Notice: COVID-19 resources, information and plans for current and upcoming academic terms. Learn more.

Upcoming Academic Terms: Info and Plans

Interim President’s Friday Message

Updated on Aug 28
Tags: students, all updates

Dear members of the University community,
 
 
Making university more affordable: introducing ZCM courses
 
As the Fall 2020 term approaches, I wish to draw attention to the work many University people have been doing to reduce costs for students. 
 
Since the pandemic arrived in March, we’ve taken steps to ease the financial burden students face. 
 
Tuition has been frozen. Fees have been reduced: students registered for Spring/Summer and Fall will save $188 in fees each term. Nearly $350,000 in emergency student funding has been disbursed.
 
Together, these measures will lessen U of R students’ financial burden by approximately $4.5 million.
 
But tuition and fees are only part of the story. Recognizing this, U of R faculty and staff have crafted another initiative to help students: zero-cost material courses (ZCM courses)
 
ZCM courses use only teaching materials that are excellent and freely accessible: open-access textbooks developed by experts here and at other universities, as well as digital books, articles and other resources licensed by the University Library for the use of students, faculty, and staff.
 
When did the ZCM initiative begin? Some months ago a group began work on an inventory of zero-cost material courses. The group was led by Associate Vice-President (Academic) Dr Nilgün Önder and Registrar Jim D’Arcy, working with URSU leadership and Deans’ Council and drawing on the efforts of many faculty and staff.
 
Their work paid off. This Fall, almost 70 ZCM courses will run in subjects as diverse as anthropology, statistics, and women’s and gender studies. The full list of ZCM courses is impressive, and provides students with a wide range from which to choose.
 
The University hasn’t done this alone. With key multi-year financial commitments from the Government of Saskatchewan’s Open Educational Resources program, the support of URSU, and the intellectual work of faculty and staff, we will continue to expand the ZCM inventory to benefit U of R students.
 
There are many to thank for this initiative. Dr Önder leads the Open Educational Resources program at the U of R. University Librarian Brett Waytuck and the employees of the Archer Library provide individual and class supports/resources to both instructors and students. And of course faculty and staff, many of whom are listed at the link above, have gone above and beyond to create or find alternate ZCMs for their students.  To all these people, thank you!
 
 
Alumnus Dr Nevan Krogan and world-leading COVID-19 research
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated many aspects of our lives and work. It has also made us more creative.
 
This was clearly demonstrated on Tuesday of this week, when alumnus Dr Nevan Krogan of the University of California San Francisco and his colleague Ms Jacqueline Fabius joined members of the University of Regina and wider community via Zoom to speak about their COVID-19 research, which involves collaboration with researchers around the world. This fascinating presentation can be seen here
 
A 2012 Alumni Crowning Achievement Award recipient, Dr Krogan was recently featured on our website in June and again this week in stories that discuss the contributions he and his research team are making in the global fight against COVID-19. One of the most distinguished alumni in our history, Dr Krogan remains actively involved with the University. In 2019, for example, he created the Jack and June Krogan Women in Science Scholarship to encourage more women to pursue careers in science.
 
Dr Krogan – best wishes to you and your team as you pursue your groundbreaking research. And thank you for your support of our students!
 
 
Masks/face coverings mandatory on U of R campuses starting Tuesday 1 September 
 
As noted in my last two weekly messages, effective Tuesday 1 September, non-medical masks/face coverings will be mandatory at the University of Regina in all public and shared spaces where two-metre physical distancing may be difficult to maintain (washrooms, hallways, classrooms, laboratories, studios, shared offices and workspaces, stairwells, elevators, etc.). 
 
In advance of next Tuesday, please read the comprehensive information and guidelines the Health, Safety & Wellness team has prepared regarding masks/face coverings and their usage on our campuses.    
 
Thank you for your continuing efforts to keep our University and wider community safe.
 
 
Classes begin on Wednesday 2 September
 
The Fall 2020 term officially begins on Wednesday 2 September, with nearly all teaching and learning taking place at a distance.  A very limited number of low-density in-person course components will bring some students and teaching staff to the University’s main campus.  Each in-person course component will adhere to strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
 
To minimize the number of people on campus at any one time, in-person teaching and learning will be spread out over seven days each week, with these course components taking place in different time slots and in seven different buildings between 7:30 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. each day.
 
In any given time slot, fewer than 60 students will be taking in-person coursework at different locations on the main campus. In fact, in some cases there may be as few as one or two students scheduled to be on campus for in-person coursework in a particular time slot.
 
Taking into account the others who need to be on campus – a small number of students in residence, students using the library and individual study spaces, a limited number of staff and contractors, researchers, and faculty members teaching at a distance from their offices, for example – this means that approximately 600 people could pass through the four checkpoint entrances to the public areas of the main campus over the course of an entire day. Compared to the roughly 20,000 people who could be present in non-COVID times, this represents only 3% of our usual in-person campus population.
 
In other words, the campus will remain almost empty.  Minimizing the number of people on campus at any one time greatly reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus. And a number of other measures are being taken across the campus to limit the possibility of COVID-19 transmission and infection. 
 
Even so, in light of COVID-19 outbreaks at universities elsewhere, we must remain vigilant. To that end, the University is finalizing the protocols that will be followed should a case of COVID-19 be reported on our campus. I will provide more information about that in next week’s campus message.
 
In the meantime, stay safe, and thank you for protecting those around you. I wish you all the best as we begin the Fall 2020 term together.
 
Sincerely,
 
Thomas Chase
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor