July 6, 2020
Good morning everybody,
I hope that you had a wonderful Canada Day and that you enjoyed the long Appreciation Day holiday weekend. We are already in July, our late summer term has started and fall registration for new first-year and returning students is in full swing. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the extraordinary work you are all doing so that we can offer our students a high-quality and rewarding fall semester. Thank you!
I would also like to reiterate my most sincere congratulations to the outstanding graduating Class of 2020 whom we virtually celebrated in late June. Successfully completing a university degree marks a long-expected ending, but even more importantly, it opens the door to a new beginning. And to always be at the beginning of something is one of the secrets to a successful and self-determined life. It’s often in times of transition between the old and the new that the unexpected, the wonderful and the meaningful manifests itself. This is perhaps especially true in these unstable, disrupted times. I know the Class of 2020 will make us especially proud. Graduates – I wish each and every one of you all the best as you walk into your next adventure!
July 1 is a start date for many academic positions and I want to thank and congratulate everyone starting in a new role, notably our new faculty members, departmental chairs, school directors and associate deans. Of note this year, Kahente Horn-Miller, Michael Charles and Benny Michaud started new mandates on July 1, and they are already planning and implementing significant activities to enhance Indigenous initiatives, as well as equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism at Carleton. This work is a strategic priority for the years ahead and it is our shared responsibility, whatever our role or unit at the university, to contribute to these critically important efforts.
With course preparation well underway for the fall 2020 term, we must start looking ahead to the next major milestone: planning for the winter 2021 term. We remain hopeful that it will be possible to welcome some students back to campus in January; however, it seems very unlikely that the pandemic will have fully resolved by then. In planning for winter 2021, we must remain responsive to evolving public health guidelines. We will continue to be guided by the key principles outlined by the Carleton University Scenario Planning working group, and we will continue to place the health and well-being of students, staff, faculty and the broader community above all other considerations.
As the Provost wrote to course instructors last week, even if public health restrictions are eased such that some face-to-face instruction could resume, many students may not be able—or may not be comfortable— returning to campus. We will need to ensure that winter 2021 courses are developed in a manner that will allow them to be delivered to our students who will be taking them remotely. Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) continues to offer a high level of support for course planning and design and remains prepared to provide assistance on a broad array of topics. More communications about winter 2021 will follow as the summer unfolds.
As always, we encourage all students to take full advantage of the nearly $9 billion in support for post-secondary students and recent graduates announced by the Government of Canada on April 22, 2020. This support notably includes the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, and temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs and Canada Student Grants and Loans programs. On June 25, 2020, the government announced further programs, including the launch of the Canada Student Service Grant and a number of work placement programs. Carleton continues to offer emergency financial assistance through the Student Emergency Fund.
Unless something unexpected happens, this will be my last message for a few weeks as I will be taking some time away in July. Our Provost Jerry Tomberlin will be Acting President during that period. Once again, I encourage everyone to take some down time over the summer, so that we all come back recharged and ready for the fall semester.
Stay safe and well, and enjoy the beautiful weather!
President and Vice-Chancellor