Principal's Update - Winter Term
January 8, 2021
A message from Dr. David Malloy, King's Principal:
As we will begin our winter academic term on Monday January 11 2021, I would like to give you an update so that you can make an informed choice about travelling in the coming days.
Despite our best efforts to try to offer some in-person classes, we remain, along with all of Ontario, under a provincial shutdown framework due to the pandemic. Given the strong recommendations and other educational operational decisions by our Premier, our classes will be exclusively virtual face-to-face and online for the winter term. As always, our priorities are the safety of our campus while maintaining the academic rigour of our programs. For our students who also take classes at Western or at the other affiliates, I can tell you that their classes will also be largely virtual until at least Reading Week. You will receive details from Western on this issue as well.
I appreciate the stress these decisions can cause our community. As our students and faculty return to their studies and research, we, of course, wish we could all gather for a proper "Welcome Back." However, Ontario remains in a shutdown level of the COVID-19 response framework. I want to assure you that King's is operating at full capacity within the guidelines of public health, virtually and in some operations, in-person.
All of the members of the King's community, be they students, faculty, administrators, or staff, must use the lessons learned during our fall term. To be studying at a university college can be challenging as we all wish to do our best. Even at a time of remote learning, King's has continued to maintain services to assist our students with their academic endeavours:
The Write Place embraced online tutoring, developing resources, tools, and approaches. Writers can get feedback on academic papers, resumes, graduate school or scholarship applications, and creative writing; while faculty are welcome to discuss their assignments and consult with the writing specialists. As well, a fun, informal weekly English language conversation group called Virtual Majlis has been launched in the Zoom world by writing specialist Professor Sheri Henderson.
The Cardinal Carter Library will continue to operate several new programs launched last fall, including:
- The Click and Collect contactless book pickup program
- The new Digital Delivery program where digital scans of chapters and articles can be emailed
- The Course Reserves program is now completely digital
Although entry to the library building is unavailable as per shutdown procedures, staff will continue to provide seamless access to the Cardinal Carter Library collections as a way of achieving their goal of providing students, faculty, administrators, and staff with high quality resources for study and research.
The Academic Dean's Office has many services in place to assist our students virtually, including the Academic Counselling Helpline which can be accessed from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 519-518-2907 or 1-800-265-4406.
King's Residence will continue to support those students who are currently on campus and those who are planning to return this weekend can continue to do so. Students who have not yet planned their return to campus should contact the residence office to update us on their plans. Updates will be provided in the coming days as new information becomes available. Please continue to check your emails for these updates.
We must continue to keep the idea of working safely always top of mind. As I have stated in the past, I am immensely proud of the King's community for the tremendous job we have done not only to stay safe during this pandemic, but to demonstrate resilience in the face of these challenging times.
Perhaps it may be a help to you to take a few minutes to view the short video by Dr. Mark Yenson, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, entitled "Spiritual Resources in a Time of Pandemic: Further Reflections." It is the introduction to a second series of videos from the Centre for Advanced Research on Catholic Thought at King's. This series reflects on how the Catholic intellectual-spiritual tradition can help us in responding to challenging times, as individuals and as communities. My thanks to all who have contributed to this video series, especially to the Director of the Centre, Dr. Carolyn Chau of our Religious Studies department. Topics including hope, resilience, listening and more have given me encouragement during the pandemic. I hope you also find them inspiring and helpful.
Our students and faculty have shown innovation and flexibility in continuing their studies in a largely virtual environment. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our ITS and Academic Dean's departments rolled out the Moving Online Project (MOP) to ensure the successful transition of King's courses to an online environment.
Our core staff have worked tirelessly and safely to ensure the continuation of campus operations and service to students, faculty, and employees. Faculty, administrators, and staff have adapted well to working remotely, doing what they knew was necessary.
While there are so many things that have changed as we operate under the conditions of a pandemic there are many things that have not changed. Much like there are new services to assist with academic challenges, there remain many resources to support mental health and wellness in our community. At the same time, we understand being a student at King's has changed due to COVID-19, and we have compiled a centralized resource to help students navigate this new reality.
As King's Principal, I urge you to consider these services as a way of taking care of yourself and each other as we continue to take care of this place.