FHS staff recognized with SFU Staff Achievement Team Award

April 26, 2021

Two Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) staff – Geron Malbas, Communications Assistant, and Bratislav (“Brad”) Mladenovic, Manager, Undergraduate Programs – received accolades for their roles as part of the SFU Welcome Day Revisioning and Implementation Team.  

Malbas and Mladenovic, along with 71 other SFU staff members, came together to create and host the Welcome Day in September 2020, one of the largest online events in SFU history. Due to pandemic restrictions, this multifaceted event – typically held in-person on campus – was substantially revised to focus on virtually yet warmly welcoming new students to the SFU community and orienting them to useful resources. Faculties, MECS, and SFU IT worked collaboratively to find the best available tool – HopIn – to offer incoming students an interactive virtual experience that fostered networking and exploration as much as possible in the virtual environment.

FHS additionally worked to create a video to welcome and orient its 300 new students. The film featured special messages from faculty, alumni, and current students. Malbas and Mladenovic also hosted an information session that familiarized new students to FHS-specific resources, such as HSUSU, the FHS Peer Mentorship Program, Experiential Learning, and FHS-specific Academic Advising. Many students reported that they found these events incredibly helpful in understanding what could be done to grow within their undergraduate degree, in being oriented to the FHS website as an essential tool for planning and guiding learning activities, and in virtually connecting with the broader FHS community to form relationships.

Malbas observed that the beginning of the fall semester is one of the busiest times for SFU students, faculty and employees and described it aptly as “a whirlwind [of] figuring out classes for many undergraduate students, as well as admission and logistics for staff and faculty.” Despite the challenges of not being able to plan and coordinate face-to-face, the FHS community maintained a strong team mindset, and the event unfolded smoothly. Although Malbas was initially concerned about how the FHS team would connect with new students in an online environment, it became immediately obvious to him that his worries about the event weren’t being realized. “[During the event,] I felt connected to so many new FHS community members, and to the FHS team at large,” says Malbas.

Mladenovic added his kudos for FHS staff and faculty who helped support Welcome Week events while also working to adapt course content and workflows to the online environment. “Despite heavy workloads, everyone at FHS understood that both new and current students needed to be prioritized and their learning supported during the pandemic. Faculty and staff were committed to offering a warm welcome to our newest members, even if it didn’t look the same as previous years. I’m very happy with how the event went, and am proud to be a part of this great team at FHS.”