Strange Times

As we get ready to publish the fall issue of the Bulletin, the COVID-19 cases are surging in all the spots on this planet that experienced major lockdowns back in spring. The difference is that the authorities are too precautious to name anything like a lockdown and the public seems to be ignoring both the medical advisors and the virus itself. Some of these responses might be the outcome of this prolonged crisis—both medical and economic. The other culprit is the limited capacity of human kind to stay in an exalted state in the face of an invisible threat that is so close and yet nowhere to be seen with the naked eye. We have reached this state of exhaustion where we are not afraid of being reckless.

What is the role of professional communication in such circumstances? As educators, how do we keep our students clear of the heedless actions that would endanger them when we are ourselves trying to conserve our energies to tend the most essential functions of daily life? The information and communication technologies that have assisted us in maintaining the semblance of the university life themselves way heavier by the day. How many Zoom meetings! How many emails to answer those questions that could have been answered in the classroom! How many inquiries that would have been taken care of in the hallway!

In the rigmarole of this pandemic, we started the work on this issue rather late. Like us, our contributors had their own reasons for preserving their time and energy for what was needed right then and there in their lives. As a result, we have a general issue with a small number of articles. We are thankful to all of the contributors who have made time to work on these pieces in spite and despite of everything else happening around them.

Archana Shrivastava opens her article with a sensuous recounting of an experience of touch in these times of social distancing and shows us how touch can be replaced with gestures to communicate. This lesson in the use of alternate senses is also a lesson in cross-cultural communication. Mollie Hartup offers suggestions for maximizing our presence at the ABC conferences. Gail Thomas shares her perspective on managing virtual teams in the workplace. Keshreeyaji Oswal presents a student perspective on learning via Zoom with some veiled suggestions for faculty. Jacqui Lowman invites our members to take an active role in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Last but not least, our western region vice president, Jolanta Aritz, has several pieces of information for us as we prepare for our next regional conference.

Mikel Chertudi and I ask you to make time to work on a piece for the spring 2021 issue of the Bulletin. Nothing is too early in these times. We can start reading your submissions as soon as we receive them so that you have ample time to work on the revision.

I congratulate Mikel for launching an overload MBA course amidst this pandemic while working on the design and layout of this issue. I also want to thank Jolanta Aritz, Mikel Chertudi, and Hitender Oswal for their moral and material support during the recent months.

Sushil Oswal

Editor, the Western ABC Bulletin