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Our National Administrative Professionals Day celebrations continue!- Meet the Booth School’s Team Lead, Academic Programs, Jim Morrison and learn more about the transition to his current role, his educational background and more.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate our administrative staff?
Admin staff are often the glue that holds programs and institutions together. There is a huge amount of work that is involved to get to the point where instructors can teach and students can learn. The work being done may not make headlines and can often go unnoticed. But often, programs breakdown when there is a breakdown at the administrative level. The work is so integral. Our staff in particularly are just a group of people who show up everyday and want to help people. Some are more behind the scenes than others but they are all important for getting things done and all deserve acknowledgement for their work.
Jim, I understand that you have an interesting educational background! Can you describe this in further detail and your journey to your current position as Team Lead, Academic programs?
I completed my BSc. in Physics at the University of Guelph. After a couple years of working, I moved to Groningen, a city in the northern Netherlands. I lived there for four years and I completed my MSc. in Astronomy and Astrophysics during that time. I always loved science and really enjoyed completing my degrees, particularly my MSc., where I had some incredible experiences. It remains one of my greatest accomplishments. I was also working Admin jobs, both part time as a student and in-between my degrees. When I returned to Ontario in 2020, I was at a crossroads on what to do next. I very much considered my Ph.D., but I found my skillsets and situation seemed to best suited for admin. I was hired here in The Booth School as a Grad Admin, transferred over to an Undergrad Admin, and then became Team Lead, all within two years. Certainly did not expect so much progression in such a short time, so I feel pretty fortunate to come to a place where people believed in my ability to contribute.
What is the best part of your job?
For me, nothing beats the feeling of helping others. I remember my time in University – there is so much to learn, it can be overwhelming. I was also an international student and fully understand the extra stresses of trying to figure everything out in a place that is totally foreign to you. I remember the staff, instructors & friends, who helped me along the way and the impact they had on me. I feel like in my position I get to have a similar impact on students, instructors and staff. I just like going to work everyday and making peoples lives a bit easier. I feel like I do that here and it’s a rewarding experience.
4. What do you love most about working for The School of Engineering Practice & Technology (SEPT)?
I feel fortunate that I get to work in a department like SEPT. First off, I have found the people here, students, instructors and staff, to be so friendly and thankful for your time. It’s a nice atmosphere and makes coming to work enjoyable. I also feel like I can really relate to what the students in these programs, both Undergrad and Graduate, are going through. They aren’t easy programs and require a lot of work. I went through it myself and it’s a big part of why I feel like I am able to be of help here. I also love the B.Tech. and SEPT Grad program content. As I mentioned, I am a science nerd at heart, so I love that I have a place in facilitating the curriculum and program content. I like to stay involved in STEM fields as much as possible.
5. Do you have any inspirations/role models?
I have many. My mom and dad, who have supported every decision I have made. I feel like I’ve learned how to work hard through my dad and the desire to help people through my mom. But my biggest inspiration is my wife. She is currently an accomplished researcher in the epidemiological field. Women in science have always had an uphill battle, and I have seen her personally go through struggles that I am not sure I could have handled if they happened to me. I am always in awe of her perseverance, intelligence, work ethic and courage. She’s the one that managed to drag me out of my small Ontario bubble and see that there is an amazing world to go explore.
6. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I have always been a bit of “go with the flow” type of person. As long as the job I am doing provides me some enjoyment, and the capacity to explore my hobbies, visit friends/family, etc. outside work, I am pretty content to let whatever come my way. With the skills I am developing as Team Lead, I can certainly see myself contributing to University programs at higher levels, but I cant say I have a specific goal in mind. I’d be happy if I am still working at The Booth School in 10 years. But I also like the fact that life could lead me somewhere totally different in the next 10 years.
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