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March 30, 2020 – 8:30 a.m.
Good morning everyone,
I hope you had a good weekend and were able to get some well-deserved rest.
I write today to share some key decisions that were made by our Carleton University Senate on Friday. It was an incredible experience to chair an online Senate meeting, and we can all take pride that in the midst of this pandemic we are preserving not only our academic mission, but also the structures that embody the collegial governance of our institution. Holding Senate was a powerful symbol of our community’s unity and resolve in these unsettling and challenging times, and I want to sincerely thank the 86 great people who are currently serving as senators.
At the top of the agenda was a motion introducing flexible and compassionate grading options for students. All students now have the choice, at their discretion, to convert any or all of their Winter 2020 term grades to the alternative notation SAT/UNS (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). This measure, in addition to other accommodations already in place, ensures that changes in performance due to the current disruption do not affect students’ permanent record as SAT/UNS grades are not used in the calculation of CGPA.
Senate also approved our recommendation to postpone our Spring Convocation to a later time. It was a very difficult decision to make, but as the current public health crisis continues to evolve and government further tightens social/physical distancing measures, it was unavoidable. Let me reiterate that this is a postponement and not a cancellation. Our amazing 5,000+ graduating students will get to experience the power and meaning of Convocation, and the well-deserved opportunity to walk across the stage and to be recognized for their hard work. We are already looking at several options, taking into account the need to rigorously follow guidelines and regulations from health authorities and government.
Senate also confirmed our plans to offer the 2020 Summer Term remotely and approved an exciting new master’s degree in Applied Business Analytics. As always, there is a full summary of the Senate meeting on the Carleton Senate site.
As you know, work is in progress to develop our new Strategic Integrated Plan (SIP). Let me reiterate that the current public health crisis should not deter us from looking at our future with hope and ambition. Many of the key themes that define the draft SIP – notably Wellness, Sustainability, Serve Ottawa and Serve the World – are particularly relevant given the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. The deadline for commenting on the draft has been extended to April 6, 2020, and I would be grateful if you would provide your input and feedback on this important document.
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.
As we move forward and the pace of change hopefully slows down, I expect to write these updates less frequently. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to write – directly or on social media – to say these daily morning updates have been helpful. It has been a privilege to get to write to you so often.
Wishing everyone all the best for our last full week of classes,
President and Vice-Chancellor