Message from the President: Forging ahead to Fall 2020
This message was distributed to UPEI students, faculty, and staff on May 29, 2020 to their @upei.ca emails. While we will continue to update our COVID-19 website, the latest news will be first shared with the UPEI community by email and on UPEI SAFE, the University’s safety app (available on The App Store and Google Play). View UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan for information about the University's plan to gradually return to campus.
Dear Members of the University Community,
This past Monday marked the beginning of Stage One in UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan—Planning the Way Forward. It was also the first time I have been to my office in ten weeks, and so far, so good! It is wonderful to be back and to see colleagues at a social distance, versus only by screen, but admittedly, it is very different. I had the opportunity to take a walk on campus this morning and while signs of summer were evident, I missed seeing the usual groups of students, community members, and conference participants walking and congregating along our pathways and in the quadrangle.
With a week of Stage One almost under our belt, there are many on campus who are busily preparing for our next milestone, the beginning of Stage Two, on June 15, 2020. This date coincides with when the Deans and the University Librarian, along with their faculty and staff, will distribute specific information about program delivery during the 2020 Fall Academic Semester. I thank everyone for keeping our students’ personal and academic success at the forefront of their planning.
Many other areas have been adapting and expanding services during this COVID-19 era, including the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre, which, after a period of testing, is now able to offer virtual health-care appointments. The Centre and the Doctor of Psychology program partnered to invest in Zoom for Healthcare, a secure and compliant video conferencing platform.
It has been amazing to see two research projects from the Faculty of Arts highlighted in the news in the span of one week. Dr. Josh MacFayden’s “The Back 50 Project,” and Dr. Kate Scarth’s scholarly work, which gathers “origin stories” from L.M. Montgomery fans, were both featured on CBC radio. Dr. Scarth will also participate in CBC’s regional radio show, Maritime Noon, next week.
Our new cohort for the Bachelor of Education program began on May 11, and the Dean of Education reports that the faculty has risen to the challenge of delivering courses online, and the students are highly engaged and excited at the prospect of becoming excellent educators. I wish them all the best in their remote teaching and learning.
I am so proud of how Islanders have found creative ways to support their friends, family, and neighbours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of our collective efforts to follow public health measures, PEI is one of the safest places to be in Canada. If this success continues, UPEI will be an attractive destination for our students’ educational journeys, and our scale will enable us to offer high quality in-person and/or virtual face-to-face experiences, along with world-class education and research opportunities come September.
Again, I thank all of you for your contributions toward building a stronger UPEI community during these unprecedented times.
Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Avenue
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island