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Upcoming Academic Terms: Info and Plans

Interim President’s Friday Message

Updated on Nov 20
Tags: students, all updates

Monday 11 January – Start of Winter 2021 term

As we enter the latter stage of the Fall 2020 term, this is a reminder that the Winter 2021 term will begin on Monday 11 January.

Registrar Jim D'Arcy notes, "This start date was determined two years ago, but it is especially timely this year because it provides students with additional down time during the holiday season to recover more fully from the stress of studying while living through the pandemic.”

Interim Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dr david Gregory adds, “In addition to affording students an extended break, the January 11 start will allow extra time for teaching staff to complete their grading, recover after a busy Fall term, and continue preparing for Winter 2021.”

Many other post-secondary institutions in Canada have delayed the start of their winter terms by a week to provide a similar break for students and faculty members.

I would also like to remind students, faculty, and staff that the University will be closed on Thursday 24 December.

Key research continues during the pandemic

In recent months I’ve highlighted some of the research – both COVID-19-related and otherwise – that continues to take place at the University during the pandemic.

In this week’s message, I would like to acknowledge three faculty members whose work demonstrates both the diversity and the impact of the research undertaken here.

Dr Mohan Babu, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was recently featured in a Global News article for his work on a quick, reliable, and non-invasive saliva-based test for COVID-19. To advance this research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Exceptional Opportunities Fund recently provided funding of $200,000 to Dr Babu and his team. With rapid and widespread testing so crucial to limiting the spread of COVID-19, Dr Babu’s research is both timely and relevant.

Likewise, the research of Dr Raven Sinclair, professor of social work at our Saskatoon campus, is particularly relevant at a time when the mental health of youth is especially at risk. Dr Sinclair’s Northern Prairie Spirit Youth Cultural Continuity Project was the focus of a recent La Ronge Now article. Dr Sinclair and co-investigator Dr Brigitte Krieg will engage with Indigenous youth in northern communities to understand the causes of bullying and violence, and develop culturally sensitive prevention strategies. This research has received $400,000 in support from the Government of Canada’s Northern and Aboriginal Crime Prevention Fund.

And earlier this week, professor of psychology Dr Nick Carleton was named the recipient of this year’s Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize. The award is presented annually by the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada and The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research to a researcher or research team making a transformational impact in the area of mental health.

In announcing the award, Mach-Gaensslen Foundation Chair Dr Christopher Carruthers said that Dr Carleton’s work to treat and prevent post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety personnel is “the epitome of Canadian research in mental health that the foundation wished to recognize.” Dr Carleton, who is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment, was also named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in September.

Congratulations to Mohan, Raven, Brigitte, and Nick. The contributions you make to the public good are a source of pride to the University community.

Next week, I will showcase some of the innovative teaching that is taking place at our University during the pandemic.

Youth set an example regarding masks

With the number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan increasing, the province is implementing additional measures to help reduce the spread of the virus. These measures include the mandatory wearing of masks in all indoor public spaces across the province.

In recent weeks, some people in Saskatchewan have protested the wearing of masks – defying both scientific evidence and the advice of provincial health officials. At such times, it is heartening to see the actions of young people who have not simply adapted to wearing masks, but in fact advocate for their use.

Last week, for instance, when a small group protested the mask mandate, high school students held a counter-protest. They were eloquent, respectful, and genuinely concerned about the welfare of others. Like the University of Regina students who have dutifully donned masks while on our campuses since we implemented our own mask mandate in September, they set a great example.

Thank you to all students – both at the University of Regina and beyond - for your efforts to keep everyone safe!

In closing ... a little music for the weekend

At this stage in the pandemic, it can be difficult to turn away from the news and enjoy some of the good things in life, whether beautiful descriptions of natural wonders, natural wonders themselves ... or unexpected music in unexpected places.

Readers will recall the pianos placed around campus during Congress 2018, and the way that people still played them long after Congress ended. This week, I want to share with you an analogous musical experience, this one provided by Texas-based virtuoso Henri Herbert.

The clip is available here, and contains just over five minutes of dazzling boogie woogie performed before a bemused mall audience. I hope you enjoy it.


Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor