Looking ahead to September
Summer is upon us, and as a community we have not been together on campus for more than four months. It has been a trying time for many of us - you have had to make adjustments to your learning and teaching styles, had placements and employment opportunities deferred, missed out on important celebrations and of course had the rhythms of your daily lives drastically altered. In response to these changes, the flexibility, resilience and determination you have shown has been remarkable.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank all of you who have continued to come to campus to keep the university operating. Your commitment to Ryerson has not gone unnoticed.
The majority of our fall term will be offered virtually, with as many on campus activities as provincial and public health guidelines permit, along with an array of online extra-curricular programming and academic supports. The university continues to monitor the Provincial government’s re-opening framework and is in regular contact with all levels of government.
While we continue to plan for a modified fall term, I wanted to provide an update on the ongoing preparations that are taking place to make sure that our students, faculty and staff can feel confident about the weeks and months ahead. Your safety and well-being continues to be our top priority as we prepare for September.
Here is a look at some of the supports and programming the university has put in place to help all of our community members succeed and adapt to a different kind of fall semester, while looking forward to an eventual return to our campus:
The Office of the Vice Provost, Students has created a hub of important information for students called RU4U. Here, students can find and connect with the various supports and programs available to help them succeed in a virtual post-secondary environment.
This enhanced summer transition programming has been especially designed for our newest students beginning their university journey this fall. The curated formal and informal learning experiences focus on the development of academic skills, and will foster community engagement and promote student well-being.
The Ryerson University Library team continues to bring together information experts, to build on its existing digital infrastructure, and to provide our students with access to innovative technology and scholarly resources. Students will have access to subject-specific librarians for support, and to key academic library services and experiential learning opportunities. Reference and research help will continue virtually, as will digital and information literacy instruction sessions and workshops.
Students with accessibility and accommodation needs can rely on Academic Accommodation Support (AAS) and the Test Centre, which will continue to operate online.
Student health and well-being services are available virtually, mental health and crisis management services are accessible, and the counselling centre will continue to be available to students in virtual formats. The Medical Centre is operating on a virtual model and appointments are provided by telephone or video-conferencing.
Ryerson has also partnered with Keep.meSAFE, a mental health counselling service that specializes in student mental health support and provides 24/7 access to licensed counsellors through telephone and mobile chat.
Faculty members and instructors have been taking steps to ensure remote course delivery is both engaging and as seamless as possible. To further support teaching in a virtual environment, the following resources are available:
Keep Teaching Taskforce (KTT)
Ryerson’s Keep Teaching Taskforce (KTT) will continue to deliver on its mandate of ensuring faculty and instructors have the most up-to-date resources and support for remote teaching and assessment.
Remote Teaching Resources and Workshops
In preparation for the fall semester, the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has launched a series of one-hour workshops through July and August covering various critical topics, like D2L Brightspace, Ryerson’s current learning management system, and Zoom.
In addition to providing individual course consultation, the centre has also created a Remote Teaching hub that features new information on self-guided course design, as well as a variety of remote teaching resources, workshop videos and technical guides – including this PDF filesix-part guide for adapting a course.
Professional Development Opportunities
The Chang School is offering several professional development opportunities for Ryerson faculty members and contract lecturers to enhance their teaching skills, particularly as they relate to adult and online learning. Training courses in online pedagogy, technology and effective course management are just a few of the offerings available.
Faculty and Staff
It is critical that we each take care of ourselves and our loved ones in response to the challenges COVID-19 has created. The Ryerson: Recharge campaign includes a series of new norms for our faculty and staff to support them in finding a better balance between work and home and making everyone’s wellbeing top priority.
In keeping with current public health recommendations and in support of the City of Toronto’s mask bylaw, Ryerson University will be implementing a Face Mask Policy. I would encourage all members of the community to review this policy before they return to campus. More details on the procedures of how this policy will be implemented will be communicated soon.
At this time, remote work continues for most of our employees, however this new section of the COVID-19 Information and Resources website provides direction for leaders on how to plan in advance for a gradual return to campus, when we are able to do so.
As you can see, much work has been done, and is ongoing, to support our students, faculty and staff at this unprecedented and challenging time. I am sure that, like me, many of you are looking forward to a time when we can be together again - until that time comes, thank you again for your patience, commitment and understanding.
Be well and enjoy the summer months.
President and Vice-Chancellor