President's Corner is a regular column from President Deep Saini.
Dear Dalhousie Community,
I hope you all had a restful Heritage Day and winter study break. Personally, I was able to take some vacation time last week, which gave me the opportunity — and privilege — to shut down, stay away from email, catch up on sleep, exercise every day and clear away some mental clutter. Frankly, I hadn’t realized how much I needed this time to recharge and reflect.
On Monday, I shared a memo with Dalhousie’s senior leaders that issued a call-to-action for all of us to remember the impact that a prolonged virtual work environment is having on our people. While I shared this specifically with our leadership team, given their positions of influence, it’s a message worth repeating.
For more than a year now, we have watched the pandemic change the world in ways that we never thought possible. We are also fast approaching a full year of having our own lives altered dramatically here at home. While we have been very lucky in Nova Scotia, the pandemic and its ripple effects have still loomed over us continuously. To say that this has not been easy would be a gross understatement. And while we are each bearing different burdens, I know that all in our community are facing challenges. Especially as we face the coldest weeks of winter here in the Maritimes, I recognize that many are struggling.
Some of the tangible things I encouraged our senior leaders to focus on are to be conscious of meetings, keeping them short and effective and cancelling meetings that aren’t really needed; leading by example and championing wellness among their people; and checking in with their team members, offering ways to support their needs.
With vaccination underway and warmer months ahead, I am hopeful and optimistic. But we must remain vigilant — and perhaps most importantly — we must remain kind.
Please continue to look out for one another, be patient with one another, and keep the unique struggles that others may be facing front-of-mind in your interactions with your colleagues, your students or your professors.
Be kind to yourselves as well. Maybe some days aren’t as productive as you had hoped for. Maybe your patience is wearing thin. Maybe you’re tired. It’s understandable. Please do what you can to find the time and space to take care of yourself. If there’s a way the university can help you with this, let us know.
Let me be clear and direct about this: we support you. We understand that you are each navigating unique circumstances that might require different types of supports. It’s ok to ask for help if you need it. Your health and your family are always more important than your to-do list.
Thank you for your continued compassion. It is truly making a difference.