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You Asked, Glenn Answered: Questions From College Conversations

Hello folks, I am pleased to continue responding to questions submitted at College Conversations on May 26. I have done my best to provide answers, however for some questions the only answer right now is that we are working on it. As we begin the summer and people take vacation time to recharge, this newsletter and my weekly updates will continue, so you can stay informed. Like we say in SLC in Five our strategic plan, we recognize the importance of equipping our team with the knowledge and supports needed to help our students succeed. I appreciate your patience while our teams work hard to do just that.

 

Question: When a return to the college happens but COVID is still a challenge, what accommodations will be in place for high-risk individuals (students, staff, faculty) who possibly cannot return to the college  based on their high-risk status as advised by their doctor?

 

Answer: SLC will work to accommodate special or medical needs of employees and students. HR will advise people of their options on a case-by-case basis. We won’t be returning to campus all at once – only essential employees required for the delivery of a small number of programs will be on-campus in September. Student supports are available through Student Services which include accommodations, counselling, and advice. The live chat now available for current students, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, found here.

 

Question: Several faculty members inquired what contingencies would be in place to protect students’ learning experiences in the event of internet outage or illness and interrupt their course delivery.

 

Answer: I know our faculty work incredibly hard to deliver content to students, and there are regular processes in place to provide guidance when course delivery is interrupted. I ask everyone, as we navigate these uncharted waters, to remember we are a team and can all work together to ensure our students succeed. There is an incredible amount of work being done to prepare for the fall semester and scenarios like this and others are being considered. We don’t have all the answers right now but are committed to keeping our community informed as details are confirmed.

 

Question: There were a large number of questions related to building access and getting into individual office spaces or on campus to retrieve things. They are clustered here for one response.

 

Answer: Anyone with an urgent need to retrieve items from their office should speak with their manager. Depending on the nature of the request and the status of campus, there could be options available. Please consider if you really need the item(s) in question – the fewer people  entering our buildings, the less spaces we have to clean and the simpler things are for our essential staff who are on campus during this time.

 

Question/Answer: I was asked to clarify if we would have a balanced budget and to speak to our financial position. I will send a more detailed message to our staff and faculty next week, but can confirm that our budget was approved by the Board with a $2.69 million deficit. We are covering that deficit with money from our reserves as colleges are forbidden to run a deficit budget. I want to thank our folks at the college for their efforts in bringing forward a financial budget that addresses the issues of today while protecting and investing for tomorrow. The pandemic will end, and when it does, SLC will be well positioned to continue to move forward as a leader in higher education.

 

Question: Has there been progress on a health centre for the Brockville campus, especially in light of pandemic?

 

Answer: Unfortunately, the plan to proceed with this had to be put on hold due to COVID-19. Regrettably the pandemic and campus closure has meant some capital projects could not proceed beyond the design stage. That being said, this is a project we support and recognize for its importance. It is our hope that this plan will resume as soon as logistically possible, and we will continue to support our students in the meantime with the help of our remarkable staff and terrific community.

 

Question/Answer: We were asked what January 2021 will look like regarding labs, on-campus delivery, and residence.  It is too early to tell now what the winter semester will look like, but I can confirm people should not assume January will be the same as September. We will make decisions for the future based on guidance from public health and joint health and safety and will communicate those decisions with our employees and students in a timely fashion.

Our People

Show Your Pride for the Class of 2020 With a Video

Click on play button to play video on youtube.Join us in continuing to celebrate the Class of 2020 with a congratulatory message. We are asking all employees to record a 10-15 second video sharing a congratulatory message for our graduates and email to communications@sl.on.ca by June 15. The messages will be combined into a single video that will be shared across the college social media accounts on June 18 and shared on the Class of 2020 webpage. A huge thank you to those who have already submitted a video message! Here is a sneak peek to inspire your own message.

 

Watch the Video

 


SLC Professor’s Daughter Gives Back to Cornwall Community

Eight-year old Zara Aziz, daughter of SLC Health Sciences professor, Dr. Muhammad Owais Aziz, donated to the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre in keeping with the tradition of giving to charity on Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan. As COVID-19 kept her from collecting in the community for donations, Zara and her siblings gave their own money, including their Eid gift money, to help the needy in Cornwall. Read the full story here.

 

Image Credit: From left, with dad Dr. Owais Aziz, are Mussab, Zara and Fatimah, with Seaway Valley Community Health Centre executive director Debbie St. John-de Wit in back. Photo on Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Todd Hambleton / Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freeholder

Our Programs

Environmental Technician Alumni Share Valuable Career Insights

By Kris Ward, SLC Alumni & Donor Relations Officer

 

As the world catapulted into a new “normal”, students and faculty adapted to new ways of communicating and completing the year. A big part of the student experience is learning from those who have real-world experience, and our grads regularly return to college as alumni speakers, volunteers, preceptors, and placement guides.

 

Jordan Ann Kevan de Haan, professor in the Environmental Technician program, and an alumna, reached out to former students to take part in some classes as an alumni speaker, virtual edition. Her reach included some graduates who have indicated they are willing to help on our new alumni platform, Currents SLC.

 

“Because of the cancellation of in-person placements due to COVID-19, this year’s students needed to finish the program by completing a project-based course. I wanted to find a way to bring the real world to our students, so I put out a request to some of our program’s alumni asking for their help,” Jordan said.

The response was overwhelming, as many past students of the program volunteered to share their knowledge and experience through virtual presentations and mentoring, according to Jordan. “What a great experience for our students, and as someone who has taught in the program for 15 years, it was especially meaningful to hear past students’ career journeys and successes.”

 

Britney Bourdages (2019) works at Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA). Her proposal writing skills gave her an edge when she completed her program and she instilled the importance of standing out. She shared her experiences working with the RRCA and offered career advice, that helped in her post-grad pursuits.

 

Bobbie-Lee Vivarais (2018) is a Junior Environmental Officer with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in Cornwall. She shared how the program helped her land her current position. “I use the skills I acquired while in school daily,” as she proudly shares a peek at her officer badge, admitting that if they had been on campus as planned, she would have passed it around. Like many of us, she is working from home. As part of public health, they review the compliance of stakeholders, something she has been able to continue to do.

 

Britney is also working from home and is doing field reporting. She shared how the RRCA created a position for her. Some of her advice: no task is too small, be enthusiastic and willing to continue to learn. Bobbie echoed her advice. Her interest in compliance and how to use legislation to protect the environment drives her ambition. “Don’t be afraid of contract work and part-time positions.” She worked part-time at a corner store while pursuing her career and found some network opportunities through this experience. “The power of networking means you never know when an opportunity could present itself.”

 

The career paths interested the second-year students poised to graduate in 2020, and as both alumni speakers were recent grads, their advice and overview of their employment resonated with the students on the call.

 

Both emphasized the importance of the knowledge received at school and through school experiences, but also encouraged the students on their career path, to continue to learn, find their passion, keep up their skills such as First Aid, WHIMIS, and volunteer when possible and network.

The following graduates participated in virtual connections with the Environmental Technician Class of 2020. Special thanks to the following grads for their contributions:

 

Consulting

Zachary Leger (2014) Environmental Technician at Malroz Engineering Inc. and Andrew Couturier (2015) Environmental Technician at DST Consulting Engineers Inc., shared their career journeys since graduating from SLC and offered advice and insight for working in the consulting field.

 

Students considering higher education after SLC also benefited from learning about Andrew’s current experience pursuing his Bachelor of Science – Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University through an articulation agreement.

 

Environmental NGO/ OACETT

Louis Savard (2013) Program Leader, RiverLabs at the River Institute shared his tips for proposal writing for the non-profit sector. He also outlined the benefits of being a member of the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), a professional designation Environmental Technicians.

 

Government

Bobbie-Lee Vivarais (2018) Junior Environmental Officer, Drinking Water & Environmental Compliance Division with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and shared her career journey since graduating from SLC and offered advice and insight for working for the

Government of Ontario.

 

Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety

Keri Fournier (2011) currently employed as Manager, OHS and Standards Programs with the Canadian Electricity Association, shared information about her career in Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Keri offered advice for what employers were looking for and gave students a chance to ask questions about this exciting career path.

Our Students

Celebrating Our Graduates in Creative Ways

SLC is continuing to help our graduates celebrate their achievements through creative ways until we can all gather in person for a traditional ceremony in the Spring of 2021. During the week of June 15th graduates will be able to change their profile picture with a custom image to mark what would have been our last week of convocation ceremonies. SLC will be changing our corporate social media account profile pictures to help mark the tremendous achievements of our grads and invite our college community to join in. Graduates and their families will also be able to download a congratulations printable to place in their window to continue sharing support.

 

 

Our Communities

Research Team From SLC to Play Key Role in Expansion of Kingston’s Workplace Inclusion Project

The City of Kingston announced that they received $633,000 from Future Skills Centre to support Workplace Inclusion Charter expansion, a project facilitated by the City of Kingston in partnership with KEYS Job Centre and St. Lawrence College. This funding will help to expand the current scope of the Workplace Inclusion Charter project to provide additional resources to employers in the Kingston Area to improve the inclusion of under-represented groups within the workplace.

 

SLC will support the project by conducting the assessment of the interventions, tools, and programs implemented with companies by KEYS. SLC business professor, Dr. Rajni Dogra will be the principal researcher and will be hiring student research assistants to support the project.  The research team will be supported by the College’s research office and resources from the Future Skills Centre.

 

The overall project will focus on the strategy of inclusion of immigrants, racialized people, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous people within Kingston-area workplaces. The implementation will include the development of Kingston-specific tools, assessment of employer needs and assets, training and deploying inclusion coaches from the designated groups and with lived experiences of workplace exclusion and developing an evaluation system to meaningfully assess change.

 

Read the City of Kingston release here.

Important Dates

June 16: St. Lawrence College Employee Awards (10:00am, virtual) 
July 31: Spring semester end date for most programs
August 10: Grades due - last day to post Spring 2020 grades into SIS
August 24: First day - new full-time faculty
August 31: First day - returning full-time faculty/program coordinators
September 8: Orientation Day
September 9: First day of classes, Fall semester begins