Making Time to Celebrate — Donna Ellis, CTE DirectorMaking Time to Celebrate

It can be so easy to get caught up in our daily tasks that we overlook all that we can celebrate.  I’m the first one to admit that the lure of a concrete task can sidetrack me from taking a step back and celebrating our accomplishments and contributions.  And yet those celebrations are so very important.

Just last month in CTE, we celebrated our move to EV1.  I wasn’t too sure how many people might join us at this event – there were no special attractions, no speeches, no official ribbon-cutting.  It was just an opportunity to come and find us in our new location and join us for cake and coffee.  And yet, we had a wonderful turnout.  It was exciting to welcome our colleagues and encouraging to know that they can now find us more easily another time.  We even had some fun with a trivia contest – congrats to Sandra Keyes from the Library for being able to answer my colleague Mark’s tricky questions!

We celebrated even more broadly by hosting the 6th annual Loving to Learn Day.  In this case, we were celebrating learning.  My thanks go out to all of those who took the time to dream a little about what they would like to learn instantaneously.  And thanks as well to the man behind the scenes – Mark Morton.  CTE also celebrated learning within our own department, participating in a professional development day on February 16th.  We shared what we have learned about various topic areas regarding “communication” and had fun together at the same time.

Do celebrations always have to involve fun?  Perhaps not in the same way as an official celebratory event.  Most recently, I have been spending time discussing performance appraisals with the staff in CTE.  These conversations may not involve cake, and yet they are still celebratory events to me.  We have an awesome team here (and no, I’m not biased!).  When I review their many accomplishments for the past year, I can clearly see how much they all contribute to the culture of teaching and learning at Waterloo.  My thanks go out to each and every staff member who makes CTE a great place to work!

So maybe I’m the only one who needs the reminder, but if you haven’t made the time to celebrate a noteworthy occasion – be it a milestone or the contribution of a colleague – I encourage you to do so.  It may help to renew your energy enough to get you through your next task…

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Donna Ellis

Donna Ellis has supported the teaching development of Waterloo faculty members and graduate students since 1994. In her role as Director, she oversees the development and delivery of all the Centre for Teaching Excellence programming and services, which include individual faculty consultations; events directed at graduate students, new faculty, and established faculty regarding face-to-face teaching, blended learning, and emerging technologies; online resources; curriculum and program review consultations; and research support services. Donna has a PhD from Waterloo’s Management Sciences program and completed her dissertation research on instructional innovations. She also has an MA in Language and Professional Writing from Waterloo, and has taught in the Speech Communication program. Donna, along with her husband, spends time away from work raising three fine boys.

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