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Welcome to Fall 2020 at the Faculty of Community Services

A message from Dean Lisa Barnoff
September 14, 2020
RU Campus

To all of our staff, faculty, and new and returning students, welcome to the 2020-21 academic year. I hope everyone has been able to stay safe and well during these past few months and that you are looking forward to the start of the Fall semester at Ryerson. Because of the global pandemic we have all had to make many changes to our routine ways of working, learning, teaching and doing research. I want to start by thanking our faculty and instructors for all the thoughtful work they have done to organize their teaching to be delivered remotely this year and to our staff for all the careful work they have done to support the transition to a remote campus. Students, I want to send a very sincere thank you to you too -- for your continued commitment to your education at this challenging time.  

At the Faculty of Community Services (FCS), we will continue engaging with you and with all the communities we work with even more than ever. We are working hard to stay connected with all of you in every way that we can and we are looking forward to what we can continue to do together. The dean’s office is here, as always, to support all of you.  

First-year students: know that we have resources, external link available online to help you throughout the year, including an academic support, external link and counseling, external link team dedicated to students. Returning students: these programs, external link are here for you too. We continue to be here for you and to support your success, and I truly mean that for each and every one of you.  

We have an exciting year ahead with many opportunities to connect, grow, and learn as we pursue our academic, professional and community interests, including for example, the implementation of our new anti-Black racism action plan, external link, continuing to focus on self-care as practitioners, and providing assistance on how to successfully apply for awards and grants. We continue to offer undergraduate writing support, external link and we are expanding opportunities for all students to check in with us through our new virtual check-in sessions. Stay tuned for more information on all of these initiatives and more.  

We  remind you to check out the awards, external link we offer and apply to ones you may be qualified for as they become available. We have introduced a number of new awards this year, including the SRC Innovation Graduate Award and the Dean’s Social Justice Graduate Award. There are also many initiatives and resources that the Ryerson Community Services Society, external link and your course unions, external link have to offer as well.  

Funding for the FCS Equity and Inclusion Project Fund for students, staff and faculty will be announced later this semester and our internal research grants, external link for faculty will open on September 14 for the fall round.  

This year, we are excited to pilot a new partnership with Ryerson’s Office of the Vice Provost  Students that introduces an embedded academic accommodation support (AAS) facilitator liaison to ensure we are providing the best possible support for FCS students, staff and faculty  in relation to academic accommodations and to develop best practices unique to our faculty.  

Faculty members are encouraged to visit the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, external link(CELT) for resources and programming, including the Remote Teaching, external link Hub, external link that is designed to help faculty and instructors prepare their courses for remote delivery. CELT has also developed the Continuity of Learning Guide, external link to provide students with helpful instructions on how to join online classes and adapt to new learning processes while away from campus.  

Equity and inclusion continue to be at the core of what we do, and that includes regularly evaluating how we can improve access, and remove systemic barriers. This year we have a number of projects being implemented in response to our anti-Black racism action plan, including curriculum review and design, scholarships, and faculty recruitment. As well, we have just announced, external link the appointment of Professor Idil Abdillahi as Advisor to the Dean on Anti-Black Racism, effective September 1, 2020 for a one-year term. In this new role, Professor Abdillahi will lead the implementation process of our anti-Black racism action plan and we look forward to her leadership in this regard.

This Fall we are excited to launch our FCS Indigenous Resurgence website and will share more details about this soon. We know we have more work to do, and  under the leadership of Dr. Lynn Lavallée, Strategic Lead, Indigenous Resurgence, we will offer programming and support for Indigenous students, staff and faculty at FCS. If you identify as Indigenous and would like to stay informed please let us know, external link.  

At FCS, while we may all be on our own unique academic journeys, we are also a community of learners working together to build something better for those who come after us.

I am excited about this year and about what we will be able to accomplish together as a community, even in the midst of the challenges that the global pandemic has created. In this context, our continued efforts to work together to build a strong community at FCS becomes even more important.  

I wish all of you continued good health and continued personal and professional success. Thank you for all that you do to make FCS a better place.

Lisa Barnoff
Dean, Faculty of Community Services