It is hard to believe that just about a month ago we were asked to begin the move to mostly remote work to deliver our education programs and continue with our research. As a whole, it has been remarkable how faculty, staff and students have risen to the challenge. The Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy has drawn on the strength of our diversity and we’ve made progress in a number of important areas.
Decisions announced regarding experiential education rotations
This week we were able to finalize several key decisions regarding our experiential education rotations. The University of Toronto Health Science Faculties have decided to pause all clinical rotations until July 6, 2020. This decision was made by U of T and applies to all clinical learners in the health sciences. The decision was influenced in part by the fact that our TAHSN hospital partners and other hospital partners across Ontario have indicated they are not able to accommodate learners at this time. If you have not already received email messages detailing plans for experiential education per program, please see links to the messages on our Faculty’s COVID-19 page. While there is certainly more work to be done over the coming weeks and months to optimize our experiential learning, I would like to recognize and thank all faculty and staff who worked around the clock to get us to this point.
- Experiential Rotation Update: Entry-to-practice PharmD students (April 6, 2020)
- Experiential Rotation Update: PharmD for Pharmacist students (April 6, 2020)
- Experiential Education Update: Message for Preceptors (April 6, 2020)
Celebrating our research strength
Over these past weeks we have been inspired by our research trailblazers who are working on discoveries related to COVID-19 and continuing to make strides in other areas of pharmaceutical sciences. I would also like to congratulate our research faculty members who have been awarded funding through the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy’s inaugural New Initiative and Innovation Awards. Perhaps now more than ever we witnessing in real time the necessity of solid scientific research and its impact on human lives. We are proud to support our researchers through this new initiative and a reminder that the next competition for these awards is expected in January 2021.
New ways of working together
Thank you again to everyone for the intense and difficult work you have done together over the past month. As we now recognize that our way of working will continue for longer than we originally thought it is helpful to turn our attention to how to manage and indeed thrive as we move forward into the coming months. I would like to announce a few plans that I hope will help us continue to work well together while recognizing the extraordinary changes to our work and personal lives in the current context.
Scheduling of meetings:
I request that no internal meetings be scheduled
- before 09:30am
- after 4:30pm
- Tuesdays and Fridays from 2pm onward
I recognize that there may be some critical exceptions including meetings already planned that cannot be changed. I also recognize that some urgent matters come up and some meetings with external parties may not allow these scheduling boundaries.
Faculty and staff meetings:
We will hold regular virtual faculty and staff - wide meetings to share priorities and plans, communicate emerging issues and decisions and connect with each other.
The first virtual faculty and staff meeting will be held on:
11am-12:30pm Monday, April 20, 2020
A virtual meeting invitation will be sent out at a later date.
Opportunities for connecting on a social level
Although we no longer have a 5th floor pod or other physical meeting spaces, there are a number of opportunities for faculty and staff to connect:
- Weekly virtual lunch – Tuesdays at noon
Please sign on if you would like to have some social conversation with colleagues over lunch. Please contact Tara Snyder for more information.
- Virtual yoga with Della – Monday 4pm and Thursday noon
Thank you Della for offering to run a Yoga program for us that is also family friendly (so include your kids if you want!) Please contact Tara Snyder for more information.
- Strava – virtual cycling and running app group at LDFP. Suzanne Cadarette has started a Strava group so that you can log fitness activities and be cheered. Please contact Suzanne for more information.
- Join the University of Toronto Women in STEM: Leading and Reading book club led by Christine Allen. Please sign up to the Google group to receive event updates and reminders: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few ways to continue to build our collaborative working relationships while working virtually (adapted from Harvard Business Review; https://hbr.org/2020/03/15-questions-about-remote-work-answered)
- If you are part of a team, talk with your team so everyone is aware how you will communicate including what software you will be using, how often, when to use video or chat windows. Using video where possible is really helpful to build better relationships.
- Consider not diving into a meeting agenda right away but to spend the first few minutes checking in and connecting on a personal level.
I continue to be inspired and grateful to many our faculty and students who have taken on additional clinical responsibilities within our health care system to help people who are sick and help keep people well. Thank you for this critically important and difficult work. I hope everyone has the opportunity to rest and recharge with family and close ones over the upcoming long weekend.
As a reminder the university is closed on Friday April 10, 2020 for a statutory holiday. Best wishes to those celebrating religious holidays over the weekend and upcoming week.
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto