A Message from the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies
I wanted to share an update on what the last month has been like as interim Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies.
When I entered this role in February and anticipated the exciting challenges to come, a pandemic certainly was not what I had in mind. Talk about baptism by fire! I never dreamed that I would be spending my days at home glued to a computer screen, jumping from one Zoom call to the next. Monthly meetings have become weekly meetings, and weekly meetings now occur every other day. It feels altogether familiar and foreign to chair research committees, sit in on cabinet meetings, and attend important briefings from home.
As a colleague aptly described, it feels like stepping onto an airplane each day — there are turbulent moments, the occasional snack, and hopeful glances out the window, anticipating the relief of a safe arrival. However, I couldn’t imagine a better team to navigate through this with.
Everyone at the university is working hard to steadily adapt operations and actively plan for all possible outcomes. This situation was unexpected, but we’re doing our best by remaining flexible and agile.
To Concordia researchers — I recognize that the closure hasn’t been easy for you. With childcare responsibilities, work might have shrunk to the essentials. The suspension of the online exam platform means you may be reworking final assessments. External grant decisions and cancellations are changing and impacting the future of research programs. Thankfully, there’s reassuring news of grants offering extensions and my team of research advisors are here to help with those requests.
While this has surely been destabilizing, I’m optimistic for the research community. Researchers are adopting new ways of working remotely and are forming virtual groups to support the ambitions of their peers. The way we work has forever been altered, but I’m encouraged by our capacity to adapt and thrive in new and unsettling circumstances. As this pandemic continues to reveal real systemic problems, we will be called upon to address these complex issues, respond to new realities, and provide counsel for years to come. In the short term, research will play a pivotal role as the driver of innovation, helping to get things moving once again.
Take care and stay safe,
Interim Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies