Update: June 18, 2020, 10:32 AM
Your Good News Bulletin
A-Block Expansion architect selected by NOW Magazine
Indigenous architect Eladia Smoke, who is Anishinaabekwe from the Lac Seul First Nation, has been selected as one of NOW Magazine’s Toronto Trailblazers for 2020. She is responsible for embedding Indigenous design principles in Centennial’s proposed A-Block Expansion project by Smoke and DIALOGUE Architects. Eladia has worked on spaces like the Makoonsag Intergenerational Children’s Centre and APTN’s newsroom, both located in Winnipeg. Not only does she create spaces ideal¬ for drum circles by adopting the traditions and land-based teachings from Elders and merging it with modern architectural design, but she also teaches her craft at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Read more about Eladia’s concepts for our new A-Block addition in the NOW article.
GTA College library staff find a way to connect
Each spring, library staff at five GTA colleges hold a one-day conference to build their community and share best practices. When face-to-face conferences were cancelled in March, it seemed more important than ever to find a way to connect. Conference planners from Centennial, Humber, Seneca and Sheridan worked together to pivot the event to an online format. For the first time, the Connect5 conference took place using Microsoft Teams collaboration software on June 5. More than 100 staff from GTA college libraries attended lightning talks and group discussions about service during the pandemic, and ways to support our students while working at a distance. The event exemplified the resiliency and dedication of the college library community. Three Centennial library staff delivered presentations: Copyright Services Surge During COVID-19, presented by Shelby Stinnissen, and Kindness is an Essential Service: Centennial’s Kindness Committee in the Time of COVID-19, presented by Ishrat Gulshan and Natalie Colaiacovo.
More Story Arts Centre students earn national recognition
Anne Kim and Zia Foley, two Fine Arts Studio students at the Story Arts Centre, have just learned they won CICan’s Art Showcase competition in the Painting and Drawing categories. Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the national and international voice of Canada's publicly supported colleges, institutes of technology, cégeps, and polytechnics. Each year, it sponsors a competition to reward the best college student artwork by featuring it at its national headquarters. Anne won for her painting “You are more” acrylic on wood panel, and Zia won for her drawing “Who am I” conté on black illustration board (shown). Their works will be shipped to Ottawa to be exhibited at CICan and will soon be featured on the CICan website.
And in another good news story, Samantha Mok, a recent Graphic Design graduate, has won the Association of Registered Graphic Designers “So Good Design” Award. She won for her well-conceived and executed thesis project, In Dogs We Trust. “I created a three-booklet package exploring branding and identity, product and package design, print and digital ads campaigns, and web/mobile app design for a fictional brand called In Dogs We Trust,” she explains. Her project is an e-commerce pet retailer that specializes in hand-crafted dog treats, designed with sustainable practices, ingredients and packaging in mind. Read about Samantha’s winning work here.
Journalism professor contributes to new anthology
Journalism professor Ellin Bessner has contributed to a new book entitled Northern Lights: A Canadian Jewish History, published by the Canadian Jewish News and the Lola Stein Institute. The book is an anthology of essays written by a number of prominent Canadians, including Hon. Irwin Cotler, Marsha Lederman, Jay Teitel, Hon. Myra Freeman and Gil Troy. Ellin contributed a chapter called Fighting for Canada, which chronicles some of the Jewish Canadians who bravely fought during the Second World War. From the foreword: "This book captures Jewish Canada's yesterday and peeks into tomorrow. It presents current thoughts about what Jewish Canadians have been doing all these years, what they have contributed to Canada, and what Canada has given to them." Northern Lights was released on June 10.
Update: June 15, 2020, 9:53 AM
Monday Message from Craig Stephenson, President and CEO
Over the past few weeks, I have been engaged in the President’s Listening Tour – Thoughtful Thursday sessions. As with the Listening Tour in the fall, this round has provided so much rich and fruitful material from staff and faculty across the College.
As you may recall, last week’s message featured an infographic of our journey through COVID-19 – an idea from one of our recent Listening Tour gatherings. This week’s message also reflects what I have been hearing during the Listening Tour.
With the province beginning to ease restrictions across the economy, including the recent announcement on post-secondary learning institutions, it is imperative for us to have a plan to resume limited operations. And so the question was raised at this past Thursday’s Listening session, and rightfully so – what is Centennial’s plan for re-opening?
Centennial’s response to the pandemic has clearly shown our community’s stripes. Our resilience, collaborative approach and optimistic spirit have reinforced our commitment to working creatively and collectively to transform lives and communities through learning. Our ability to pull together and leverage the expertise, initiative, and grit of people across the College has resulted in the 4Rs of Stability initiative.
This detailed plan will guide the planning, coordination, and execution of the essential cross-disciplinary work required to begin a phased re-opening of the College. Under this initiative, a number of Committees and Task Forces have been established to Reflect on their disciplines and context, in order to Reimagine and implement strategic and operational approaches that will Restore the College and create contingencies to Repeat if further lockdowns are required.
We have, as a result, already made several decisions about reopening (e.g., keeping student and staff numbers to an absolute minimum on campus in compliance with provincial emergency orders, employing entrance and exit access procedures, offering free parking over summer, etc.) while other decisions (e.g., scope of PPE and enhances to safety measures provision, detailed cleaning schedules, start dates for other “stranded” students, etc.) remain under discussion.
The health, safety and psychological wellbeing of our College community underpin all of these efforts. Comprehensive people-focused plans are also being prepared to ensure our students, staff, and faculty have timely and accurate information, as well as the necessary resources, to ensure a safe and structured reopening. To this end, detailed campus re-opening guidelines are being drafted and will be made available once completed. Policy development work is also underway to support and formalize current telework arrangements.
Our community’s continued flexibility, resilience, patience and input during this unprecedented time is driving our recovery as we realign current and future academic and business plans.
There has already been, and will continue to be, a great deal of thought and effort put into our re-opening. But even with the combined expertise of our community brought to bear, we will undoubtedly encounter some bumps in the road. However, I have no doubt that this College, as it has done so often in its recent history, will emerge all the stronger and more united than ever.
With tremendous respect and appreciation,
Dr. Craig Stephenson
President and CEO, Centennial College