Supporting healthy communities
The Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS) is committed to supporting our people and building strong, healthy communities. Not only is supporting our people one of the four strategic priorities in our Strategic Plan, the need to build strong, healthy communities was amplified by the pandemic in the past year and a half. Supporting our people and building healthy communities is reflected in many of the themes that emerged from our Town Halls, Community Assembly meetings, Dr. Wendy Craig’s research into the impact of COVID-19 on the FAS community, and the resulting Continuous Improvement Review for COVID Response.
FAS is pleased to announce that it is now offering and planning a range of opportunities to support staff and faculty mental and physical health and social well-being, along with transitioning to the Queen’s new Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).
“We’re really excited to launch some new initiatives to support our people in these challenging times,” says David Mignault, Director, FAS Human Resources. “Our goal is to provide varied opportunities and an array of options for all staff and faculty to support their health and wellbeing, from educational events to resources and opportunities to connect. Accessibility for all, in terms of not requiring significant time or physical presence, has guided us in designing our offerings.”
Monthly events are being organized specifically for FAS staff and faculty as a way to support faculty-wide mental health, the first of which is a webinar featuring current Queen’s graduate student, alumnus, and past University Rector Mike Young at 10:00 am EST on May 20, 2021. Mike is the Executive Director and Founder of The Empathy Institute, and is an educational consultant and speaker who seeks to facilitate impactful conversations about mental health, gender and sexual diversity, sexual violence, personal/organizational growth, empathy, and leadership through engaging talks, panels, workshops, and writing.
This session establishes a holistic view of empathy, from the inside-out, that seeks to balance the meeting of our own needs in tandem with, and often in support of, supporting those around us. Grounded in compassionate and empathetic leadership, we will enter into a dialogue about how to be kinder to ourselves, each other, and the communities we share.
The faculty is also making headway on programming to support the social wellbeing of our community. Recognizing that working remotely poses unique challenges, particularly when it comes to socializing, we have designed a new coffee break series to facilitate fun, informal connections across the faculty starting this May. Sign up by May 10 to let us know your preferred days/times over the next two months and whether you would be interested in volunteering as a co-host for our breaks, which would involve helping to ensure a positive and inclusive experience for participants and facilitating conversation.
In case you missed it, the faculty has also established a shoutouts page to help us connect and be there for each other and to offer shoutouts for the little things people do or for a job well done. If you haven’t already done so, check it out and let us hear your shoutout. If you have an idea for a virtual social activity or are interested in helping to organize opportunities for colleagues to connect online, please contact Maryanne Wainman, Project Manager in the Faculty Office.
As you may be aware, Queen’s University has transitioned its EFAP to LifeWorkseffective, May 1, 2021. LifeWorks provides EFAP service and programming in support of Queen’s employees. The EFAP provides 24/7, confidential wellbeing support to you and your family, 365 days a year, whether you are expecting a baby, going through a divorce, or feeling overwhelmed at work. When the world around you gets stressful, LifeWorks services can also help you manage your reactions with wellbeing articles, podcasts, tools, and resources. Information on upcoming orientation sessions will be listed on the Human Resources website.
Queen’s is also supporting physical wellbeing with free, virtual fitness classes for all employees; from yoga, to Pilates, to cardio, there’s something for everyone. Check out the spring offerings, and consider signing-up for the spring-summer Queen’s Athletic and Recreation Virtual Run Series (registration opened May 1).