All the Good Things 2016

Let’s just own it. It’s been a really rough year. However, over here are UVenus, we are eternal optimists and we would like to end on a positive note.

December 21, 2016

Let’s just own it. It’s been a really rough year.

However, over here are UVenus, we are eternal optimists and we would like to end on a positive note.

Give us all the good things. What is the best thing that happened in your higher ed world in 2016 and what do you hope to see more of in 2017?

Mary Churchill, Salem State University, Salem, MA, USA

It’s been a tough year. I’ve started a gratitude notebook and every night before I turn off the lamp on my night stand, I write down 3-5 things that I’m grateful for. It’s helped me focus on the positive. One recurring theme includes my colleagues. They are all the good things on my campus. The people. The faculty. The students. My fellow administrators. It’s been rough for all of us but still, we continue to show up and do the right thing for one another and for our students. I am grateful to be on a campus that knows that the people are the good stuff.


Deanna England, The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
This year I had the opportunity to participate on some new initiatives that allowed me to get to know some new people, and appreciate the positive things we are trying to achieve on campus. I was part of the United Way campus campaign which really highlighted the number of agencies which are either part of my institution or in our immediate neighbourhood. The fact that there are so many members of my community who truly wish to contribute and make the world a better place is heartening. I also participated on the sexual misconduct protocol committee, which reminded me that there truly are numerous like-minded, caring and supportive people surrounding me in this amazing place of work and learning. Having the chance to get to know a new section of wonderful humans through these initiatives has made my year a little brighter.


Janni Aragon, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

It felt like  this was a long year and one that I could not wait to end. I learned lots and like Mary, I was reading books related to gratitude or happiness. 2016 was the year of more strategic declines. I do not have to sit on every committee or do every darn thing. I also delegated more to to the super competent staff in the department that I lead. All of this meant more opportunities for the staff and better work/life balance for me. We have some new leadership on campus and I am looking forward to more change. As you can see, many of us are referring to people. I am lucky to work with some wonderful people at UVIC.


Meg Palladino, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

It has been such a busy year that this is the first time I have stopped to reflect.  It has been a  challenging year on our campus, but of course there have been some great things going on as well: the college expanded financial aid, we have two new residential colleges that will help us accept more extraordinary and talented students in the fall, and I got to meet the cutest little puppy, Handsome Dan XVIII.  In my office, we have made a huge effort to streamline operations and clarify policies, and think about how to improve student experiences.  One of the things that I have truly appreciated this year is the sense of teamwork I find among my colleagues, both on campus and across the Summer Session community.  Their support and friendship has made a tough year feel a lot lighter.


Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Northwestern University, IL, USA

I have tried to “reframe” events that felled my optimism for the future as a wake up call.  Perhaps this was the shock we needed to find common ground, embrace those we have ignored, and defend values our venal quest for capital obscured.  

Denise M. Horn, Simmons College, Boston MA

This was such a difficult year, but also one of great learning for me. Like my colleagues here at UV, I’m trying to think about how to reframe it. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to travel around China with my partner this summer, as well as introduce him to my favorite research sites in Indonesia. I also had the good fortune to attend the Bali Democracy Forum just a couple of weeks ago--it reminded me that people really do believe in democracy, and even when we have the kinds of setbacks we’ve experienced recently (not just in the US), people around the world are working toward a more fair, equitable, and diverse tomorrow.


We are grateful for your support and community in 2016 and we look forward to more in 2017.

Readers, what are your good things for 2016?


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