2021 year has ended. I am grateful to have survived and thrive in reaching out to level 40 of the journey called life and celebrating New Year with the loved ones around the table in Kamloops, BC, with Zoom extension and Global reach to everyone who keeps me grateful every day for what we have.
There is much news, and it will take several blog posts to share the highlights from 2021 and thank everyone who made my 2021 year complete. And the 2021 cup is full of people who show their care, love, and share using unique ways to demonstrate their presence in my life. Thank you.
I am grateful to all I have met and re-connected with within 2021. It was not easy to do as the COVID-19 pandemic made Zoom connections more possible than in-person gatherings. However, I still visited Winnipeg in person twice in 2021 (one trip was on UHAUL truck from Dryden, ON) and saw a few people without whom I would never be able to live in Canada: my Canadian family! I miss in-person connections with everyone in Ukraine and friends in Canada and worldwide whom I didn’t see in person in 2021.
I enjoyed travelling in BC and hope to continue the tradition to visit Vancouver Island not only because of escaping wildfires and the smoke of Kamloops. The year was very challenging in the province I live in. In addition to COVID-19, which affected communities globally, people of BC suffered from flooding, wildfires and other climate emergencies beyond what was considered to be average weather anomalies. Our house is okay(BC housing prices skyrocketed too, based on BC assessment released a few days ago on January 1, 2022). We had a COVID-free year in our Kamloops family. However, witnessing people suffering from climate disasters, pandemic, wars, and other human-made problems greatly impacted me. The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming, and I am grateful for everyone who offered support and opportunities for connections in 2021.
There are many moments of celebrations that are important to note in 2021:
I have been awarded tenure and promotion at TRU, a significant achievement for those who know the academic environment. I am grateful to all who supported me on the tenure journey. As I said before, it takes a village to complete a Ph.D., but it takes a country to reach tenure and receive National recognition. Thanks to tenure, I will keep using academic freedom to promote social work values and hope to voice concerns that might not be easy to speak about without having job security. Tenure also allows me to plan for the future, knowing that I have permanency in supporting my family and doing what I love: sharing knowledge to create a better world for everyone. I am very grateful that Jessica joined our family, and in 2022 I will have an opportunity to explore this relationship further.
In 2022 I took a lot of leadership assignments. My signature on the TRU e-mail (I will include it at the end) reminds me that I need to keep learning how to say no as it is very challenging to manage all the services I provide while teaching and conducting research. This year, in addition to being co-chair of the Faculty Council, TRU Senator, and co-chair of the CASWE-ACFTS Social Policy and Advocacy committee, I was elected to support TRU Faculty Association as a member of the salary and working condition committee and co-chair of the TRUFA Human Rights Committee. The most significant step in the National social work leadership role was an election to become a director to the Canadian Association for Social Work Education board and working with the social work educators across Canada. In addition, I completed two programs (TRU Leaders and Mental Health Leadership) to advance my leadership skills outside of the classroom. Although I haven’t yet found out how to address some academic leadership concerns, I now have a network of colleagues who help me manage some of the challenges.
Students kept me inspired during the pandemic. It is part of the work I love the most, and always looking for any opportunity to advance my expertise in teaching courses in Canada and beyond. I have developed a new model on how to design social work programs accessible to students from around the globe. In future, I hope TRU or any other university will adopt the “On and Off the Ground” approach to teaching, I developed using the Glider model from my Ph.D. work. The “On and Off the Ground” approach will help me realize my dream of making social work education accessible for all from one location. Currently, most TRU social work classes can only be accessed by students on campus, while I continue to deliver “On and Off the Ground” courses that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
To advance “On and Off the Ground” teaching, I started offering regular Saturday classes for the community. In addition, thanks to the TRU (Kamloops)-BKNU (Cherkasy) partnership, I developed a Ukrainian Diaspora Studies Program where everyone can join and learn what it means to be Ukrainian in the global context. More than 130 people from around the world registered on Zoom and received weekly e-mails with lecture notes, and on average, 5-10 people attended weekly live Zoom classes. Thanks to the Facebook classes trial, we expanded our offerings and included #ILoveUkrEng course for everyone curious to learn Ukrainian language from having English as a foundation for learning new vocabulary. In 2022 we will expand the offering of #IloveUkrEng and continue building on Ukrainian Diaspora classes developed in 2021 to create new versions of Ukrainian Diaspora outside of Canada, Ukrainian-Canadian Cuisine and Ukrainians in Canada courses. The winter term course, Ukrainians in Canada: Digging Deeper, will look at Ukrainian-Canadians across Provinces and Territories and highlight the uniqueness of experiences and people’s stories. I also use ZOOMeets and hope to record more videos with Members of Ukrainian Diaspora communities and Social Workers in Canada and worldwide to advance knowledge and feature amazing people who share a passion about Ukraine/Social Work with others. I only wish days had more than 24 hours to do all of these activities faster.
Thank you for everyone’s support in sharing your stories and contributions to making each project a success.
I keep sharing my time with the community, and although I cannot respond to all e-mail / phone / Facebook / skype / WhatsUp / and other requests, please know that if you haven’t heard from me, it does not mean I forgot about your presence in my life. I am often overwhelmed and still learning how to prioritize and balance. It is a lifelong skill that I wish to improve but still struggling with how to do it more efficiently and effectively. If anyone wants to connect, I am often available on Saturdays, so once you register on Zoom to receive my weekly e-mails, you will know when the next Ukrainian-Canadian class will be held, and everyone is welcome to attend. We can meet after class on Zoom: 2021-2022 Free Community Learning Courses Zoom Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrcuigrzotE93SIeUEtKUMZWROj_j1ZbPv Otherwise, I have minimal availability for non-current students, teaching, research or TRU related service questions as I am trying to protect the only day I can spend with my family: Sunday and practice taking regular vacation leave. I also hope that the pandemic soon is over and I can restore some of the connecting activities I used to do, such as grading retreats, conferences and other travel for education, service and research. For now, everyone is welcome in my garden in Kamloops as I learn how to connect with the Earth on a new level through vegetables, fruit trees, berries, and flowers planting and gardening to keep the balance between the research, service and teaching.
I wish you all the best in 2022. Please know that I am grateful for the connection and love reading your updates, hearing about your successes and challenges and any in-person opportunities that can be created in the future.
Happy New Year. My other updates I post on the website, so if you do not like receiving e-mails from me, just let me know and check updates on https://krasun.ca/blog/. On the other hand, if you prefer to receive e-mail updates, please subscribe via the Zoom link above, as I plan to delete all inactive e-mails from the contact list. Everyone is always welcome to connect to my professional community of friends and colleagues on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/krasun and LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/krasun/
Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov PhD, MSW (he/він)
Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Human Service
Faculty of Education and Social Work
Thompson Rivers University campuses are on the traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops campus) and the T’exelc (Williams Lake campus) within Secwepemcúlucw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc. The region TRU serves also extends into the territories of the St’át’imc, Nlaka’pamux, Tŝilhqot’in, Nuxalk, and Dakelh.
AE 275 805 TRU Way, Kamloops, BC V2C 0C8
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: @TheSWEducator @EMPRSocialWork
Local/National/International Community and Professional Role and Service:
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Elected Senator
Education and Social Work (EDSW) Faculty Council Elected Co-chair
Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association (TRUFA) Elected Co-chair Human Rights Committee
Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association (TRUFA) Elected Member of Salary and Working Conditions Committee
Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS) Elected Board Director
Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS) Elected Co-chair Social Policy and Advocacy Committee
human services Information Technology association (husITa.org) Elected Board Member
International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) Life Friend Member (Canada)
International Association Schools of Social Work (IASSW) Individual Life Member (Ukraine)
I acknowledge my place of birth in Lviv, Halychyna, Ukraine.
My first Canadian home is in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on treaty No. 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland.
My second Canadian home is in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, located in Mi’kma’ki, the Mi’kmaq’s ancestral and unceded territory.
My third Canadian home and current primary residence and workplace (Thompson Rivers University) is in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepemcúl’ecw I want to thank students, faculty and staff from Thompson Rivers University, Dalhousie University, University of Manitoba, Wilfrid Laurier University, Lakehead University, McEwan University, and University of Northern British Columbia in Canada and Cherkasy National University, Lviv Polytechnic National University and Ukrainian Catholic University in Ukraine for past and current partnerships and opportunities to share my teaching, service and research skills.