Fall Letter to Faculty
Here so soon.
Hard to believe that another academic year is once again upon us. The summer was one of the hottest we have experienced in Alberta in quite a few years, and for most of us it came and went away too quickly. More disparaging, though, was having to change the shorts, T-shirts and sandals for a more appropriate dress code. The first weeks in September at SAIT are an exciting and energetic time. Parking lots, LRT stations and every conceivable walkway are inundated with students of various ages, cultures and denomination. Swarming the Campus like bees to a hive. For most of the schools within the Institution it is the week for orientation.
It is always uplifting to watch Instructors touring students around the Campus, pointing out the various locations that students should familiarize themselves with. All this while renovations are at their peak. Not that it deters any of our faculty, they just swerve around the barriers and equipment like it was an everyday occurrence. Raising their voices an octave or two higher in order to be heard over the din of the construction crews… not that they’ve never done that before? Stepping for the first time onto the SAIT Campus can be overwhelming and somewhat nerve racking for many students, meeting new colleagues, searching for the Registrar’s Office, thumping through their iPhones for directions to their future School. Balancing text books and modules, and trying to look cool amid the barrage of information delivered by their instructors and AC’s, nodding their head conspicuously that they understand.
As prodigious as the first day on Campus can be, students find solace and camaraderie when they are invited to share in the well-orchestrated “nosh” provided by their schools. Can’t beat a Spolumbo’s sausage on a bun with a bag of chips and a coke. I have always been of the belief that providing inexperienced students with respectable snacks and beverages sends out the message, “hey, we care about you, your well-being, and your future, and we understand the stress related to coming to Post-Secondary”.
We are optimistic that all students will get to enjoy the hospitality of the Institution, the Instructors in their programs and their new found, or revived acquaintances. The success of the first week on Campus is not only attributed to the commitment level of the faculty, but also the hard work and dedication provided by many of the behind the scenes personnel. Alumni and Development, Registration, the Administrative pool from each school, the maintenance crew and the custodians. My sentiments are reflective of the statement that comes from the Strategic Plan, “Students come first in everything we do. Learning takes a community with engaged students and dedicated faculty and staff”.
Now that October has officially appeared, and with it the early onslaught of the dreaded S… word. Classes have begun, expectations for success are reiterated, rules and responsibilities are highlighted, laptops are connected and self-esteems are checked. The learning begins.
Have an enriching semester.
James McWilliams; SAFA President.