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Upcoming Academic Terms: Info and Plans

Interim President's Friday Message

Updated on Mar 26
Tags: students, all updates

Pausing face-to-face delivery

How quickly things change. 

Just two weeks ago, accelerated vaccine rollout, opening of the drive-through clinic, and a shared sense that we’d made it through the worst of winter combined to lift the spirits of many.

And then ... a new acronym appeared on our screens: VoC. Variants of concern.

Several weeks ago, there were almost none. Yesterday morning, however, CTV Regina reported a total of 1,064 VoC cases in the province. Nearly all of them, 895, are in the Regina region. 

In a television interview yesterday, Regina physician Dr Alexander Wong spoke forcefully about the seriousness of this development. He urges us to be vaccinated, and affirms the vaccine’s effectiveness against the variant strains now circulating in the city. His advice echoes that given by our colleague Dr Andrew Cameron in last Friday’s town hall.

In this context, and after consultation with provincial health authorities, Darren Cherwaty of our Health, Safety and Wellness team, and Dr Cameron, we’ve decided to pause face-to-face activities effective Monday 29 March. Details of the restrictions were communicated to campus on Wednesday, and remain available here.

Our campus is safe. Pausing face-to-face and other activities will ensure that it remains so, protecting the health of both the University community and the wider community.

This is not what we had hoped for. But I know that, working together as we have done for the past year, we will get through this stage of the pandemic and into brighter and safer days.

Our plans for Spring and Summer terms have not changed.

And we are planning for a safe Fall 2021 term that will see more students, faculty, and staff back on our campuses. The planning work is complex, and details are still being worked out by teams under the leadership of the Vice-Presidents.

As we plan, we are in frequent communication with our partners – the federated colleges, the University of Saskatchewan, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. A sector announcement regarding the Fall term will be made within the next few weeks.

Again, my gratitude to every member of the University community as together we negotiate the challenges that have arisen in our city.

Celebrating long-service award recipients

Two and a half millennia are a long time. Indeed, it was almost two and a half millennia ago - 450 BCE - when the first Roman legal code was displayed in the Forum on 12 bronze tablets.

What two and a half millennia represent is on our minds as we celebrate 133 long-service award recipients – a group who collectively have given the University 2,470 years of dedication.

In 2020, each of these people reached a personal career milestone marking a decade or more of commitment to the University and its students. Please take a moment to read the list of long-service award recipients, congratulate those you know, and thank them for their work.

To this year’s recipients - many of whom I’ve worked with – you have my deep appreciation. It's difficult to imagine the challenges you have faced, the many successes you have had, and the number of students you have helped over the years - often without your knowing how much you contributed to their education, and their lives.

When I think back on Joe Moran’s words as quoted last week, I know you have been major contributors to the “millions of small acts” - and indeed many of the big acts – that are the lifeblood of this University.

The University of Regina is a better place for your having chosen to work here. Thank you, and congratulations.

Quick notes

  • ... as part of its innovative work to enhance the student experience, the Registrar’s Office has facilitated the University’s participation in the MyCredsTM| MesCertifTM network – a platform that gives students and alumni greater control over how and to whom documents such as transcripts are issued. To learn more, please visit the FAQ web page ...
  • ... on the subject of the student experience, kudos to Dr Wallace Lockhart for organizing the Levene Graduate School of Business’ first International Business Congress for his MBA students. A feature story on the University website explains more about this initiative, which partnered Levene School students with counterparts at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico ...
  • ... with World Water Day having taken place earlier this week, it bears repeating that Dr Kerri Finlay of the department of biology is looking for volunteer citizen scientists to sample water quality in Saskatchewan lakes this summer. Kerri provides more information, as well as a “wish list” of lakes, here ...
  • ... Dr Heather Hadjistavropoulos of the department of psychology participated in a podcast with Premier Scott Moe and Everett Hindley, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Services. The podcast, which discusses the province’s Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program developed by the University of Regina’s Online Therapy Unit (onlinetherapyuser.ca) is the latest in a series sponsored by Canada’s Premiers through the Council of the Federation ...
  • ... Dr Brian McQuinn of the department of politics and international studies recently published an article in the Conversation Canada on the current political situation in Libya, a decade after the Arab Spring. Informed by his personal experience in Libya at the time, Brian’s article is a compelling read, and is already attracting national and international attention ...
  • ... and finally, in what one wag called an instance of “peak Canada,” “a puzzled, fare-evading beaver” in the Toronto subway system has made international headlines ... we wonder whether readers are aware of Regina Transit having encountered similar fare avoidance from the odd Canada goose ...

Sincerely,

Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor