To the Brock University labour studies community,
It was a fall like no other, with increased workloads for many, loss of work for others, and heightened stress levels for everyone. As Chair, I want to thank you all for your contributions to labour studies at Brock University. We all struggled, in similar and different ways, and everyone did their best. Labour studies is about solidarity, fairness, equity, and justice, and about recognizing the value of work and workers. All of these intellectual, ethical, and political commitments propel our efforts, particularly in tough times, and I hope they continue to bring you hope for the new year.
Our students worked to adjust to the challenges of online learning and life in a pandemic, which was no easy feat. Please be proud of what you accomplished and what you learned. Every stumble, hurdle, small step forward, and success offers lessons.
Our teaching assistants, who undertake the lioness’ share of the grading labour and spent many hours helping students navigate this new terrain, adjusted to the online teaching and learning environment with patience and deft insight. The department is grateful for your contributions to students’ education and engagement.
Our faculty and instructors also adjusted to the COVID context with talent, foresight, and empathy, continuously reflecting on how best to teach online and support students, while simultaneously maintaining our commitments to research, departmental and university service, and public engagement in important ways. Your multi-faceted contributions help us continue to be a unique and innovative labour studies department.
Our administrative assistant Elizabeth and academic adviser Diane provided steadfast and invaluable support, wisdom, perspective, and humour. Their work is essential for the department’s functioning and success, and we are particularly grateful to them both.
I wish you the very best for the holidays and the new year. Of course, as a labour studies community, we recognize that the “holidays” actually involve paid and increased unpaid work for many. And many of you will be contributing to your families and communities in different ways. I do hope you are able to take some time to rest, relax, and recharge – to enjoy bread and roses.
There will be work after COVID. And you — the people with nuanced labour knowledge and skills, who are driven by a commitment to solidarity and justice — will be more important than ever.
Please take care and be hopeful.
Dr. Kendra Coulter