgotten by those who come after us - those who will replace us in the world of instruction.
I would dare say, our faculty have gone above and beyond to ensure the youth of this province who attend our colleges and institutes, are successful as they embark on their own journeys of life long learning.
Finally, if you haven’t heard a “thank you” or “You're doing a great job” from your supervisors or managers, then let me be the first to say those words to you in 2023:
Best regards and always in solidarity with membership.