“The students and professors gave me the title of ‘lab mom’ because I look after them like they’re my kids.” | Naomi Takeda
Anne Billyard’s office is in the Desautels Faculty of Management’s Bronfman Building, on busy downtown Sherbrooke Street. Naomi Takeda works at the Montreal Neurological Institute & Hospital, perched on the steep slope where the city blends into the wild greenery of Mount Royal. They may not share a workplace, but Anne and Naomi have a lot in common. Together, they’ve clocked 45 years at McGill. Both were honoured with 2011 Principal’s Awards for Administrative and Support Staff, a recognition of their above-and-beyond dedication. And a lot of students and faculty depend on them.
“The students and professors gave me the title of ‘lab mom’ because I look after them like they’re my kids,” says Naomi. (Her other title is Administrative Coordinator in the Neurobiology Unit.) She’s the backbone for not one but five busy research labs. That means five times the grant proposals, five times the payroll paperwork and five times the grad students. “It’s quite a multi-tasking job,” she deadpans. And, yet, she still makes it a point to organize twice-a-year potlucks for the students. She holds one in the fall so new students can meet people and the other to celebrate the end of the school year.
Anne is close to many students, too, but she rarely shares a meal with them. And when she does, it’s usually in a restaurant in Tokyo.
Anne joined the Desautels Faculty of Management’s “MBA in Japan” program in 1998, a year after it began. (She’s worked at the Faculty, though, since 1981.) In the past 14 years, she’s helped hundreds of students through every stage of the program, from applying to registering for classes to graduation. She’s also responsible for making sure course materials make it to Tokyo prior to the start of each course.
Outside the day-to-day responsibilities, there are curveballs. In the chaotic hours and days after the March 2011 tsunami decimated parts of Japan, she tracked down every student and made sure they had a safe place to stay–and if they didn’t, she found one. “Our entire interaction over the years is through e-mail,” she says, “but I still really get to know them. Every other year or so, I go to Japan for the graduation ceremony–that’s the only time I get to meet each of them.”
The hard work and dedication of Naomi and Anne–and that of McGill’s 5,278 faculty and staff–are the engines driving McGill forward. The past year has been a time to both reflect and recognize these amazing achievements, and to plan for the challenges ahead:
Labour relations were also an important focus during the year, with the University signing new collective agreements with the SEU Trades, Powerhouse (downtown), Trades (Macdonald campus), the AGSEM Teaching Assistants and MUNACA/PSAC. The University also signed a first collective agreement with AMUSE, the union representing the University’s non-academic casual employees.
McGill ranked among Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the fourth consecutive year and was the only university to make the top 20 list. McGill received high grades for its physical workplace, for its employee training and skills development, and for its family-friendly health benefits. Randstad Canada also ranked McGill among its top five “Most Attractive Companies to Work for in Canada,” while Waterstone Human Capital placed the University among its own top five “Most Admired Corporate Cultures” in the public sector (Quebec and Atlantic Canada).
The first cohort of the redesigned Leadership Development Program graduated in April 2012. The new year-long program is divided into three streams: managers/supervisors, change agents and academic advisors.
In order to redesign the McGill website for maximum usability, Content and Collaboration Solutions and Communications and External Relations engaged in extensive community consultations. The resulting overhaul, which now allows users to customize the homepage based on their particular information needs, won the 2012 eduStyle Higher-Ed Web Awards for “Best Redesign”–and, in a user survey, has been praised for being “accessible,” “modern” and “user-friendly.”