This year, April 27th marked Administrative Professionals' Day – but appreciation for the fantastic administrative staff in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is an everyday event!
Drawing from community submissions to our recent Kindness Campaign, we spoke to a few of the many exceptional people who ensure that FASS – one of the largest and most diverse faculties at Carleton University, with 38 different areas of study, over 7,000 students and 325 faculty members – runs smoothly throughout the fall, winter and summer terms.
As someone whose job would be impossible without professional staff support, I know that FASS would be adrift without the skills and dedication of our talented administrators. On behalf of all our faculty and students, thank you for your service!Dean L. Pauline Rankin, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
As someone whose job would be impossible without professional staff support, I know that FASS would be adrift without the skills and dedication of our talented administrators. On behalf of all our faculty and students, thank you for your service!
When not being fantastic administrators, you can find FASS staff knitting, reading, playing hockey, swimming, Netflix-binging, snowshoeing, skating, scuba diving, gardening, gaming, doing yoga, cooking, hiking, fishing, biking, and spending quality time with family, friends and pets.
But while their hobbies are diverse, one thing was common across everyone we spoke to: helping students find success and achieve their goals is the most rewarding part of their jobs.
Without further ado, here are some words of wisdom from just some of the outstanding administrative staff who keep the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences afloat:
Melissa Lett is the Main Office and Undergraduate Administrator in the Department of Cognitive Science. Her Carleton Journey began in 2010 when she began her studies as a Criminology student.
What's the #1 piece of wisdom you would give to Carleton students?
Speak to your academic advisor early on in your degree. Your advisors are filled with helpful resources and will ensure you are on the right track to completing your degree.
What's the best career advice you've ever received or heard?
One of my favourite quotes comes from Steve Jobs. It reads: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better as the years roll on. So, keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” I believe that being happy in what you do is key to being successful wherever your career may take you.
Darlene Moss is Departmental Administrator and Tanya Schwartz is Undergraduate Administrator in the Department of History. Tanya will be joining the ranks of Carleton alumni this spring, having just finished her BA Honours in Political Science with a concentration in Canadian Politics.
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
Both of us share a passion for helping others and seeing them succeed. There is really nothing better than hearing the relief in someone’s voice when you’ve answered their question or helped them with a vexing problem.
How do you motivate yourself in work and life?
Both of us have this feeling of gratefulness that we bring to our personal and professional lives. We are lucky and thankful to have so many people who have helped us, guided us, and mentored us. In turn, we want to do the same for others and that’s what pushes us to offer the best support we can. As Darlene would say, life is short, so we need to make the most of it. And as Tanya would say, there’s no task that can’t be made more enjoyable with a smile and a wisecrack or two.
Nick Arial is Graduate Administrator (Religion and Public Life), Karina Auclair is College Administrator and Andrea McIntyre is Undergraduate Administrator (Bachelor of Humanities) at the College of the Humanities. After many months of working remotely from home, the admin team was recently able to get together in person for a fun group breakfast, as seen in this photo.
Andrea: Helping students, always has been and will be.
Karina: Creating a supportive and welcoming environment for everyone to thrive in.
Nick: Definitely getting to help the students and give back to the department that raised me! The faculty and staff of the Religion department mean so much to me, I am blessed to have been given an opportunity to work alongside them.
Andrea: You’re paying tuition fees to be here so don’t be scared to ask for what you want or need. Also, don’t procrastinate (easier said than done lol!)
Karina: Practice living in the moment and finding the joy in learning!
Nick: Take time to appreciate your university experience. It may seem like a long road to graduation, but it goes by quicker than you think, so make sure to take the time to enjoy the journey along the way.
Rima Sanaallah is Departmental Administrator and Lauren Wells-McGregor is Graduate Administrator in the Department of Philosophy. Two fun facts: Rima is hugely into fitness and sports (soccer and volleyball in particular, at the moment!) and Lauren has three rescue cats (plus a betta fish) and frequently volunteers with animal shelters.
Lauren: Please don’t forget to take care of your mental health. It can become so easy to neglect while in school, but it’s important to ensure we’re taking good care of ourselves. The Health and Counselling services on campus are a wonderful resource, and I’m also on the Student Mental Health Advisory Committee – so students can also feel free to ask me for information about the resources Carleton offers.
Rima: Build your connections! Chat with your profs, chat with your peers, join a club or a team, attend that conference, take part in that competition! Don’t be afraid to take up space, or rather, don’t let your fears stop you from building your connections. You never know how a person or experience can impact your life, whether it’s personally or professionally.
Lauren: Even if you think you’re not qualified for a position, apply anyway! You never know what the job will be like until you talk to the hiring committee, and even if you don’t have everything listed in the job description you should never underestimate yourself. You may have everything they’re looking for (and more).
Rima: I’ll take a bit of a different spin on this question to say that: rejection is redirection! At a time in my life, I wanted to go to medical school, but couldn’t get into schools in Canada; I then got into optometry school at Berkeley (California) but couldn’t afford the tuition. At that time in my life, I was upset that the career goals that I had been thinking of for years weren’t working out, and these barriers had me really sit and question whether I wanted to stay in pursuit of these careers or explore other options. As time went on, I realized that these careers were truly not suitable for me/my personality/my lifestyle. By being redirected, I found a career that I never would have pursued otherwise, and I am so thankful for it!
Patricia Lacroix is Graduate Program Administrator, Stephanie LeBlanc is Administrative Assistant to the Chair, Kim Mitchell is Undergraduate Program Administrator and Paula Whissell is Departmental Administrator in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Together with their colleague Kimberley Seguin, this admin team has over one hundred years of collective experience working at Carleton!
Stay on top of everything!!! Keep up with classes and readings. It is really tough to catch up if you fall behind because life is so busy. Work out the dollar value to the hours of your course(s) and know that each hour of class or readings missed is costing you X number of dollars. And more importantly – enjoy your time on campus and at the university. You could develop life-long friendships and experience real personal growth. Time passes very quickly – enjoy every moment.
If you can, get involved. The people you meet in university can help you not only with school material but can become lifelong friends. You never know what saying hello to a fellow classmate or stopping by a University Centre 4th floor fair may lead to.
Remember that this is only one small part of your very big life. The work you do here in your program at Carleton University is important, but it will not define you, and it will not be your defining moment. It is an important step, but only one of many steps you will take.
My advice to students is to find the course load that works best for them – between school and work they also have to find time for themselves – it's all about finding the balance.
How do you motivate yourself (in work, life, etc.)?
I’m old school (old school, not old 😊) – motivation comes from within – it’s commitment, reliability, honesty, and a sense of belonging. A little chocolate and wine helps too!
The cat! His desire for food, treats, and snuggles are great motivation to keep moving forward.
My motivation comes from wanting the best for people. Whether in studies, or in life, it takes so little to be kind, or to help one another. Amazing that I am paid to do both! When I forget, my boss reminds me why I should be motivated!!
Scott Brown is Supervisor and Andrew Yuill and Raymond Boilard are Consulting Analysts on the FASS Computing Support team. In addition to being the glue (Solder? Electrical tape?) holding our faculty together through its adventures in hybrid learning and remote work, this tech-savvy team boasts some very cute pets, including Rigby the 1-year-old golden retriever and Mikey the cat (pictured below).
Andrew: Setting up new computer equipment for faculty and staff and seeing how much newer equipment can really boost productivity since everything runs so much faster than their older computers.
Scott: The most rewarding part of my job is fixing people’s issues. Whether this is with newer equipment or just advice, it’s really satisfying when you’re able to help make someone’s work life easier.
Raymond: Helping to resolve problems such as network connection, retrieving deleted files from flash drives, and setting up new systems for faculty and staff.
Scott: My old boss Marianne Keyes was amazing. She’s the reason I am where I am today. She would always tell me: “It’s okay to fail. That’s how we learn.” I try to remember that when I’m having a hard day and things aren’t going well.
Andrew: I first started working at Carleton as a coop student at the Sprott School of Business. My manager would ask me to regularly check in with the different main offices of Sprott in Dunton Tower. We did this to try and be proactive on any tech problems and it helped me realize the importance of thinking proactively.
Raymond: Always keep up on the latest trends in computers, operating systems, and network connections.
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
330 Paterson Hall
1125 Colonel By Drive
FASSOD@Carleton.caPhone: 613-520-2355Contact page