Amazing to think that it is already February. How did that happen? The common comment about yesterday’s Groundhog Day is that it is beginning to feel a little bit like groundhog day every day in this remote world we are in. Same meeting room, same view, etc. Yes, I get it. However, Wiarton Willie saw sunshine in our region and there seemed to be a groundhog groundswell of commitment to an early spring across all the groundhog news. I hope it doesn’t take me that long to go outside again — I am embarrassed to say I haven’t been outside in days! I am a windchill wimp!
As you are all aware, February is Black History Month in Canada and elsewhere. Over the last many months, the leadership team at McMaster has made very specific and conscious efforts to move forward with specific initiatives to address inequities, including a focus on Black academic excellence. You can learn more about Black History activities through this week’s DailyNews articles and related links to information on social media.
I also want to share a few additional learning resources for Black History month from our higher education IT community:
First, a list of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion book recommendations. I have read a few of those listed. An additional book I read over in the summer which I would also recommend is Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. Many of you may have other books to share or recommend, also — feel free to do so in the McMaster IT Teams.
Also, two webinars: Anti-Racism in Academia A Learning Journey (2/12 2pm-3pm ET) which summarizes the efforts of an energized group of our peers at other academic institutions who took it upon themselves to bring colleagues together to discuss, learn and support change in our environment; and BIPOC* and White Supremacy in the Workplace (2/24 2pm-3:15pm ET)
And bringing it all a bit closer to home, we recently had a chance to reflect on an inspiring Black leader from Hamilton, Lincoln Alexander, who was recently remembered in the news for his own Lincoln Alexander Day, on January 21. He was an impressive individual who dedicated his life to public service. While I was at the University of Guelph, Lincoln Alexander was also a beloved Chancellor and has a few scholarships named after him.
Finally, and on a different note, I spoke about this at the UTS All Staff meeting on Monday, however I want to take a moment today to acknowledge that a year ago on February 3, the UTS and McMaster IT community lost a colleague: Elvis Podvorac, who was also a friend to many around campus. I especially want to send my support and appreciation to the members of the UTS Client Services team. Elvis was a part of their close-knit team. And in spite of the weight of his loss, they shouldered on as the pandemic hit, and throughout the incredibly challenging past 11 months, supporting others on campus with strength and grace. Thank you. I see you and appreciate you.