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March 27, 2020 – 8:30 a.m.
Good morning everyone,
The Carleton University Senate is meeting today and that always makes it a special day. Senate, the highest academic decision-making body in the university, meets 8 to 10 times a year to consider academic regulations, new programs, curriculum changes, and other strategic and operational academic matters.
In almost 80 years, and well over 500 meetings, it will be the first time that Senate meets remotely. It will be with mixed feelings that I will take the Chair behind my computer. On the one hand there will be some worry that we can have our discussions and make our decisions virtually – not unlike connecting with a class on Zoom for the first time. On the other hand, there will be definite pride that in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, our academic governance is staying the course.
In addition to its regular business, Senate will be considering alternative grading options that would provide students with additional flexibility and protection, further to measures already in place, in these unusual and stressful times. In addition, Senate will be asked to postpone our spring Convocation to a later time, an unfortunate, but I believe unavoidable, consequence of the current public health crisis. As previously mentioned, we should be able to give everyone an update on these two matters before the end of the day.
Senate will also receive updates and discuss two important planning processes that have been ongoing for several months: The new Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA3) that we are negotiating with the province, and our new Carleton Strategic Integrated Plan. Both of these important documents are quite advanced and we should be able to complete them as planned over the next few months. Our current predicament should not deter us from looking at our future with hope and ambition – more on this topic at a later time.
At the operational level, you will have seen that a new building access protocol has been established to conform to the recent Essential Services Order from the Province of Ontario and to keep the few people on campus safe in a new environment where most buildings are empty. I ask your cooperation in assisting Campus Safety Services and Facilities Management and Planning in the implementation of this important protocol.
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.
Counting back, this is my 14th daily message and I would not want to overstay my welcome. Starting next week I will be more circumspect and will only write on those mornings where urgent and important matters need to be communicated in a timely way. Thanks everyone, as always, for taking the time.
Have a good day and please enjoy a well-deserved rest this weekend,
President and Vice-Chancellor