This week, the Faculty of Science formally launched its Community 2022 initiative, which is aimed at helping faculty, staff and students reconnect in person and support the return to a more robust on-campus presence.
“At the beginning of this term, we conducted a survey asking our community to outline what supports they most needed to reconnect with their Faculty of Science community members for a successful return to campus,” says Faculty of Science Dean Rui Wang. “Many expressed a sense of disconnection stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the community feedback, we collectively created this Faculty-wide, year-long initiative.”
Survey respondents overwhelmingly asked for more opportunities to connect in person within the Faculty, according to Melissa Hughes, senior advisor, Strategic Engagement & Policy in the Faculty of Science. “Our community also wanted more streamlined access to information on health and well-being and University policies related to COVID-19, seminars on research office policies and procedures and hybrid remote work, and improved technological supports for teaching.”
The Dean’s Office kicked off this community reconnection initiative with a Faculty-wide barbecue for the start of the fall semester. For some faculty and staff hired during the pandemic, it was their first time meeting colleagues in person; for others, it was an emotional reunion with colleagues they hadn’t seen since 2020.
The Community 2022 website, launched on Tuesday, Nov. 1, features events and supports for faculty, staff and students:
- Events for social reconnection amongst faculty, staff and students, including Faculty-wide social gatherings open to faculty, staff, and graduate students, a monthly Dean’s Luncheon, and forthcoming events for undergraduate and graduate students to connect with their peers.
- Initiatives to welcome community members who joined the Faculty during the pandemic, such as guided Faculty of Science tours and a Dean’s Luncheon for new faculty.
- Supports for the return to more robust in-person teaching, with improved access to information on COVID-19 policies and procedures, teaching and learning supports, as well as improved channels to address technology support issues, including a forthcoming information technology roundtable.
- Faculty of Science-led seminars on research office policies and procedures and promotion of University-led seminars to help with the transition to hybrid remote work.
- Promotion of health and well-being through more streamlined access to information on University resources for faculty, staff and students, and forthcoming resources to help instructors support students’ well-being within their courses.
- Upcoming improvements to the physical environment of the Faculty to encourage in-person connection, including a renewed student gathering space, improvements to the staff lunchroom and Dean’s Office reception area, and other improvements as needed.
The initiatives will be rolled out through the 2022-23 academic year. The Community 2022 website will be updated as events and resources are added. Wang notes that the initiatives support and are in alignment with the Faculty’s five-year strategic plan, Science for the Future.
“I want to thank our community for their feedback that informed the creation of this initiative, and for all they bring to their work within the Faculty of Science every day,” says Wang. “Community 2022 builds on our Faculty’s strong sense of belonging, togetherness and commitment to support one another. We are excited to continue building our Faculty of Science community together.”