By Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, Dean, Continuing Studies
Canadian designer and innovator Bruce Mau wrote a manifesto for growth in 1998 that starts with four simple words: "Let events change you." These words have never been more relevant than over the past 18 months. A global pandemic, climate change, racial injustice and calls for real action on respect and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples— there is no doubt that we are experiencing disruption and change on a massive scale. Much of this change may feel like it is being thrust upon us, but how we experience and respond to these events is critical. Ask yourself, when things get back to "normal," will I resume my old routines or try something new? When faced with new ideas, will I hold fast to my views or be open to diverse perspectives? How can I be part of designing a better future?
Mau said, "You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you: You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth are the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them."
This fall, I invite you to explore new ideas, design your new normal, and re-connect with others through learning. In the calendar, you will find a wide range of courses on everything from Intercultural Communication in the Workplace to an exploration of Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life. Deepen your knowledge about a particular subject, or explore a topic that you know absolutely nothing about. It's up to you.
Let events change you. What do these words mean for Continuing Studies at UVic? We have learned that being prepared, adaptable and responsive is critical. That's why we are offering small class or online learning environments to suit your lifestyle and comfort level. We've also introduced more flexible learning options like Introduction to Mycology, a new self-study course on fungi that enables you to gain foundational scientific knowledge at your own pace.
We have also seen how the pandemic has accelerated the need for professional growth and training. Continuing Studies has been actively working with industry and community partners to help people reskill and upskill for evolving work demands. This past year, we launched new micro-credential programs in business communication, administrative technology and emergency management, to name a few. And we're just getting started.
Massive change is afoot, inviting us to rethink how we live, work and solve complex problems for the planet. This fall, I encourage you to re-emerge from social isolation and reflect on recent events with others. Connect to diverse perspectives, share your big ideas, and just be open to new experiences. Let education change you.