Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Concordia University was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2021):
- Concordia University launched a virtual support network called "CU at Home" to help keep the campus community connected during the pandemic -- the initiative offers regular online programming on a variety of topics, including self-care workshops, family-friendly activities, fitness classes, art sessions and research webinars, to name only a few
- Concordia University provides exceptional family-friendly benefits, including a full year of paid leave for employees who are new mothers and parental leave top-up payments for fathers and adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 32 and 37 weeks respectively) -- employees may also extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence or phase in their return to work
- Concordia University honours exceptional performance and achievement through an extensive recognition program with awards in a variety of categories, including sustainability champion, safety recognition, volunteer recognition, teaching excellence, academic leadership, research and innovation
Top marks for engagement at Concordia University
With its commitment to research and innovation, Concordia University is precisely where you’d expect to find lots of creative problem-solving – especially when it’s needed most.
Take, for example, Elizabeth Miller, a professor and internationally acclaimed documentary maker who teaches in the Department of Communication Studies. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic limited access to campus and abruptly halted a field course she and her colleague, MJ Thompson of the Department of Art Education, were planning.
The course was originally designed as a seven-day intensive involving cycling, camping, researching, and documenting “wastescapes,” Miller says. But with strict limitations on group encounters, the course needed to be rethought. Fifteen syllabus iterations later, the course became a series of self-guided cycling tours and Zoom “camp fires.”
In the end, the students explored the problems of waste, cycling pathways and zero-waste practices. Students grasped the spirit of the project, Miller says. “They got outside and thought about creative solutions to some of our most complex waste problems.”
Keeping students safe, healthy and engaged was among the wide range of challenges confronting Concordia as it adapted to the pandemic.
President Graham Carr says research is a key societal mission for the university so it has re-opened 230 of its research labs under strict health and safety protocols. Libraries have also re-opened on a more limited basis.
At the same time, Carr says, it was important to maintain a sense of community among Concordia’s 60,000 stakeholders, most of whom are now working or studying from home. Consequently, the university introduced virtual town halls for faculty and staff, plus other measures. Initiatives include virtual home rooms where first-year students can meet new friends, and adopting teaching schedules that suit international students who’ve returned home.
Carr credits positive employee relations for how well the university has functioned through-out the pandemic.
“We’ve been able to accomplish so much because of the strong level of community and trust that’s been established,” he says. “People are willing to go the extra mile.”
That’s been her experience, Miller says. While Concordia’s workplace atmosphere has always been collegial, she and her colleagues have made a concerted, collective effort to acquire the knowledge and skills to meaningfully engage their students online.
“We have been thinking deeply about what matters most in our teaching,” Miller says. “It helps to feel that we are all in this together.”