'Thank you for your dedication during these unprecedented times'
As winter 2020 mercifully draws to a close and we head into the summer term, I want to thank you for your dedication during these unprecedented times, update you on the road ahead and share some news that would be terrific at any time, but is especially joyous now.
First, the thank you. Even before we suspended in-person classes on March 12 and the government declared a national health emergency two days later, many of you were heavily engaged in planning for what became our eventuality. Once the COVID-19 crisis was upon us, staff and faculty threw themselves into carrying out our operations, delivering the term for our students, and ensuring the health of our community and the safety of our campuses.
Looking back over the past seven weeks, it’s astonishing to see what we accomplished — what you accomplished. It was all done under impossibly disruptive work conditions in a context of enormous health, economic and social anxiety. I cannot thank you enough for all your efforts.
Unfortunately, although spring is now upon us, more uncertainty remains. Our fully online summer sessions are about to begin. We have been authorized to plan a limited, gradual resumption of some research activity in the coming weeks but cannot ignore that Quebec — especially Montreal — is still experiencing a health emergency.
Although work-from-home will continue to be the norm for staff and faculty in the foreseeable future, we are also exploring various gradual return-to-campus scenarios and will share details as soon as we can.
As you can imagine, we are also very preoccupied by what fall will look like. Our academic leadership is in deep planning mode, anticipating that we might have to deliver the term remotely. The situation is evolving rapidly. At this stage there are still more imponderables than answers, but I’m sure we can all recognize that fall 2020 will not resemble the start of a normal academic year.
In the midst of everything, it’s especially great to be able to savour some truly outstanding news. The launch of CU@Home and CU Cares have both been spectacular successes. My thanks to all those involved in these important unifying initiatives.
Last week, the 2020 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings were released. It was Concordia’s first time participating in these rankings and we did ourselves proud! We placed in the world’s top 100 universities in seven categories aligned with the UN 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 finished tops in Quebec, top five in Canada and top 20 in the world.
The Impact Rankings align with our Sustainability Action Plan. Our strong showing demonstrates the power of Concordia’s research and teaching. But it also underlines the importance of our community approach through our partnerships with NGOs, the Concordia University Foundation’s investment strategy, our campus sustainability initiatives, and the management of our land and facilities.
In these challenging times we can all take pride that 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