During 2019–2020, the Office of the Vice-Dean, Governance and Internationalization (VDGInt), continued to develop and implement its two-fold mission. While a number of our programs were disrupted in March, 2020, by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be re-launching our internationalization efforts as soon as health officials and the University deem it safe to do so. I would like to thank all of the professors who adapted their plans on very short notice, transforming their international field research courses into online formats so that students could still complete their credits.
I would also like to thank the students who showed understanding and flexibility at a moment of great disappointment. I realize that many students plan for years to participate in our international programs, and that the COVID-19 crisis represents more than just a lost opportunity to travel abroad. I know that participation in our international internships program, field research courses and Model United Nations course is an unparalleled formative experience for many students. I share your disappointment that we were not able to offer these experiences this year. We look forward to the day that we can support student learning abroad again. In the meantime, we will continue to pursue and support opportunities for “internationalization at home” through online and distance learning options.
With respect to governance, we have been working on updating the Faculty’s bylaws to make them simpler and easier to navigate. This also involves the creation of new Faculty policy handbooks, and a significant devolution of authority to academic units. We look forward to working with each of the units in this endeavour.
This is a period of change for the University, as we navigate new funding realities and academic priorities. In the face of these challenges, we will continue to work with our units to develop innovative approaches to serving students, professors and the broader community.
Vice-Dean Governance and Internationalization