Dear A&S Students,
With summer officially upon us, I hope you’re feeling a sense of pride for the historic year you just completed and that you are also feeling hopeful about the year ahead. As we prepare for the Fall Term, I wanted to take this opportunity to touch base with you on our planning and to reflect on our current circumstances.
I know that you're making some big decisions right now about whether to move to campus or join us online in September. The 2020-21 Fall/Winter final timetable will be released the week of July 6th, which will allow you to see how particular courses will be delivered, in order to assist you in making the decisions that are right for your situation. When the timetable is live, you will also receive an issue of the Faculty Registrar E-News with more information on course enrolment dates and course delivery methods.
In light of COVID-19, and to support students intending to graduate in June 2021, I’ve amended the Dean’s Promise for this academic year. If you choose to learn online, and if you require a course that is only being offered in-person to complete your program requirements, the Dean’s Promise ensures you will be provided with an alternative online course. Please read the full Dean’s Promise for more details on how this may be helpful if you are heading into your final year in A&S. As always, I encourage you to contact your college registrar’s office for advising related to course enrolment and to refer to the resources for students for more information about the virtual advising, webinars, study groups and learning strategies available to support your studies online. Please also continue to refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the Faculty website regarding any changes to academic policies, dates, and procedures. We’ll continue to update these FAQs throughout the summer.
Let me turn my attention now to the shocking anti-Black racist violence that recently occurred south of the border. I know that anti-Black racism also exists here. Please know that I am committed to using my position of leadership, together with your engagement, to dismantle systemic racism within our Faculty. I’ll be communicating with the A&S community throughout the year as we make the sustained and positive change we recently outlined in the A&S academic plan “Leveraging our Strengths.” I’ll also be creating opportunities to hear directly from you about how we can do more to support Black students, staff and faculty in Arts & Science.
Finally, although this summer is not what any of us were imagining or expecting, I hope you’ll join me in making the best of the situation. Let’s take this time to explore our local worlds and either forge new connections or renew old ones to the people around us, in ways we may have overlooked or taken for granted in the time before the pandemic. For me, I’ve discovered new trails in Toronto’s ravines, had conversations with neighbours who I used to only wave at in passing, and I’m also trying my hand at growing kale and spinach (much to the fear of my kids!). I look forward to meeting and re-connecting with you in September and to hearing about what you’ve discovered about yourself and that local world around you. And when summer comes to a close and you look to the start of Fall term, I hope you’ll carry that sense of curiosity, openness and adventure with you back to U of T as we start a year together like no other in our school’s history.
Above all, I hope you and yours are staying healthy and safe!
Melanie A. Woodin
Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science
Professor, Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto