Here’s the holiday letter I sent to the remarkable faculty and staff who make Mohawk College such a great place to learn and work.
The holidays are a time to reflect, give thanks and celebrate.
For Lynn and I, Christmas is a time of reunion and celebration with family and friends. It’s a time to cut and trim the tree, put up lights, bake pies and write our Christmas letter. It is also, like Thanksgiving, a time that we like to pause and take account of all we have to be thankful for in our lives.
As we head into the holidays and pass the midway mark of our academic year, we have many reasons to celebrate and many people to thank for a semester worth of firsts at Mohawk College.
Thank you for putting a Mohawk education within reach of even more people in our community. Our first City School at Mohawk opened this fall at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton. Joining us at the official opening were our first City School donors Douglas and June Barber whose generous gift helped bring a Mohawk education to an entire neighbourhood. No other college in Ontario has taken community engagement to the same level.
Thank you for making Mohawk a more welcoming college for our Aboriginal students. Our new outdoor Indigenous Gathering Space at the Fennell campus is the first of its kind among colleges and universities in this part of the province. During the dedication ceremony for our gathering space, I was proud to sign the Indigenous Education Protocol and reaffirm our commitment to Aboriginal students.
Thank you for making Mohawk a more welcoming college for newcomers. We brought together dozens of thought leaders and hundreds of community partners, faculty and staff for a two-day summit in October. The conversations and insights from our summit will help us build an action plan for Mohawk, with the goal of attracting more international students, connecting them with the community and encouraging them to make Hamilton their home after graduation.
Thank you for making Mohawk a more innovative and entrepreneurial college. We invested in eight applied research projects led by faculty and staff in our Business, Communication Arts, Community Services, Health and Technology programs with our first round of funding from Mohawk’s new Applied Research and Innovation in Education Fund. We also launched Canada’s first journalism course for creating accessible content and made significant investments in simulation technology at our Stoney Creek campus and at our Institute for Applied Health Sciences.
Thank you for educating and serving a record number of students this semester. The quality of your teaching, the calibre of the services you provide and the facilities you take such pride in maintaining have all contributed to building our reputation as the college of choice for students throughout the region.
And thank you for making a great first impression. A record number of federal, provincial and municipal politicians have toured Mohawk during the past year, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who made Mohawk the only college he visited during his election campaign. I’ve proudly introduced political leaders and senior officials to scores of faculty, staff and students. Everyone who visits our three campuses makes mention of your passion for teaching and serving our students. Our guests return to Parliament Hill, Queen’s Park and City Hall with an even greater understanding and deeper appreciation for your work and why Mohawk matters to our community.
Looking ahead to our winter semester, I’ll be introducing you to Mohawk’s new strategic plan that charts our strategic direction for the next five years. I’ll be hosting a series of town halls to present our strategic plan and priorities for the 2016-17 academic year. During the town halls, I’ll also share results from our latest employee engagement survey. We’ll also be launching a formal mentorship program in the New Year to connect you with experienced and respected Mohawk leaders who personify our college values. If career growth and professional development is a New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to consider this program. We’ll also continue to offer our made-at-Mohawk Future Ready Leadership and Step Up to Leadership programs, provide tuition assistance and hold year-round workshops and courses. Like our students, we want you to realize and contribute to your full potential. After all, it’s great people who make Mohawk a great place to work and learn.
Thank you for all of your contributions during our fall semester. Because of you, we have many reasons to celebrate and to be proud of all that we’ve accomplished together. If we don’t have the opportunity to meet during our holiday lunches, I’d like to wish you a safe and joyous holiday season with family and friends filled with Peace, Joy, Hope and Love and extend to you best wishes for what’s sure to be an outstanding year ahead at Mohawk College.