'Congratulations on getting through the most challenging academic session in living memory'
To the Concordia student community,
As the winter 2020 term draws to a close, let me first and foremost congratulate you on getting through the most challenging academic session in living memory. Universities are places of learning and COVID-19 continues to be a demanding teacher for all of us.
I know it was a stressful experience for many of you, balancing uncertainty about the virus with financial challenges, the changing academic framework, loss of campus connections and difficulties trying to study from home. All the more reason to feel proud of your accomplishments and applaud your adaptability and perseverance.
For those who are set to graduate, it’s hugely disappointing that we had to suspend convocation, which is a highlight of the academic year for all of us. We’re working hard to plan virtual celebrations, the details of which we’ll share with you shortly. In the months ahead we’ll also continue to monitor government guidelines on when in-person gatherings can resume and under which conditions.
To meet the high demand for online summer courses, we’re adding registration spaces. We’re also planning, for the coming weeks, a limited, gradual re-opening of research lab activities that will benefit some graduate students whose research has been interrupted.
It’s still too early to know what fall will look like but we have several working groups exploring different academic and student-service scenarios. Whatever the situation come September, we remain committed to delivering a next-gen education, offering a range of high-quality courses and experiential learning opportunities of a calibre befitting the top-ranked Canadian university under 50 years old.
While many of you may feel some measure of relief with recent government announcements around student support, I realize that many international students remain uneasy. Some of you are a long way from home and perhaps feel isolated. I can’t stress enough how important you and your success are to Concordia. We will continue to intercede with the government and try to find ways to better support you.
In the meantime, please take note of the many resources listed at the end of this message. And let me again offer my profound, heartfelt thanks to the Graduate Student Association (GSA) for their inspiring $110,000 contribution to the COVID-19 Emergency Student Fund.
Let me end with some good news. The 2020 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are in. It was Concordia’s first time participating in these rankings. We had an impressive showing, placing in the world’s top 100 universities in seven categories aligned with the UN’s sustainable development goals. We’re number one in Canada in the Quality Education category, and in two areas — Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Climate Action — we’re tops in Quebec, top five in Canada and top 20 in the world.
The Impact Rankings demonstrate that even in these challenging times, Concordia is recognized globally for its solutions-oriented leadership on topics of global importance.
Best wishes to you and those close to you, and let’s all stay optimistic for a brighter future ahead.
President and Vice-Chancellor
See if you are eligible for financial assistance:
Government of Canada: Canada Emergency Student Benefit
Government of Canada: Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Concordia: COVID-19 Emergency Student Relief Fund
Concordia: CSU External Committee Emergency Fund
Mental health, physical and academic support is available here.
Stay active and engaged with the activities found on our CU@Home page.
Volunteer with CU Cares to help those struggling during the crisis.