Posted Tuesday May 19, 2020

Restart - Education

Laurier shares approach for fall 2020

Letter from Deborah MacLatchy, PhD Wilfrid Laurier University President and Vice-Chancellor

Today, May 15, finds us five days into our spring term and nine weeks since the global pandemic was declared. Reflecting on how far we’ve come together, I am struck, as always, by the resiliency, leadership and spirit of our Laurier community. I know that these are the same qualities that will carry us forward as we look to our fall term.

Over the past few weeks, the university has been engaged in collaborative discussions to consider how we will deliver the fall term in a way that meets government and public health guidelines and maintains the safety of our new and returning students, faculty and staff. Equally important, we considered how to deliver our fall term in a way that upholds the quality of our academic experience and student supports while ensuring that we continue to feel the unique sense of community that sets Laurier apart.

To that end, Laurier has made the following decisions for the fall 2020 term:

Laurier will continue to offer most courses online and virtually this fall. We continue to work together to identify aspects of programs and activities we can deliver in person, as aligned with public health requirements. There are many details to be confirmed, and the provost and vice-president academic will be working with the deans and the faculties to determine all the specifics and to keep you well-informed. We all moved quickly to an online mode of learning at the end of the winter term and since then have worked continually to enhance the teaching and learning experience. You have my commitment that the courses we deliver this fall will maintain our high standards of academic excellence.

The need for student support has never been greater, and we will focus on our students’ physical and emotional well-being through virtual, and where permitted, in-person service delivery. We will continue to provide the supportive learning environment that Laurier is known for; rest assured that we will use every avenue of remote delivery available to ensure high quality academic support for students, and teaching and learning supports for faculty and staff.

We don’t want the Laurier experience to be diminished by social distancing, so we are actively planning creative experiences and events to introduce our incoming students to, and remind our returning students of, what it means to feel the Golden Hawk spirit.

All of our decisions during this time have been guided by Laurier’s core values of academic excellence and thriving community, and have been checked at every step against the following core principles:

• Safeguard the health and safety of the university community.
• Maintain academic and research excellence.
• Enhance our exceptional student experience.
• Demonstrate care and commitment to our employees.
• Continue to be a trusted partner with local communities as an anchor institution.

Ultimately, we believe this decision provides academic continuity; certainty for our students, faculty and staff; safety for those at higher risk; and access for students who are unable to travel.

We know that this announcement raises many questions for our new and returning students and our faculty and staff. We have questions too as we make decisions in an ever-changing, uncertain environment. What we can promise you is that we will answer your questions to the best of our ability based on the information we have available, and that we will share new information as soon as we have it.

Because it’s not possible to include everything you need to know in an email, we are planning a series of Town Halls to provide more in-depth information and to answer your questions. We will share dates and registration details once confirmed.

We have compiled a list of FAQs and information on our student website and intranet.

September is always a new beginning for a university community. But this September will be unlike any we have ever experienced. Although we may not all be physically together this fall, I know that we will rise to the occasion, and demonstrate the fundamental strengths of our Golden Hawk community.

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to more conversations,

Deborah MacLatchy, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor

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