You are now in the main content area

Message from the Dean, Faculty of Community Services

March 31, 2020

This message is to acknowledge the unprecedented and challenging circumstances of our time regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tremendous efforts being made by community members in the Faculty of Community Services (FCS) - faculty, staff, students, alumni, and our partners both inside and outside of Ryerson University.

The leadership of the FCS Dean’s Office, including the Associate Deans, staff leadership and myself, are meeting daily (virtually) with each other and with the Provost’s leadership group. As well, we continue to hold FCS dean’s council meetings (virtually) and continue to meet with academic and staff leaders across our nine Schools, as well as with faculty, staff and students as needed and as appropriate. I want to thank all our FCS leaders (Associate Deans, School Directors, Associate Directors, Graduate Program Directors, course and year leads, staff managers, among others) for your extraordinary efforts to lead your respective groups and units through these extremely challenging times. I continue to be impressed by the capacities of our people and their willingness to do as much as they are able to do, to help others work through the complex challenges that face all of us right now.

To our faculty (tenure stream and contract lecturers) who are so passionate about teaching, research and service, and who have dedicated incredible efforts to providing course materials and final assessments in alternate formats so students can finish the Winter semester in a good way --  I want you to know we see and greatly appreciate your continued efforts to assist and accommodate students. We also know that for many of you, your research activities, sabbatical plans and other such work has also been impacted. Thank you for all that you are doing to help our community stay steady at this difficult time.

To our staff, who keep our nine Schools and the Dean’s Office running, we know that the move to working online and to managing projects remotely has been a challenge, but we are confident that you are all doing your very best to manage through these complexities and to assist others to do so as well. We thank you for your continued efforts.

To our students, who are here to learn and to help improve community life, we know this disruption in your learning poses significant challenges. We are aware that so many of you are experiencing significant financial, learning, family, health and other challenges at this time. Students are at the heart of everything we do at the Faculty of Community Services, and we are all keeping your experiences at the top of our minds as we continue to plan for the future. Stay tuned for more information about how we are putting new processes into place to help you continue to succeed.

In these circumstances, we also think of our nearly 45,000 alumni across the globe, working on the frontlines and behind the scenes fighting this pandemic. You have always played important roles in building stronger communities, and now, more than ever, this crisis demonstrates the critical part you play ensuring the health and well-being for all people. For your advocacy and especially now, your tireless commitment to service that puts the needs of the community above your own safety and comfort, we thank you and applaud your efforts. You truly make us proud. 

Coping with the disruptions and difficulties caused by this pandemic is a challenge - financially, physically, psychologically, socially. These are difficult times for everyone, but we are also cognizant of the fact that we are not all facing the same pressures. We know that access to resources often affects outcomes. We know that our community is differentially impacted in terms of their ability to isolate, study, work, research, grade, and manage children or seniors or others in need of care. We are making a number of efforts to help faculty, staff, and students adjust and to successfully cope with all that you are all managing right now. 

In recognizing the immense challenges we are collectively experiencing, in the coming days and weeks, we will also be sharing some human stories of how members of our community are being responsive during this crisis and are coping and contributing to their health and the health of the communities in which they live and work. 

In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to work from home and online, to maintain physical distance and do our part for the collective well-being of the community. Please continue to check and the FCS website regularly for updates. None of us are in this alone. We are, and have always been, stronger together. 

Thank you.

Lisa Barnoff, PhD
Dean, Faculty of Community Services