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Upcoming Academic Terms: Info and Plans

Interim President's Friday Message

Updated on Oct 2
Tags: students, all updates

Dear members of the University community,

Faculty of Science signs agreement with File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council

As this message goes out to our campuses this morning, a Pipe Ceremony and signing is taking place at First Nations University. It marks the establishment of a formal treaty-based relationship between the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council and the Faculty of Science. The spirit of the relationship is rooted in reconciliation and will promote work that strengthens the lives of all Treaty Four people by supporting sustainable development opportunities with the eleven First Nations of FHQTC. Through the mobilization of technicians and experts, the stewardship of lands and resources will be enhanced.

Signing this morning for FHQTC are Tribal Chief Edmund Bellegarde, Chief Matthew Todd Peigan, and Chief Brady O'Watch. Signing for the Faculty of Science and the University are Dean Douglas Farenick and myself. I want to thank Doug and colleagues in Science, as well as FHQTC leadership, for developing this visionary partnership.

Teaching and Learning Framework – Winter 2021 Updates

On 10 September 2020, the University announced that the Winter 2021 term will be much like the Fall term. The majority of courses will be delivered remotely with the exception of a limited number of low-density face-to-face labs, studios and clinical placements, and some low-density face-to-face courses. This approach offers students the best chance of academic success as we continue to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the global pandemic.

With this in mind, the approach to teaching and learning will be a cautious one and will be contingent on several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the province, its impact on public health guidelines, and the success of the Fall 2020 low-density in-person teaching and learning pilot initiative.

For more information please refer to the Winter 2021 Semester in the Teaching and Learning Framework for the 2020-21 Academic Year.

National Custodial Workers’ Recognition Day

Today is National Custodial Workers’ Recognition Day, an occasion to celebrate and show appreciation to the many colleagues who work so hard to keep the places where we work, learn, play, and live clean, safe and healthy. It is especially important this year as these essential front line workers have worked extremely hard since this pandemic hit. The University is very proud of the way in which our custodians have responded during these unprecedented times.

Please show your appreciation for their hard work by thanking them when you see them.

Worth repeating: what a university is, and the nobility of education

Writing in The Times Literary Supplement (2 October 2020), Liverpool professor Joe Moran reflects on the changes wrought by the pandemic, and recalls his once-bustling campus: “It is, first of all, a building, or a group of buildings, made by bricks, glass, carpet tiles and dropped ceilings stuffed with pipes and cables. It houses not just students and lecturers but also office staff, cleaners, counsellors, caterers, librarians, accountants. Inside its classrooms you find people talking about contract law or King Lear, of singing in Gospel choirs, or rehearsing plays, or kneeling on prayer mats, or lying on yoga mats. The people and the buildings come together in millions of small acts that make up an intricate, evolving, collective organism. A university is as full of human virtues, quirks and flaws, and as difficult to summarize, as a small town.”

Virtues, quirks, flaws … and almost impossible to summarize. But with noble goals. In "The Empowered University" (Inside Higher Ed, 29 September 2020), Freeman A Harbowski, Philip J Rous, and Sarah J Shin argue that people "dedicate themselves to work in higher education because they want to improve lives …. Remembering the nobility of our work as educators will help us persist and grow despite the challenges before us. While the [pandemic] may temporarily blur our focus on aspirational and strategic goals, our institutional missions and shared values remain the foundation of our work together.”

Education is indeed transformative and life-changing. Even in these strange and unsettling times, those who make it possible -- and those whose vision extends its possibilities -- are engaged in noble work.




Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor