How long have you worked at the U of L?
I started as an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education in July, 2003. I became an associate dean in the Faculty of Arts & Science in September, 2014.
What are your main duties?
In the Arts and Science Dean’s Office, my portfolio is focused largely on undergraduate programming, student services and support, and faculty support with respect to teaching and academic integrity. This includes, for example, curriculum development, oversight of grade appeals, academic standing, student grievances, and academic and non-academic student offences. Additionally, through my associate dean role, I support and facilitate the work of my colleagues in the Academic Advising Office, the Indigenous Student Success Cohort, the Office of Cooperative Education and Applied Studies, and the Inclusion Alberta Initiative.
As a professor, my teaching and research aim to trouble the notion of popular sport culture as simply ‘innocent’ and not worthy of study, highlighting the significant impact and use of sport and popular culture within larger social, political and economic processes. While my administrative roles constrain the time I have for these aspects of my work, I remain involved as is possible. I am currently teaching KNES 4640, and so, like all of my academic colleagues, I have been navigating (with the help, support, and patience of my students!) the shift to alternative delivery necessitated by COVID-19. On the research side, I have been collaborating with my U of L colleague Dr. Sean Brayton on a project which examines athlete suicides at their intersection with labour politics and the concussion crisis in sport. Our latest paper, titled, The athlete’s body and the social text of suicide, was published earlier this year.
How have your duties changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
On March 13, the University’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was enacted and I was appointed the Co-Director, alongside Doug Mackie (the U of L’s Chief Safety Officer). The EOC relied upon an internationally established emergency protocol called the Incident Command System (ICS) to coordinate our efforts and response to COVID-19. The EOC allowed us to bring together people from across all segments of our campus to monitor the constantly evolving situation (including close coordination with the City of Lethbridge EOC, the Province, and Alberta Health Services), identify priorities and objectives, and integrate resources, facilities, personnel, procedures, and communications in order to enable an effective and efficient response in a really challenging time. The focus was first and foremost about the health and safety of our community and doing our part to meet public health mandates, and secondly about facilitating and supporting operational continuity where it was possible and safe to do so (including the move to alternate delivery of courses and many of our student services).
What's one thing you've learned from this situation?
One thing in particular has been made really clear to me through this situation. Our University is full of talented, committed, and compassionate people. In the EOC, I watched a group of employees work exceptionally hard and long hours, day after day, to coordinate and facilitate actions in response to COVID-19, and behind each of them was a team of people across campus (including faculty, staff, and students) working just as hard to implement and adapt to those pieces, even as the situation constantly evolved and created new and significant challenges for them in doing so. It has been heartening to work for and alongside such incredible people. I thank all faculty, staff and students for their efforts and understanding.