Eduvation Blog

A Wellness Break

Good morning!

I’m busy prepping for a college leadership retreat, a conference keynote and a conference panel, all within the next day – so I’m going to take Santa Ono’s advice, and be kind to myself, by rerunning some digests on the theme of wellness and life balance from back in July, #ICYMI (or you could just use the refresher).

“Be easy on yourself. Forgive yourself if you make a mistake… Give yourself permission for it not to be perfect.”Santa Ono, President & Vice-Chancellor, UBC

There is a bit of news, though, that I will share today too…

Cases on Campus

CdnPSE announced 23 more cases (new to me at least) since yesterday…

uCalgary reports 20 positive cases on campus in the past 14 days (making a total of 28 since September – not counting the major outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre adjacent to campus, which sparked at least 86 infections, killed 11 patients, and put 313 workers into isolation.)  uCalgary

Durham College reports 2 new, unrelated, cases of COVID19 at the Whitby and Oshawa campus. (I think that makes 22 cases this fall.)  DC

St Lawrence College reported yesterday that a second student from the Kingston campus has tested positive. (By my count that makes 6 cases at SLC this fall.)  SLC

And in the “future cases likely” category…

London ON Police have charged 3 teens for hosting a large house party Friday night in downtown, just off Richmond Row (popular with students at Western U). Reportedly 100 people were in attendance, with few wearing masks. Police also report they broke up “another large gathering in the northeast end of the city” (which would be closer to Fanshawe College). Globe & Mail

CdnPSE Updates

Newly-announced red zones in MB and ON have caused some institutions to adjust campus dining and fitness facilities, and several Christian colleges to suspend in-person classes entirely…

Emily Carr U has updated plans for its Spring 2021 term (beginning January): like the fall term, 70% of courses will be delivered entirely online, and the remaining 30% will be hybrid.  ECUAD

McMaster U has responded to the implementation of a Red Zone in Hamilton by imposing a limit of 10 people per lunch room, food court, meeting room or common area. No further changes to research or teaching protocols are required at this time.  McMaster

Providence UC (in Otterburne MB) is suspending in-person classes, as has Steinbach Bible College and Canadian Mennonite U. Southern Manitoba has been declared a red zone for COVID19. Winnipeg Free Press

Providence UC also announced this week that course delivery in its winter 2021 semester will be “in a variety of formats” including in-person as the PHO allows.  Prov

Ryerson U has provided an update that remote work “will continue until at least the end of April 2021.”  Ryerson


Back in July, a number of campus leaders were emphasizing the importance of work-life balance and wellness to their employees, working from home…

UoGuelph is now also encouraging “meeting-free Fridays” (and weekends) throughout the summer, on which staff should avoid scheduling meetings or sending non-critical emails. Some staff are taking vacation days on Fridays, while some units are closed Fridays as part of a 4-day work week. UoGuelph

Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi announced new university-wide practices to support employee wellbeing and encourage WFH work/life balance. All meetings are to be booked in increments of 50 min or less, are to conclude by 6pm, and only urgent meetings are to be scheduled on Fridays for the remainder of the summer. Emails are not to be sent after 7pm or on weekends unless urgent. All employees have an extra “Ryerson Recharge” vacation day to be taken before Sept 4. Ryerson

Sheridan president Janet Morrison shared New Zealand’s “5 Ways to Wellbeing” model with students, which is her “personal recipe” to keep striving to flourish during the pandemic: Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Give (or volunteer, be kind, express gratitude), and Take Notice.  Sheridan

York U president Rhonda Lenton wrote the campus community to announce that the senior leadership team has implemented new measures to limit all meetings to 50 minutes or less, and schedule them within core business hours (8:30am-4:30pm and concluding no later than 6pm). Emails should not be sent after 7pm or on weekends unless urgent, and there should be no expectation that recipients will read them until the next business day. Lunch hours (12:30-1:30pm) shall be “meeting-free” for the remainder of the summer. And employees are encouraged to schedule “focused time” in their calendars for paperwork and major projects. “I am asking all senior administrators and managers to practice the measures outlined above while demonstrating flexibility and understanding.” York

Wellness Tips

Although I have a stack of new stuff to digest for you, for now what I can offer is this research piece from mid-May…

Give Yourself a (Micro)Break!

When you still worked in an office, you didn’t just take your scheduled lunch hour and coffee breaks: you took unconscious breaks to walk between meetings, grab coffee or a printout, or for a serendipitous conversation with co-workers. These “microbreaks” are important when you WFH too, says a uCalgary postdoc, to enhance productivity, accuracy, and mental health. Take more time for exercise, a breath of fresh air, and to practice mindfulness. uCalgary

The Power of Contemplation

This summer, most academics are overwhelmed with logistics as they redesign courses for an uncertain Fall term. James Lang observes, “We are facing wicked problems, mostly alone, and we need solutions in a hurry. Yet in the push to find them this summer, it’s easy to lose sight of something else we need: the passion that animates our teaching in normal circumstances and lights the fires of inspiration in our students.” As an English professor, Lang naturally recommends reading literature to help you shape and understand your life. “Try to make at least a little space this summer for the contemplative learning that drew us into the life of the mind. We will most certainly need that passion to sustain us in the coming months.” Chronicle


Have a great day, be safe and stay well!


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