Message from the Vice-President Academic

Amidst the normal year end frazzled nerves – whether you are a student finishing off those last assignments and studying for exams, faculty grading and planning exams, or staff closing out one fiscal year while advising, registering students, and planning for the next academic year – this year we have all been bearing the weight of the worldwide pandemic. You may be part of a family where someone has had the disease, or is part of the healthcare efforts, or you may have been isolating to keep yourself or someone you care about safe. You have suffered loss of people you love, time with friends, celebrations of important life events, and certainty about the future.

Whatever your situation, it has been a really tough year.

Many people are voicing that they feel frayed, souls scooped thin, having trouble focusing. Take heart! Part of this is the normal end of term angst and stress. And then there’s the extra COVID-stress. We are almost at the end. Light is expanding! Vaccines are picking up speed and they are making a difference. Together, we can make it through as a community.

If you are feeling like a prickly hedgehog these days, identify what you can do to care for yourself. If you find others are responding with more than usual edge, try to be gracious, supportive, kind. This has been a year unlike any we have experienced. We are learning how to make it through well. And it is tough.

So please be kind to yourself. And extend empathy to your fellow human beings who are also trying to get through as best they can.

Just one more week of classes and then exams. You can do it! Days are getting longer and light is expanding.

Convocation June 11, 6pm Virtual Ceremony – Book your Calendars now

If you are graduating this year, there will be a Virtual Convocation on June 11 at 6pm. Book it now into your calendars so you can celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we are unable to host our usual in-person ceremony. If restrictions allow, there may be something else in addition to the virtual ceremony, but we will not know until we see how the current round of COVID restrictions will impact the case counts. The Registrar’s Office will be emailing official notice soon to your StMU account.

Psychology Program Information Session Monday April 12, 11am


  • Navigate successfully through this degree and beyond …
  • Everything you need to know about the 3-year, 4-year, and 4-year Honours degree programs
  • Learn more about what career and/or further educational opportunities are open to you
  • Find out how to apply to the Honours program
  • Meet the current Honours students; experience examples of Honours projects and testimonials
  • Monday April 12th at 11:00AM
  • Check your StMU email account for the MS Teams link Coming soon!

For more information or questions prior to the event, please contact:
Our Faculty Liaison:
Our current President:
Our main email account:

Indigenous Voices Series – Elders and Knowledge Keepers share Lessons from the COVID pandemic

Documentary filmmaker Valarie Kaur on listening:

“Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear.

When I really want to hear another person’s story, I try to leave my preconceptions at the door and draw close to their telling. I am always partially listening to the thoughts in my own head when others are speaking, so I consciously quiet my thoughts and begin to listen with my senses.

Empathy is cognitive and emotional—to inhabit another person’s view of the world is to feel the world with them. But I also know that it’s okay if I don’t feel very much for them at all. I just need to feel safe enough to stay curious.

The most critical part of listening is asking what is at stake for the other person. I try to understand what matters to them, not what I think matters. Sometimes I start to lose myself in their story. As soon as I notice feeling unmoored, I try to pull myself back into my body, like returning home. As Hannah Arendt says, ‘One trains one’s imagination to go visiting.’ When the story is done, we must return to our skin, our own worldview, and notice how we have been changed by our visit.”

Source: See No Stranger

You can do it. Just focus on what you need to do today. You’ve got this.

Please be safe this weekend. Stay in your household groups, wear your mask everywhere, and minimize contacts and travel. Let’s stop this virus in the 3rd wave!

Until next week,
Tara Hyland-Russell
Vice-President Academic