PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It would be difficult to find something that hasn’t changed over the past year and half, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. But on the Brown University campus, President Christina H. Paxson said there’s at least one thing that has remained steadfast.
“Whenever I talk about what makes Brown such a special place to work and learn, the answer is simple,” Paxson said in a Monday, June 7, virtual address kicking off the 27th annual Staff Development Days. “It’s the people.”
This year’s four-day event — compared with the typical one-day professional development event in most years — was a testament, Paxson said, to the dedication of the Brown employees who worked to sustain a motivated, compassionate and collaborative community during a time of upheaval and uncertainty.
The arrival of the pandemic canceled last year’s Staff Development Day, where gathering as a community is a tradition for staff who participate. But this time around, “with over 14 months of remote working under our belts, we feel much differently about successfully building and maintaining community,” in virtual format, said Darlene Williamson, assistant director of talent development programs.
On a campus still emerging from a fragile public health situation, some staples of Staff Development Day were simply not feasible; there were no in-person community service events like in previous years, and in lieu of the traditional day-end celebration, staff and their families were invited attend nightly drive-in movies in North Smithfield, Rhode Island.