Confessions of the Acting Associate Chair – Week 2

Week 2 is almost in the rear view mirror… Passing the all important day 10 mark, with a new US president and a big pile of snow to show for it.

To get you caught up, in my new role as Acting Associate Chair for the next 12 weeks, I feel the need to document all that goes on in the form weekly recap, so I can first soak it all in, and second to be able to share with Mark on his return a sort of Coles notes version of what he missed.

Week 2 was a very busy one, and with three off campus meetings, desk time seemed very short, and the week flew by. It would seem the grade change forms have settled down to a small trickle – and I think that is a good thing… Here are the headlines!

Student News
Natasha Thombs, a first year CAB student is about to break the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) All-Time Scoring Record. She is just 5 points away and will be playing Friday, January 23 at 6pm at the Newnham Sports Centre. This is a record that has stood for over 25 years and is a remarkable accomplishment. Congratulations to Natasha in anticipation of your great accomplishment tonight!

Around Our Halls
It’s a new day in our News Studio this week! The backdrop was changed from the nighttime cityscape to the daytime one! I will work on getting approved the purchase of a Caribbean beachscape and some heat lamps so we can start having mini vacations during the day in that class room. The SCA print shop will only accept electronic print submissions now via, or by using the terminal in the print shop so please get the word out to your students.

Class Visits
Thank you Michael Curran for inviting me to a class next week to take part in a teamwork exercise with CMP students. I also hope to take up Ron Erwin on his offer to visit an IDP class next week!

Keep the invitations coming! I love the idea of getting a better sense of what is going on in as many programs as possible within SCA.

Healthy Discussions
We sure have had a large number of comments regarding a suggestion made to sca.allstaff regarding demand setting for OPSEU. I personally feel that this is a good form of sharing ideas and spurring conversations but I would like to remind people to remain respectful to one another.

Week Highlight!
A highlight from week 2 for me was the campus almost shutting down for 40 minutes while faculty, staff and students crowded around the RTX monitors and in the Hive to watch the US inaugurate its’ 44th President. The sight in the halls was powerful, and the speech was very compelling, but for a part of it, I was thinking about Seneca and how what President Obama was saying had a relevance to our SCA community.

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.”

SCA has more programs, more students and more faculty than ever before in our young 20 year history and yet we have started this semester off with the same passion and commitment to the future we have always had and all this with troubling economic times upon us, the YORK strike and talk of our own labour issues. Truly commendable to all of you!

Please let me know if you have comments or anything you would like me to include in future weeks! 2 down and 12 to go.

Confessions of the Acting Associate Chair – Week 1

Well this started as a welcome back e-mail to be sent out first of the week but one thing led to another, and now we have a first week as Acting Associate Chair wrap up e-mail instead.

This actually works out better and has made me thing more about the bread crumb trail I can leave for Mark’s return in the form of 14 “confessions of the Acting Associate Chair e-mails”… so here we go with week 1

My first week was a much different week 1 from when I was the coordinator of the Radio program. I still helped my new acting coordinator; Jim Craig with all the scheduling and program related stuff but class prep time, normally a very large part of the week was cut to almost nothing. Instead, I signed things… Lots of things! A letter to security, a photocopy request and a large stack of grade change forms. I affiliated a couple students with various programs, and helped with a bunch of student schedules. I met with a couple of new students that had some general questions about the school and some programs, and I met with a couple of new faculty members with Blackboard questions. I love this job so far!

I was able to solve the two or three little problems that popped up over the course of the week with great support from our administration team, and would like to acknowledge the sometimes-unsung heroes of the School of Communication Arts by thanking them for their help. Thanks to Luis and Adrian for working more hours then they get paid for, trying to keep and get up and running the new labs this semester. Thanks to Harry, Dave and Mo for being instrumental in making a very busy between semester construction schedule impact on our students as little as possible. Thanks to Karen for getting all our students and faculty in the right rooms at the right time and to Kelly and Isabelle for supporting the continually growing SCA population so well. I would like to thank Anna for telling me what I can and cannot sign and basically keeping me inline, the coordinators for working hard as they always do for their students and thanks to Jed for giving me the opportunity to see the Seneca world from a different perspective.

Thanks also to Tim for setting up the first (of many I hope) faculty / staff pubs of 2009. From all accounts if we settle our outstanding bill, and follow through with fixing the chairs that where damaged, we should be able to go back there again!

New Programs – I have been given the task to work with a group in support of their application for a new program at SCA. I am excited to be offering insight on such an interesting venture, and hope that we will have the appropriate documents ready for DEAN presentations in the next couple of weeks.
TAVIS – The team of CAB students has completed the research (step 1) in the TAVIS project, and handed it over for the next 2 steps to Paul Shecter and his GRA class – Design for Social Change. The handover was a background – project presentation this week, thankfully attended by a number of faculty staff and students from multiple programs and I look forward to the possibilities for multi level / program collaboration.
Old student Track Down – I have started the process of gathering names of students in all SCA programs, that are 1 or 2 credits away from graduation, to see if there is something we can do about getting theses students out of the system. I have the names going back to January 2007, so I am in the sorting phase, and will have more information on this in the weeks to come.

Future: (week 2 and beyond!)
I have started a “free to all” lunch club in and / or around my office or the SCA boardroom everyday of the week around 12:00 or so… The only stipulation is that we do not talk about anything Seneca.

I want to take full advantage of the new found time I have during most days to find out what is going on in other programs within the school, so if you have an interesting class coming up, or a place for me to sit in the back of one of your classes, please let me know. I want to learn about your programs from the inside… Just let me know if I can drop in on your class.

My door is always open, and I would love to help you with anything program / course or school related. I am a self-proclaimed Blackboard and Excel geek, so support in these areas is a given!

Thanks! 1 down and 13 to go.