February 2024

We are in the thick of our annual budget report process, which also means that I and other members of the senior administrative team have been spending a lot of time talking with you about your annual reports, statistics, needs, and future aspirations. Budget reports are always slightly odd creatures, where we both talk about our tremendous achievements, but also note where we might be at risk of failing to meet the university’s expectations. We certainly have many achievements to be proud of, and let’s be hopeful that there is a sense of shared responsibility around the ways the university helps us meet our academic mission. Of course, budget season is local, too, so many thanks to all of you who are working on your GA and hourly wage requests. Speaking as someone who started their career running the reserve room, and hiring, training, and scheduling a lot of student employees, I know what a big job that is.

Once we are through this intensive budgeting phase, we will be ready to revise our strategic framework, and with that I hope will come an opportunity for conversation about our big areas of work and our core values – the things that are truly cross-cutting, and which define us and drive us forward. I anticipate a time-bounded planning process of some kind that everyone in our organization will be able to participate in. Given that we are in the midst of a busy academic semester, we can’t shut down for a week and go on retreat (if only!) but we will make time for as many synchronous conversations as we can. I have heard so many times since I got here how much you miss getting together with your colleagues in person. As you know, we have the summer employee celebration to look forward to (more about that in future messages), but maybe we can think of these smaller planning gatherings as warm-ups to it. And for those of you with hybrid and remote schedules – we will for sure find ways to make sure you are fully included and engaged.

All the best for a productive continuation to the semester.

Claire Stewart
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian