Planning for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

Message from
President and Vice-Chancellor 
Dawn Russell

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 

As we are well into the second semester, I know that you are focused on your current courses and studies. At the same time, I expect that you are wondering about what shape course offerings will take for the coming year. With that in mind, I want to outline our approach to planning for 2021-22.  


The past ten months have been highly demanding for students, faculty, and staff. As a result of your commitment and hard work, we were able to undertake a successful academic year. I want to be able to use our experience and a collaborative approach to build a plan for September 2021 and develop options for a flexible model of course delivery.  


Much of our planning will be dependent on factors beyond our control that will affect our campus and classrooms. These include Public Health requirements and restrictions applicable to the various recovery phases, the evolution of the pandemic and impact of COVID variants, travel requirements, and vaccine rollout. It is prudent for us to plan for a number of scenarios, to be flexible, and to make timely decisions so that you can prepare for the year. Our guiding principle remains the same as we consider all options—as always, the safety and health of students, faculty, and staff will be paramount.   


Collaborative planning has worked well and so I am asking the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Remote Course Delivery, with representatives from faculty, staff, and students, to continue their work. In the coming weeks, the Committee will examine options, including in-person classes, hybrid models (classes involving in-person plus remote elements), and remote course delivery incorporating the expertise we gained over the past year. We will also examine the possibility of on-campus activities and develop a plan for residence operations that includes the refurbished Vanier Hall and various occupancy scenarios.   


Both groups will forward their findings to the Senior Administration who will develop operational and contingency plans in light of the region’s COVID-19 recovery level and Public Health measures. We need to undertake this planning in a timely manner and I would expect the following timelines:   


Report of the Ad Hoc Senate Committee—by the end of March 2021   

Report from the Associate VP (Enrolment)—by the end of March 2021  

Review/Recommendations by Senior Administration—by the end of April 2021  

Decision on September 2021—May to June 2021   


Our goal is to work towards in-person classes for the fall while recognizing the paramountcy of health and safety of our community. A variety of options—ranging from in-person, a blend of in-person/remote, and our enhanced remote course delivery—will be part of the planning framework along with the understanding that we must comply with public health directives. In the meantime, we will soon be making a decision regarding Intersession and Summer Session course offerings and will communicate that shortly. 


Dawn Russell  

President and Vice-Chancellor