Queen’s preparing for extended remote learning in face of pandemic

Principal working with City to navigate challenges ahead

Queen’s preparing for extended remote learning in face of pandemic
Journal File Photo
Queen’s Senate convened for their March meeting via teleconference on Tuesday to discuss the short- and long-term impacts of the novel coronavirus.
John Pierce, vice-provost (teaching and learning), opened Senate discussions about COVID-19 by explaining the transition from in-person learning to remote learning.
“We always think of the syllabus as a formal contract between instructor and students, but we have to make adjustments,” Pierce said. 
According to Pierce, the four main purposes behind the adapted remote learning measures were to reiterate the University’s commitment to student accommodations, to ratify academic adjustments made to syllabi by instructors, to allow for normal appeals students would typically make about assignments, and to delegate authority over to Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP) to make adjustments and changes for courses. 
“There will be pass/fail options, but those will be handed over to the faculties to administer,” he said.
Principal Patrick Deane elaborated on the advice he received from Kingston’s chief medical officer during what has now become daily morning meetings.
“We’ve been advised to make all of our decisions in the expectation that the form of our current regime will need to prevail to the end of the year, if not beyond,” Deane said.
According to Deane, more than one million students have made the transition to remote studies across Canada.
“For the next two weeks, we need to raise our attentiveness to public health awareness,” he said.
Professor Jordan Morelli posed a question about the financial impact cause by the inability of international students to attend the university.
“We all need to look this particular challenge very squarely in the face,” Deane said. “The global pandemic is going to very dramatically affect student mobility around the globe and we are certain to see a dramatic drop in international enrolment.” 
Deane also voiced concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on domestic enrollment in the coming year.
“I would say that it is highly likely that we will see challenges with domestic enrollment, too since moving anywhere in the country is something people will have second thoughts about,” he said.
Morelli also asked how Queen’s will assist the marginalized members of the Kingston community like homeless people.
“We’ve been in discussions for a couple of weeks,” said Deane. “We and St. Lawrence College are very open to being of service to the community.”
According to Deane, the City of Kingston has made appropriate arrangements for homeless people at this time.
Senate also approved the establishment of a Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering degree program in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, effective Sept. 1, 2021, as well as a proposal to establish an endowed Chair for Women in Engineering and Applied Science.
The position is an update to the original role proposed last fall. When the anonymous donor supporting the position visited campus, he was concerned upon discovering that the proposed role was a five-year expendable position. He doubled the donation which led to an endowment of three million dollars, making the position permanent.

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