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All courses for every first-year Science student will be delivered online this fall. A limited number of students in their second, third and fourth years will return to campus for part of the semester.

Forging Connections During A Remote Fall Term

Debbie MarinoffDebbie Marinoff has joined the Faculty of Science on a part-time secondment as the first Manager of Remote Experiences. Debbie will be helping connect students, faculty members and staff online during the fall term.

What skills and experience are you bringing to the Faculty of Science?
I’ve worked at McMaster University for over 30 years in several roles in the Department of Athletics and Recreation, mainly as the Manager of Recreation Services. This will be my first job outside the Athletics and Recreation world so I'm definitely out of my “comfort zone”. I'm bringing a fresh set of eyes to the challenges that remote learning and connecting online brings.

I graduated from York University with a BSc in Physical Education so I was very fortunate to start my career in the field that I had trained for immediately after graduation. I started at McMaster when it was the School of Physical Education and Athletics (a long time ago!) and was very involved in practicum teaching and curriculum development at the beginning of my career. I also worked as the assistant swim coach and was the Chair of Women’s Athletics. I've been involved with many athletic events on the volunteer management side – World Cycling Championships, World Basketball Championships, FISU Women’s Soccer and I enjoyed volunteering at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

I've also been on a number of university committees - most recently on the HR Review Team and have done past work on the University Joint Health and Safety committee and the TMG Total Compensation Redesign Committee.

I'll be bringing all of that student engagement, project management and people management skills to this new role in the Faculty of Science.

What projects will you be taking on as Manager of Remote Experiences?
This is a part-time secondment so I'm excited by the connections I'll be making with Student Affairs and the Faculty of Science. The Dean’s vision is to ensure that the remote experience is successful for everyone in the Faculty. I'll serve as project manager for some emerging initiatives and will assist with coordination and connection with our undergraduate and graduate student clubs, representatives and governing bodies, and Science staff and faculty members. I'll also be an additional point of connection between the Faculty of Science and Archway and other initiatives from the Office of the Associate Vice President Students and Learning. I'll also be working on the planning required to operationalize the new Faculty of Science Strategic Plan.

What makes for a great online experience?
Assuming the tech basics are in place (having the right bandwidth, the right hardware/software, etc.), being engaged and focused, creating the right “work” spot for your style, patience with yourself and your instructors and taking the initiative to stay connected to friends and family are all things that will enhance the remote experience. And balancing it out with physical activity is critical to success of course!

How have you been holding up through the pandemic?
It’s been a challenge to virtualize my work and life as I am sure it has been for everyone. The uncertainty of what the next day will bring is extremely stressful and unnerving. However, I have tried to focus on the positives – more time with my family, learning some new tech and trying to make every day productive. Exercising and trying to be more physically active has been a challenge, but absolutely essential for my ability to cope and deal with stress. There are so many great on-line exercise resources (including some excellent fitness classed delivered by the Pulse volunteers) that it has been easy to find something to keep me challenged.
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