Message from the Dean, Dr. Anne-Liisa Longmore – February 2021

I trust this Dean’s message, and February edition of SpeakingBiz finds you all well and safe. As you may be aware, Sheridan has chosen the theme of “Learning and unlearning: A commitment to progress” in its observance and recognition of Black History Month this year.  Earlier in February, a list of resources and events for PSB community members was shared to support our collective celebration, learning and unlearning as part of our observance. Although we find ourselves already halfway through the month, there are still several virtual events in which community members may take part. As well, I encourage colleagues to add to our growing list of PSB Reading and Resources.

Many thanks to our President of the Sheridan Black Students Association (Black Sheridan), Stephanie Garrick, who shares in this issue updates from Black Sheridan, and the importance of not only celebrating Black History Month, but also becoming inspired “to look forward to share and promote black culture. . . everywhere”.

In celebration of Black History Month and Sheridan’s theme, I thought I might take a moment to share a bit more of my own continued learning and unlearning journey as an ally working against anti-Black racism. Like many in our community, I continue to make time to read and learn about race, racism in Canada, explore intersectionality, gain a deeper understanding about microaggressions, and continue my own internal work by learning more about implicit bias (see interesting and free Implicit Bias Module Series available through the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity). Inspired by the conversations I have had with many members of our BIPOC community, I have shifted my emphasis slightly this month to learn more about Black history, and the lived experiences of Black Canadians.  The Radio Canada podcasts were a great starting point. Although short in duration, I was able to learn about Mathieu Da Costa, a translator for French and Dutch traders, and Harriet Tubman, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, among other significant Black Canadians. I also found a BBC report entitled Black in Canada: 10 Stories, that shares compelling stories of Black Canadians living in different regions of Canada.

Last week, I focused on expanding my perspective as it relates to race and oppression in a teaching and learning context. To that end, I pulled a couple of books by Paulo Friere (a passionate educator whose works focused on critical thinking, critical pedagogy, emancipation, and educating for transformation of self and society) off my bookshelf and re-read and reflected on some of his work. If you have never read the works of Paulo Friere, and are interested in critical pedagogy, I encourage you to do so. Not always an easy read, but profoundly affecting. I also discovered Racial Equity Tools and Learning for Justice, two U.S. based websites that offer tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas to support learning and advocating for racial equity.

As part of our continued commitment to community learning, we are excited to share that our colleagues in the Centre for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion have graciously and generously agreed to facilitate a three-hour workshop for our PSB community during break week on March 4, 2021 in place of a planned PSB Community meeting. The workshop will provide us with an opportunity to collectively and purposefully engage in better understanding discrimination and harassment, workplace violence, and accessibility and disability accommodation.  For more information, please refer to Equity Diversity and Inclusion Workshop notice in this newsletter.

Turning to the newsletter, and news of PSB. It is my pleasure and honour to draw your attention to the exciting news and story celebrating our school’s namesake and PSB alumnus Randy Pilon. Our school, the HMC campus, and learners are so very fortunate to benefit from Randy’s generous gift, his ongoing engagement with and commitment to PSB, and his dedication to the future of business education.

Finally, from a newly minted partnership with LaSalle University in Spain, a research partnership with the Afro Caribbean Business Network, the RBC Future Ready virtual event, and updates from our Innovation Accelerator space, our community members continue to pull out all the stops in generating new, innovative, and exciting spaces in which to explore, learn, and discover. Please check out these, and other important updates and news items.

As always please feel free to reach out to me via email, or one of your Associate Deans/Managers, should you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Please stay safe and stay well.

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