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Good morning everyone,
We made it to December and within a few weeks, our fall term will draw to a close. There is no question that this has been a challenging term and, as always, I want to thank everyone for the flexibility, creativity and compassion that you have shown to help our community hold our own in the face of the ongoing pandemic. We will soon have the opportunity to recharge over the winter holidays, which we have been able to extend by a few days to afford everyone some well-deserved additional rest and a bit more time to prepare for the winter term.
Speaking of the winter term, I am grateful that we have been able to transition our courses and services online as the pandemic reaches record highs in Ontario and around the world. Ottawa is doing better than some other regions, but we must remain vigilant. With regards to the longer term, we can take heart in recent promising news about vaccines. We will continue to monitor both the pandemic and vaccines very closely so that we can make the best possible decisions, first for the summer term – as soon as possible after we return from the holidays – and then for the fall term.
Following the launch of our new Strategic Integrated Plan (SIP) in late September, our community has been working hard to finalize a number of crucial operational plans. Today, I am particularly pleased to announce the formal approval of Carleton University’s new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan. This forward-looking and ambitious document recognizes the critical ways in which greater integration of EDI into our work and mission will contribute to the success of the university, and it answers the call of students, staff, faculty, government, employers and the community at large for bold action.
Through the tireless work of so many members of our community, our EDI Plan underwent an intensive process of development, socialization, redesign, refinement and approval. Over the summer, more than 40 targeted consultations were held, followed by broader public consultations with larger audiences in the fall, including four town halls. In addition, an online platform was used to collect extensive feedback from Carleton’s internal and external communities. The Action Plan was confirmed by the Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC) Advisory Group on November 16, approved by the Vice-Presidents and Academic Research Council (VPARC) on November 18, and officially received with formal thanks by Senate on November 27, and the Board of Governors on December 1.
So many at Carleton contributed to the plan’s successful development and, on behalf of the university, I extend my deepest appreciation to Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusive Communities, Michael Charles, to all members of the EIC Advisory Group, and to everyone involved. A formal launch will take place in the winter term, but we are already making progress on a number of elements outlined in the plan. I am confident that our entire community will rally towards successful implementation and that, as a result, we will continue to be relevant, successful and impactful in the world of today and tomorrow.
In the same vein, I am also pleased that we have completed our International Strategic Plan, which will operationalize our SIP’s key strategic direction to “Serve the World.” This strategy is a natural complement to our EDI action plan and ensures that we explicitly continue our efforts to expand our reach and impact on a global scale. Congratulations and many thanks to Associate Vice-President, Research and International, Karen Schwartz, and to everyone who contributed to in this important realization.
As mentioned previously, in the wake of the launch of our SIP, we have embarked on a Reputational Enhancement Project led by our new Chief Communications Officer Tony Frost and the Department of University Communications. We have so much to offer and to be proud of – we need to tell our story more sharply and more loudly! In the first phase, we have been asking members of our community to share their thoughts on how to best tell the Carleton story. Tomorrow, we will be reaching out to all faculty and staff to complete a brief survey and I would be grateful if you could take the time – about 10-15 minutes – to share your thoughts and advice.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t sincerely thank everyone for the tremendous success of Giving Tuesday, yesterday December 1. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we raised over $1 million dollars towards 55 wonderful FutureFunder projects championed by faculty, staff, students and friends of Carleton. With the university matching donations one to one, that’s over $2 million dollars for EDI initiatives, mental health, access to education, Indigenous initiatives, academics and athletics at Carleton!
On a hard day, I remind myself that the work we do empowers students to reach for self-determined and successful lives, and changes our world for the better. Nothing brings this point home more powerfully than Convocation and, in the absence of our usual fall Convocation in the Field House, we developed this celebration video to honour our 1200+ fall graduands. Please also have a look at the second issue of RAVEN magazine, which focuses on our community’s response to COVID-19, as well as on equity and anti-racism efforts at Carleton.
Wishing everyone a successful completion of the fall term,
President and Vice-Chancellor