Good morning everyone,
I hope you had a wonderful long weekend and that you were all able to relax a bit after two very challenging months.
As you know, today marks the beginning of the first stage of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening our Province. The main impact for our sector, as can be seen in the detailed list of stage 1 openings, is the restart of research and development in a number of fields, notably in science and engineering. Accordingly, we are ready to safely start to broaden the scope of our on-campus research activities, in line with principles and procedures developed by our Vice-President (Research) Rafik Goubran and our great decanal team.
The past few days also brought good news for our students. Since Friday, May 15, students have been able to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, part of the $9-billion aid package for students recently announced by the federal government. In addition, we received good news for international students who can now begin their classes online from abroad in fall 2020 and complete up to 50 per cent of their program via distance learning without negatively affecting their eligibility for the post-graduation work permit program.
Work has started in earnest on implementing the 10 recommendations of the recent report of the Carleton University Scenario Planning (CUSP) group. As you know, the first guiding principle in our planning is to place the health and wellbeing of students, staff, faculty, and the broader community above all other considerations. As such, we are preparing for a fall that will be mostly online, and we have already guaranteed to our incoming students that all first-year courses will be online. Registration starts June 23, and returning students starting to make their plans for the fall – with the exception of graduate students needing access to specialized research facilities – can also expect that their courses will be online.
One important recommendation, in line with a recent message from the Provost and AVP Teaching and Learning, is to further enhance technological and pedagogical support for course instructors. I would ask all course instructors to start early in preparing courses for the fall in order to spread demands on our support staff in Teaching and Learning Services, as well as within faculties and departments, over a longer period of time.
We are also putting everything in place to support student success in these exceptional circumstances. For example, we can assure all students that Carleton will provide:
- Outstanding online courses from award-winning faculty and instructors
- Quality online academic advising
- Easy-to-access virtual mental health counselling and support
- Online peer-to-peer mentorship programs
- Creative virtual social spaces and activities for students to help combat isolation
- An inclusive learning environment that can be accessed from anywhere in the world
Even with courses online, many students will still want to live in residence. We are working closely with Ottawa Public Health to adapt our spaces in residence and ensure that living on campus will be safe and will remain an exceptional experience for students. The steps being taken include, but are not limited to, single room spaces in traditional- and suite-style residences, increased cleaning practices in communal areas, support for those requiring isolation before or during their time in residence, and decreased density in all areas.
Please ensure that the information you read and share online comes from credible sources like Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health or the Public Health Agency of Canada, as the spread of misinformation poses a significant risk to the health and safety of our community.
In closing, It was a very special moment last week when, after 18 months of collaborative efforts, we released the powerful and beautiful Kinàmàgawin (Learning Together) Indigenous Strategy. This important document, and its 41 Calls to Action, will guide our university towards positive long-term change and I wish to offer sincere thanks to everyone who contributed. Miigwetch, Nia:wen, Kischii marsii!
I know that Kinàmàgawin will make a difference not only for Indigenous Peoples, but for all of us. As Elder Barbara Dumont-Hill says in her opening words: “Kinàmàgawin is about the future. Learning in the Indigenous way, the humility of seeking and sharing knowledge of all of our gifts will ensure that the next seven generations will benefit. We are all connected, and when we can learn together with open minds and open hearts, the outlook will be brighter.”
We are moving forward with a bright outlook. Stay safe everyone, and have a great day,
President and Vice-Chancellor
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