This interview, and a short article about Queen’s College, will appear in the June print issue of Anglican Life.
Q. What is the theme word of your Winter 2020 Semester?
A. Resilience has to be my word for the College, our students, faculty members and community of friends of the College who have shown their hardiness and flexibility. It was a challenging semester…one like no other in my experience as a student, instructor, or administrator. We had a sequence of obstacles. We anticipated having our space refurbished with new flooring and painting by the start of the winter semester. The tradespeople discovered there was asbestos in the sub-floors. That required major work to complete the asbestos removal. That caused a delay to accessing the college for on campus classes, chapel, and activities for the first week of the semester, so we had online classes. Then, we were just underway, and we were hit by “Stormageddon,” and we then had sequential snowstorms…and in mid-March we had to make the adjustments for COVID-19. Our students and faculty members rolled with the challenges. We stayed on schedule for classes, and finished the term on schedule. The resilience is not only showing the mettle of our people, but we are learning from it.
Q. What lessons are being learned from the experience of this global pandemic?
A. We are learning numerous lessons. I will name a few:
1. The capacity to be connected while being separated. A few years ago, we started to use the internet to connect people for studies. We are now seeing the capacity to build substantial connections and community by prudent use of online technology. We continue to have an online community gathering for Mid-day Prayer and conversations each Tuesday at noon.
2. A second lesson, in my mind, is the value of our initiative in missional leadership and spiritual entrepreneurship. The world will not go back to the way it was. We must be serious about going into the world to connect in new and different ways. It gives opportunity to discern how we join God in bringing about the Kingdom in a restructuring world.
3. A third lesson, not new for most I hope, is the value of being rooted in the joy of the Gospel…the knowledge that God is faithful to us at all times, including in the mystery and confusion of this lingering global crisis.
Q. How will you prepare for the fall semester?
A. While we do not know how things will resolve with COVID-19, we are planning for the fall semester and we are gearing up to offer a full program. We will adjust as needed. We do know we will likely need to allow some flexibility in our program regulations. We will consult regarding internships, both parish internships and supervised practice of ministry. As we move through the spring and summer, hopefully, things will become clearer and we will become more specific on course and program planning. We will continue to offer our usual online courses and our Associate program.
Q. What are you plans, considering you were planning to retire in July?
A. I originally took the position of provost for three years. The Corporation asked me to stay on for an extra year while a new Provost was recruited. That year will end on July 31st. But, like most others things on earth, COVID-19 has forced changes to plans. This time of turmoil is not a good time for change of leadership in any organization. I will stay on as Provost until things settle in to a new routine and stabilize enough to allow for a transition of leadership. I expect to be here for the Fall Semester.