Mohawk’s United Way campaign kicks off Thursday with a $65,000 goal Reply

If we reach our goal of raising $65,000 for the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton during the Fall semester, I’ll switch jobs for a day with Mohawk Students’ Association President Max Brown. With our annual campaign kicking off on Thursday, I sent the following memo to all faculty and staff earlier today.

Dear Colleagues:
Mohawk launches our annual United Way campaign on October 2nd and I invite you to join me in
supporting a community partner who shares our mission of transforming lives. Mohawk’s
support starts this Thursday and everyone’s encouraged to wear red and white to work as part
of our campaign launch.

The United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton reinvests donations in 68 agencies that
deliver 126 programs to tens of thousands of people in our community. These agencies also
help train our students through placements and hire our future ready graduates.

Last year, faculty, staff and students donated $63,153 to the United Way. This year, we’re
looking to increase our contribution to $65,000 through payroll deductions, one-time donations
and special events during the Fall semester, including a spaghetti lunch, silent auction and wine
elimination draw. If we reach our $65,000 goal, Mohawk Students’ Association President Max
Brown and I will be switching jobs for a day.

For the tenth year in a row, I will be making a leadership gift to the United Way. If you’re
among the 112 faculty and staff who contributed last year, thank you for helping to build a
stronger community. If you’re about to make your first donation, know that you are making a
real difference in the lives of our neighbours, students and graduates. If you want to know
about the United Way, please contact myself or our volunteer campaign co-chairs Rochelle Reid
and Doug Daniels.



Kudos Reply

Congratulations to Mohawk College alumni Matt Holmes and Anthony Urciuoli who’ll be in the press box working on the play-by-play broadcasts for the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs this season. Matt, a graduate of our Radio Broadcasting program, is the new play-by-play announcer while Journalism grad Anthony is the host of the postgame show.  As students in the early 2000s, Matt and Anthony were on air regulars at C101.5 FM.

Thanks to everyone who played a round at our annual President’s Golf Tournament on Thursday. We had a record number of golfers out at the Beverly Golf and Country Club. The biggest winners from our sold out tournament are young people in financial need from Hamilton’s Code Red neighbourhoods. More than $50,000 was raised and all proceeds from the tournament are going to access bursaries. A special thanks to our major sponsors Business Insurance Services, Dell Canada, Hicks Morley, Horizon Utilities, L-3 Wescam, Perkins + Will, Pioneer Energy, Scotiabank, Skyway Lawn Equipment, Stokoe Communications and UA Local 67.

On the weekend, a Canadian flag was stolen from the porch of Ms. Bev McCraw, a Mohawk College neighbour who’s the mother of a fallen soldier. Ms. McCraw flew the flag to honour the memory of her son Sergeant Shawn Eades who died six years ago while serving in Afghanistan.  The Mohawk Students’ Association and our college put the word out on social media.  Those posts were then shared 276 times on Mohawk’s Facebook page and 105 times on the MSA’s Facebook page.  All told, the posts were seen by more than 35,000 people. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word. On Wednesday morning, Ms. McCraw woke to find the flag returned to her front porch by someone who anonymously did the right thing.

My question to you 1

Thanks to everyone who responded to last week’s question about how your program or department is involved in the community. There are some great examples of how students are gaining invaluable experience and making a real difference in Hamilton.

I’m now interested in hearing from you about the people who are making a difference here at Mohawk. With help from Les Palango, I’m going into the Hawk 101.5 studios to record a series of informal, one-on-one interviews that we’ll then post online as podcasts. We’ll be introducing listeners to our amazing students, alumni, faculty, staff and college partners.

So, my question for you this week, is who do you suggest would make a great guest and why?

You asked: Why did the majority of faculty at Mohawk vote against a new contract? Reply

In Tuesday’s province-wide vote, faculty at Ontario’s 24 colleges ratified the agreement negotiated between the colleges’ bargaining team and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Unofficial results show that 61 per cent of faculty across the province voted in favour of the new three-year contract.

Of the 590 full and part-time faculty eligible to vote at Mohawk, 85 faculty voted in favour of the contract while 228 voted against.

I won’t speculate on the reasons why faculty cast their ballot one way or the other.

What I will say is that I’m personally committed to keeping lines of communication open with faculty and working together to move Mohawk from good to great.  The first people I met on my first day on the job were Mohawk’s student and union leaders and I want us to keep the dialogue going. While we’ll have our differences, at the end of the day we share the same goal of delivering a great education to our students. We’ll always do better by working together and taking a consultative and collaborative approach.

You asked: Who inspires you? 1

A spoiler alert for anyone who’ll be hearing my installation speech on Wednesday. The person who has inspired me the most is my late father Ross. While my dad never went to college, he remains to this day the smartest person I’ve ever known. He was always learning and willing to try new things. My dad was a serial entrepreneur who built and ran small businesses in and around our hometown of London, Ontario. He was also a devoted husband and a very patient father of seven children.  My father lived by the Golden Rule and treating others with respect is one of my core values that I will not compromise.

You asked: In your opinion, which is better – university or college? Reply

This is a debate I won’t be having while I’m president of Mohawk.

Colleges and universities both have a lot to offer students and we have complementary strengths.  Ultimately, it comes down to what’s best for each student and they make the call.

When we work together, colleges and universities create new opportunities for students. Mohawk and McMaster have one of the strongest postsecondary partnerships in Ontario and our collaborative programs in health and technology are in high demand by students and well-respected by employers.

Rather than prove we’re better than universities or other colleges,  we should focus instead on moving Mohawk from good to great and making sure we do our absolute best when it comes to educating and serving our students.

You asked: What’s with all the lockdown drills that disrupt classes? And why did we have back-to-back lockdown and fire drills this week? 1

There’s no good time to have a lockdown drill at Mohawk.  Classes and labs are going to be interrupted.

We hold two lockdown drills a year at our Fennell and Stoney Creek campuses for one reason. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The drills put our emergency response measures to the test. After each drill, we look at what worked and where we can do better.

Lockdown drills also give all us a way to practice getting to a place of safety as quickly as possible. In the event of a real lockdown, we don’t want anyone wondering what to do and where to go.

Our plan was to only do a lockdown drill on Monday morning. However, a fire alarm was accidentally pulled at our Fennell Campus immediately after the end of our lockdown drill.

Thanks to all students, faculty and staff who knew immediately how to respond in both situations. Your patience and cooperation were much appreciated.

We’ll definitely look to see if there’s a better and less disruptive time to schedule future lockdown drills.

You asked: With our focus on moving Mohawk from good to great, will we continue with our access strategy? Reply

Absolutely.  Mohawk’s mission of prosperous communities and transformed lives extends to everyone in every neighbourhood in Hamilton.  Thanks to grassroots access strategies like our College in Motion Team and the Future Ready Loyalty Card, we’ve connected with hundreds of young people from Code Red neighbourhoods who are now Mohawk students.  We have a responsibility to maintain these connections with young people, families and community partners. We should settle for nothing less than being the absolute best at removing barriers and putting a college education within everyone’s reach.