News & Reports

January 2015

Winterlude Brunch

Debra Titone
Department of Psychology

Participants enjoy food in the faculty clubOn January 18, 2015, MAUT held a "Winterlude Brunch" at the gorgeous McGill Faculty Club, organized by the Membership Committee.  Free to MAUT members, and open to non-members for a nominal cost, McGill academic staff and their families were treated to a vast and delicious array of brunch offerings (the poached eggs over sautéed spinach were a particular stand-out), surrounded by a roaring fire, the company of colleagues, and new and old friends. 

All of this was enjoyed by more than 120 participants, including 33 children. We were especially pleased to see so many young children in attendance, whose delighted reactions to the stories and songs of our two special guests made leaving the comfort of warm homes on a cold Sunday morning more than worth it. Two princesses entertain the children

Children visiting the Redpath museumFollowing the brunch, many attendees visited the Redpath Museum on their own, where Membership Committee members had the opportunity to put some final touches on an upcoming MAUT family event at the Redpath, tentatively scheduled for March (stay tuned for more details).

Photo credits: Debra Titone

November 2014

MAUT mixers reveal the true value of an academic staff association

Terry Hébert
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

String quartetOn September 9th and October 5th, 2014, MAUT held two gatherings, where for a little while anyway, both members and non-members could talk about something other than problems with the pension plan and cutbacks in provincial funding for the university. At the first event, held at the Faculty Club downtown, 157 people (academic staff and their families) attended a back to school mixer which was also a welcome to new academic staff and non-members. A string quartet, costumed from the era of Mozart, provided an entertaining background to meetings of old friends and hopefully new members, and a room with special activities both amused the children and gave parents a chance to mingle with their colleagues.

Apple picking at the Morgan ArboretumThe second event was held at Tadja Hall, the Faculty Club on the MacDonald campus. This event was filled right up to capacity (231 people!) and many had to be turned  away.  The Faculty Club and its manager, Nicolas Zrihen, facilitated the first event, reminding me again of the integral connection between the Club and MAUT. However, this second event, which was held onWelcome to the Faculty Club a beautiful fall day, would not have been possible without Nicolas and his team at both sites. Not only did they provide the food free of charge to MAUT, but they took time out of their weekends to cook and serve it, making the day special for members and non-members alike. The endless energy of Honore Kerwin-Borrelli, MAUT’s Administrative Officer was another essential ingredient in the success of both events. Our legal advisor, Joseph Varga was also kind enough to take pictures of both events! The fun at Tadja Hall also included apple picking in the McGill orchard, and I can tell you the apples were perfect- crunchy and sweet! Again the most striking thing (at least to me) was how many of our colleagues brought their families to both events, and how obviously the children  enjoyed the activities planned for them. 

The membership committee of MAUT (Stefano Algieri, Ken Hastings, Tara Mawhinney, Greg Mikkleson, Debra Titone and myself), who conceived and organized these social  events, have been thinking for some time about the value of an academic staff association. We concluded that MAUT has a tremendous and often unappreciated value in fighting the good fight- under difficult economic and political conditions, and always with a sense of collegiality. We also know that an academic staff association per se cannot win all these battles and must understandably bear criticism for that. That said, the true value of an academic staff association should be to bring us together, not only over shared concerns, but also over shared interests, and preferably over a glass of wine. I have always said that the best thing about MAUT was that it allowed me to meet and interact with colleagues from many different departments, faculties and units.  I think our two recent events showed that there are many among us who share that view. There was a genuine good vibe at the downtown event that ran from its opening until the last drink was served. Non-members  told us that this was a great idea and that most were happily surprised to have been invited! The apple picking event at Tadja Hall was also wildly successful beyond our initial hopes.

MAUT is Bringing people togetherthe voice of the academic staff at McGill, so its efforts on behalf of its members affect and benefit all regardless of membership. A majority of academic staff are MAUT members but, of course, ideally all should be. MAUT works on behalf of all academics. Thus, we all share responsibility for making the university and our association what we want it to be. This is especially true if there are aspects about our experiences as academic staff at McGill, or about MAUT itself, that we wish to improve. The work of the MAUT membership committe to enhance the impact of MAUT as a promoter of pleasant and rewarding collegial interactions will, we think, make the utility and importance of the association more evident to all, and thus contribute to increasing our membership.

What can we take from the success of these two events? A survey conducted by the membership committee in the wake of these two mixers showed a genuine interest from both members and non-members alike in having more such events. With that in mind, the MAUT membership committee is already planning another event to help soothe your post holiday blues for the middle of January 2015. All we’ll say for now is bring your appetites, some warm clothes and of course, your families!


Photo credits: Joseph Varga