Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,
Throughout the Fall term, faculties and departments have been having conversations about the results and significance of the Have Your Say 2011 survey. While conversations about faculty and staff engagement are important, if we want a positive change in our organizational culture to improve the ways we work together, at a certain point each one of us will need to do something differently, based on what we have learned from the survey results and subsequent conversations. In some cases, you have already made personal and group commitments on steps you can take to enhance the ways you work together – I congratulate you on your leadership in this effort.
Based on the themes and priorities that have been proposed by the different sectors of our university community, and building on the steps being taken in each department or faculty, there are two areas I personally want to take steps to address:
- Improving trust in the senior administration while broadening the ways that we communicate with each other;
- Staff professional development and training.
Starting on January 26, 2012, I am initiating a monthly “Laurentian Soapbox” where we can meet together in an informal atmosphere. These gatherings may include: brief formal presentations, updates from members of the Leadership Group, and opportunities for students, faculty and staff to talk about exciting events that they have experienced (such as external awards, new ways of working, new research findings, etc.) The format could also include small group discussions and an “open mic” session. The “Laurentian Soapbox” will be held in Alumni Hall of the Sudbury campus the fourth Thursday of each month (except in December, June and July) from 3 to 4 pm. It will followed by a cash bar to allow students, faculty and staff to interact more regularly in a social environment. Should you wish to see a specific topic discussed at the “Laurentian Soapbox”, please contact my assistant, Silvie Allard, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (705) 675-1151, extension 3432.
With respect to training and development, I believe that we can do a much better job in creating opportunities for our staff to develop their skills and knowledge. To this end, we will aim to earmark in each department the equivalent of 0.5% of staff payroll in 2012-2013 (approximately $150,000 in total) and 1% of staff payroll in 2013-2014 (approximately $300,000 in total) towards staff development. Staff and managers will plan jointly the best use of these resources for staff orientation, training, professional and leadership development. The Human Resources and Organizational Development Department will facilitate the exchange of ideas between departments on these matters so that we can learn from each other in terms of successful practices and maximize the return on this important ongoing investment.
These are two tangible steps that I am initiating at this time, building on the personal or group commitments already made in some departments and faculties to achieve our aspiration to being known for our positive organizational culture. These steps support the intended results articulated for Organizational Excellence in our proposed 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.
It’s up to each of us to adopt different approaches to ensure a positive change in our organizational culture. Members of the Leadership Group need to continue talking and listening to faculty and staff. Faculties and departments need to talk to each other. Let’s take the time to smile and laugh more, it’s a little thing but is effective in changing the way we work together.
Speaking of smiling…
I want to thank all students, faculty, staff, Board members, alumni and community members who attended the $10 million gift announcement from Stan Bharti’s family towards our award-winning School of Engineering on November 24th. This investment will significantly improve the student experience and the national recognition of our engineering programs.
I look forward to seeing many of you either at the:
- Holiday Open House at the President’s house at 179 John Street in Sudbury on Sunday, December 11th from 1:30-4:30pm;
- United Way luncheon on Wednesday, December 14th.
As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is: email@example.com.