Happy New Year A&S undergraduate students. I hope you enjoyed the extended break and are starting the 2021 academic year feeling somewhat recharged and refreshed.
There is no doubt that January can be difficult at the best of times (the days are short and cold in Toronto), and this year we face the added difficulties brought on by the pandemic. As I said in my holiday message, everyone’s experience has been different. And I continue to be inspired by your ability to adapt and stick with your studies on top of everything else going on in your lives.
As we start this term, I wish each and every one of you the best both personally and academically. No doubt there will be challenging times over the coming months and we must continue to adapt as needed to what comes our way. When deadlines collide and course material accumulates, please reach out to members of your teaching team (professors and teaching assistants) or meet virtually with a specialist in your College Registrar’s Office for support. And I encourage you to look at the mental health resources available for all students. I know it’s easier said than done to reach out when you need help, but it’s important to know support is there.
It may sound repetitive, but I am truly thankful for your patience and for your messages as we navigate this difficult time together. You have provided valuable feedback to your instructors, ASSU, and to my office, which we have and will continue to collectively reflect upon and incorporate into our teaching and course delivery, this term and beyond. We will continue to work together to make things better and to help everyone have a successful term.
While we will be online for the duration of this term, we are all looking forward to being back together and will be ready whenever we are permitted to do so. I am committed to keeping you updated on all key decisions and developments with regard to our return to the campus and the classroom.
We have been in what seems like a never-ending storm. But I hope, like me, you are also feeling a renewed sense of optimism, as the roll out of the COVID vaccine shows a light at the end of the tunnel and brighter days ahead.
I look forward to connecting again soon.
Melanie A. Woodin
Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science
Professor, Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto