Our Support Staff
The year 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of the pandemic. In a University setting, it is normal to think first about the impact of the pandemic on teaching and research. However, the effects were no less drastic on the administrative staff, who had to reinvent their services in order to continue to support our students and faculty. Throughout the Faculty, in the various offices, centres and secretariats, our staff adapted to serving clients virtually, continuing to answer questions and offer guidance to students and professors who struggled to adjust to their new reality.
As always, our IT team came through for the rest of us. The last to leave campus and the first to come back whenever they were needed, they made sure that we all remained fully functional while working remotely. To that end, they distributed iPads, laptops, screens, and many other types of IT equipment. In a matter of weeks, they made the IT labs accessible to students at a distance. While they continued to update existing applications, they also developed new applications, such as the program to convert student marks into an S/NS format, which benefitted the entire University.
The HR team also had an extraordinary year. As uncertainty and anxiety due to COVID rose to an all-time high, the HR team put in place many new initiatives such as town halls, HR bulletins, surveys, and equipment loans to boost morale and send positive messages. Despite the demands created by the pandemic, work on special initiatives continued as well. Some notable accomplishments of the past year included the development of new job descriptions to integrate the Institute of the Environment, the hiring of our first mental health specialist, the revision of all the job descriptions in academic units, and the consolidation of HR’s reorganization, which has helped improve and accelerate the processing of promotions and tenure files.
The Marketing and Communications team also had to completely reinvent itself. All events had to be conceived anew and offered in a virtual format. Thanks to their hard work, high-profile annual conferences and seminars, such as those named in honour of Shirley Greenberg, Hubert Marleau, and Shaun Singh, all took place as usual in the same polished manner. The team also worked on virtual recruitment initiatives and virtual convocation ceremonies.
I could not close without mentioning the work done by our Operations team, who ensured that our buildings could continue to stay open and safe for those who needed to come in. Finally, a special thanks to all those in the academic units who so readily volunteered their time and efforts when the Undergraduate Office sent out a call for help with the S/NS updates.
In conclusion, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all our administrative staff, over 100 strong, for their hard work and dedication over the past year. In spite of the increased workload and the less than ideal working environments, you have continued to support the Faculty’s mission of teaching and research. As we look toward the year ahead with hope for an eventual return to normal, I leave you with this quote: “Tough times don’t last – tough people do.” Anonymous.
Chief Administrative Officer
The Faculty has an operating budget of $60 million and a research and trust fund budget of over $13 million.
- Operating budget: $60.3 million
- Research and trust funds (managed by the Faculty of Social Sciences): $13.7 million