Principal strikes steering committee on COVID-19 & upcoming academic year

Deane acknowledges “urgency” of determining future University operations

The committee will present their recommendations to the senior leadership team in May.
Journal File Photo

Principal Patrick Deane launched a new steering committee to address the impact of the pandemic on University operations in the 2020-21 academic year. 

The Principal’s COVID-19 Response Steering Committee will oversee and direct seven working sub-groups comprised of administrators, staff and faculty across campus. The groups will meet regularly throughout the month of April to determine functional recommendations for how the University can best proceed in response to the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 outbreak continues to pose unprecedented challenges for universities across the sector, and Queen’s is no exception,” Deane wrote in a statement to The Journal. “Our world changed rapidly, and we need to adapt just as quickly.”

Co-chaired by Mark Green, provost and vice-principal (Academic), and Donna Janiec, vice-principal (Finance and Administration), the committee’s members are Brenda Brouwer, Heather Cole, Barbara Crow, Michael Fraser, Teri Shearer, Stephanie Simpson, Ann Tierney, David Walker, and Rector Alex da Silva.

Each of the working sub-groups will cover a specific area of University operations, including enrolment and marketing, financial scenarios and budgeting, remote delivery, academic program regulations, the Bader International Study Centre (BISC), research impacts, and faculty and staff support.

“Our future will depend on how well we are able to make changes, how innovative we are, and how quickly we can adapt,” Deane wrote. “I am confident that if we work now, together and in a collaborative fashion on our strategic planning for the future, we will emerge from this crisis a stronger institution.”

Most of these groups will also involve student representation, according to Principal Deane. As well, both he and Green will work closely with student leaders to ensure their concerns are implemented within the decisions made by the committee.  

From now through early May, the sub-groups will make recommendations to the steering committee. After that, the committee will analyze a range of potential scenarios modelled by the groups and present the recommendations to the senior leadership team.

“This is a very tight turnaround because decisions for the coming academic year need to be made now in order for them to be implemented,” Deane wrote. “There is urgency to this task so we can fully inform the community of what is planned, allocate the right resources, and be prepared to deliver what we have communicated in the academic year.”

On April 22, Principal Deane announced the committee’s terms of reference, which include the overarching principles being used to guide the committee and the working sub-groups. 

“It is important that the community know that the University is very engaged in addressing the challenges of this current crisis and making a plan that will benefit our community and this institution in both the short and long term,” Deane wrote. 

According to Deane, students will continue to be updated on new developments to University operations through various social media platforms, ensuring they are “informed about [the University’s] decisions and what they can expect in the year ahead.”

“With so many unknowns, this is a challenge, but we are working in real time, trying to make informed decisions and communicate them as quickly as we can,” Deane wrote. “We know people are waiting to hear from us, but we also want to make sure we get this right.”

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