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 |  Tags: students, Change, covid19

Véronique Bélinge
Véronique Bélinge
Professional Development Coordinator

We are now midway through the summer break. As many of you are about to start their next summer class or a new part-time job, our leaders here at the Student Services Centre are finally able to catch a breath after a grueling period of adaptation. At the Telfer Undergrad Office as in the business world, crucial decisions had to be made, and contingency plans had to be implemented. This week, two of our esteemed colleagues are sharing their insights on change, creativity, and resilience.

Matt Archibald, Director, Student Services Centre

Q. As Director, Student Services Centre, has your role been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
If so, how?

A. My role has not been significantly impacted in terms of the responsibilities, but the approach is certainly much different!  The last few months have required a thoughtful effort to communicate as much as possible with team members, students, professors, and our external community. We are adapting well to the use of virtual platforms to connect us!

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to all newly admitted Telfer students as they prepare to embark on their university journey in a virtual setting, what would it be?

A. Your strong study habits that admitted you into this competitive program will help as you embark on the university journey. Don’t hesitate to ask questions as there are many services available to guide you in this new environment. And enjoy the experience!

Q. As a leader, what do you think are the three key elements organizations and individuals alike need to cultivate to successfully navigate change and uncertainty? Could you give us an example based on what your own team has implemented?

A. Communication, feedback, and flexibility. We have found a way to keep a positive attitude in the light of current changes and we are educating ourselves on how we adapt. Our team has been excellent at creating short videos to support students on various topics from registration of courses to networking at upcoming events. We are also engaging in social media platforms to engage incoming students. It has been remarkable to see our adaptability!

Q. In six weeks, we will be “back to school”. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the Telfer community?

A. We are here for you!  We pride ourselves on the #TelferNation experience and we are proud of our community!  Do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions or feedback.  We look forward to working with you in this new environment!

 

Esther Ouellet, Academic Administrator

Q. As Academic Administrator, has your role been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
If so, how?

A. The pandemic has not changed my role nor my responsibilities per se. However, I had to adapt my strategies, especially in terms of team management. Supervising a team remotely comes with many challenges, since we cannot access our colleagues constantly and directly. Communication is truly important. I’ve created more frequent sharing opportunities for my team and I, and I’m setting short, impromptu meetings as often as I can, just to see where each of my colleagues is, understand their personal challenges and successes, and discuss the best ways to support them.

Q. As a leader, what do you think are the three key elements organizations and individuals alike need to cultivate to successfully navigate change and uncertainty? Could you give us an example based on what your own team has implemented?

A. Flexibility, goal-based output, and opportunity development. We need to understand that normal work hours cannot apply to just everyone in the same way, especially when working in the presence of young children. But when a team sets specific goals and clear deadlines, it can remain efficient AND flexible enough to determine the when and how. Change disrupts work, but it also drives growth and can be an opportunity to change processes, like by implementing new tools and new ways of interacting with each other and with our students.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to all newly admitted Telfer students as they prepare to embark on their university journey in a virtual setting, what would it be?

A. I would give them the same advice I give students who start their studies on campus: develop your soft skills. The best students are not necessarily those who have a memory like an elephant or who can adapt to just anything. The best students are those who understand the importance of time management, personal organization, stress management, and a balanced lifestyle. And if they do not possess those skills already, I would tell them to come see us! Our mentors can help them in their development.

Q. In six weeks, we will be “back to school”. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the Telfer community?

A. It’s summer, and we are working from home. We are lining through historic events, and we may never experience this again. So let’s be prudent, let’s help each other out, and let’s make the most of it!


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