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Fall term will be online — accessible anytime, anywhere in the world

A message for students from Concordia President Graham Carr
May 14, 2020
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By Graham Carr

Whether you’re in Montreal or somewhere else in the world, these are exceptional times. I hope you and those close to you are healthy, and that you are managing the inevitable stress and disruption caused by this ever-evolving situation.

I’m writing today to inform you that Concordia’s fall 2020 term will be delivered almost entirely online, accessible anytime, from anywhere in the world.

Why? We need to prioritize the health of our community and exercise our civic responsibility as a large institution in the City of Montreal. Public health authorities have been clear that physical distancing will prevail in Montreal for an indefinite period. As at so many North American universities, proper physical distancing is very hard to maintain on our two campuses. Moving the bulk of our fall term online is the responsible choice.

A few exceptions to online course delivery will be made for activities where a hands-on element is key — for example, experiments, teaching labs and studio work that require a physical demonstration of skills and competencies. Provided that appropriate health and safety measures can be observed, those activities will take place on campus, but with fewer participants than usual, attending on a rotating basis. We are currently identifying in-person course activities across all faculties, and will share this information as soon as we know more.

That said, we remain committed to providing an online version of in-person sessions for those who cannot, or choose not to, attend for any reason. This is part of our commitment to be accessible and equitable. Whether you’re a student in your home country or your Montreal apartment, you will be able to fulfill your course requirements.

For graduate students, I’m pleased to announce that limited access to research labs will gradually resume starting May 25. Your supervisor will be informed of the schedule we’re creating to ensure we all adhere to physical distancing guidelines.

Although our libraries remain physically closed, access to digital collections, “Ask a Librarian,” consultations with subject librarians, interlibrary loans and other online services are functional, and will continue to expand to include instruction and additional digital resources. We are planning to provide restricted access to our physical collections over the summer and fall terms.

To ensure your views are part of our plan, starting next week we’ll be sending out surveys to current and prospective students.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings (April 2020) put Concordia as the number one university in Canada for ‘quality education.’ That’s why we’re putting all our efforts into providing a quality education and preparing you for whatever you’re planning next.

To help you get there, we will also be increasing and adapting our student services to support you through this exceptional time. We will provide:

  • More online student advising
  • More online mental health counselling
  • More peer-to-peer and mentoring exchanges
  • Virtual campus-life opportunities to help combat isolation

We will also be exploring ideas and building partnerships to help our students enjoy the Montreal experience — one of our great assets — virtually.

We will send additional updates over the summer to prepare you for a fall term unlike any other.

Remember, our mission is to help you succeed and your success is our greatest pride.

I appreciate your patience and perseverance during this unprecedented situation, and wish you all the best over the summer and beyond. Even if virtually for the time being, I look forward to welcoming you or welcoming you back to Concordia, Canada’s next-gen university.


Graham Carr
 

President and Vice-Chancellor
Concordia University




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