A Farewell Message

Our Interim Dean, Dr. Maria Mayan, will be leaving the Faculty of Extension on June 30

Jun 29, 2021 in News

Our Interim Dean, Dr. Maria Mayan, will be leaving the Faculty of Extension on June 30 to assume another position with the University of Alberta.
During her time at the helm of the Faculty, Maria made us better in so many ways that it’s hard to convey it in words.
The text below—our farewell message to Maria—speaks of one aspect of her multifaceted legacy.

Some years back, a crew shooting a documentary approached us asking for a researcher in the Faculty they could interview. It was on a subject that would be best suited for someone who stood their ground, direct, unafraid of speaking their mind.

So that was an easy choice: of course it had to be Maria, then an academic with one of Extension’s research centres.

“We need you to do this,” we told her, “because you're scary.”

Maria answered with a hearty laugh and looked very amused at the choice of adjective.

Scary? Well, I don’t know about that.”

And she was right—scary wasn’t the precise word. Close, but not quite there yet.

It took us a few years, and her moving into the Interim Dean's position, for the right concept to take shape in our minds. Fierce—that’s the word we needed for her. Fierce. And boy, do we need fierce in this crazy world of ours!

We had Maria the warrior, who wouldn’t hide behind crystalized niceties when open communication was required. Maria the tireless, who would dive into impossibly big projects and get them done before you knew it. Maria the inventive, cooking up outside-the-box ideas to keep us up-to-date in these times when the box-of-the-day becomes useless before we even reach tomorrow. A fierce commander steering our ship in fast-forward.

We all came a long way under her leadership. We fought together, day after day, for our right to be awesome, to always offer to our learners what’s important to them now—no matter how fast now is changing. In the process, some of that unabated fierceness of hers started to seep into our cells. It became a part of our genetic makeup. It made us better.

So yes: a new gene has been inserted into the Faculty of Extension’s DNA.

We should name it Maria.