Faculty and Staff

Planning for fall semester

April 22, 2020
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This message is being posted on behalf of Jonathan Driver, Vice-President Academic and Provost, pro tem. 

These are, as we have heard in many ways now, unprecedented times. And times like these require forward thinking as much as they do reacting in the moment.

Much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will progress, but we are getting good advice and guidance from public health officials, so planning ahead is the responsible thing to do. This ensures we continue to fulfill the academic mission of the university, while taking this opportunity to recalibrate and innovate so we come back even stronger than we were.

With this in mind, a committee of VPs and Deans has been established to plan for fall semester. This group includes a broad representation of individuals who will look at continuity from all angles and who can represent the concerns of our community.

The committee will focus on high level forward planning to further the university’s academic goals and objectives. Rather than simply looking at a resumption of pre-COVID-19 operations, the aim will be to develop a strategic plan for transitioning from what we need to do during COVID-19 to delivering on all aspects of the academic mission, while ensuring the continuance of scholarly activities at both the faculty and institutional level. 

Because much is still unknown, we are making plans with different planning scenarios in mind, from most optimistic to less so. In all scenarios, we will consider the needs of our students, including those from outside of Canada as the situation in B.C. may not be relevant in other countries.

Naturally, this level of uncertainty presents a planning challenge. In keeping with the optimism that is an element of the university’s culture, we intend to plan for the most optimistic scenario possible, with contingency plans and adjustments available should they become necessary.

The F2020P Committee, as we are calling it, will be co-chaired by myself and Wade Parkhouse, the Associate Vice President, Academic, and will also include four associate vice presidents and four deans. Deans’ Council will serve as the Steering/Advisory Committee. Working groups and consultation processes will be developed as the planning proceeds. Regular updates will be circulated to the university community. We will use existing governance processes when changes to normal practices are recommended. The Committee will take significant policy recommendations or resource requests to the Executive for consideration and/or approval.

I want to thank the committee that has been formed and the resource people who will support this group for taking this forward-looking step to support our students, faculty and staff during these challenging times.

And I want to thank all of you for your continued patience and support as we navigate this pandemic.

Jonathan C. Driver, PhD, RPA
Vice-President Academic and Provost pro tem
Simon Fraser University