Dean's Messages

Latest information for Engineering students, faculty & staff from Dean Chris Yip

Looking forward to Fall, our facilities & Winter 2021

July 17, 2020

To our U of T Engineering community

As we enjoy some summer weather — physically distant, of course — I’m also thinking about the Fall and looking forward to the new school year. I am sending an enthusiastic welcome to our incoming first-year students — you have a terrific semester ahead of you!

You received the President’s message this week in regards to what the Fall will look like at U of T, the resumption of research, and incorporating COVID-19 preparations as well as safety into every element of University operations. I wanted to check back in and share some updates about how we have been preparing here in Engineering.

 

Fall term

We remain focused on protecting the health and safety of our whole community, and ensuring that we deliver an excellent semester through remote learning. All Fall term classes, lectures, and course events will be offered online. We are also making a remote access guarantee, which will allow every one of our students to complete all academic requirements remotely, including final exams/assessments. No student will be required to be on campus in person during the Fall 2020 term.

We are planning to offer meaningful in-person experiences to complement the remote delivery of courses, labs and tutorials. We continue to take direction from the government and public health agencies, and those guidelines continue to change. You will be hearing from us as soon as we know if and where it is possible to add in-person elements to your courses. In-person activities will not be requirements of any course.

Current students, please visit our undergraduate student FAQs and graduate student FAQs for more. Our incoming first-year students can find the latest info, from course enrolment to your preparation checklist, on the Guide to First Year site. Also, keep an eye on your inboxes every Friday for the First Year News Feed, a weekly newsletter with the latest info as you prepare to join us this Fall.

 

Facilities

In keeping with the province’s reopening stages, U of T’s St. George campus is now open for essential workers and approved research teams. We will continue to reopen gradually and safely.

Current students who require internet access for their academic work can access the Wallace Room in the Gerstein Science Information Centre with a reservation. While physical access to the Engineering Computing Facility (ECF) labs and printers remains closed at this time, the entire ECF environment is remotely accessible from any internet connection. Remote access instructions and a complete list of resources is available on the ECF webpage.

We know many students are planning to live in U of T residences this fall — the University is adapting its housing to ensure a safe and healthy living situation for all students. Find the latest info on residences on the Provost’s site.

 

Winter term

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we hope to safely offer more in-person experiences in the Winter term. To allow every one of our students to complete all academic requirements, including final exams/assessments, without delaying their graduation we will extend the remote access guarantee for the 2021 Winter term.

Course enrolment for the Winter term is now open, and returning students received a message from the Registrar’s Office this week with more information about how to enroll. Students will not yet be able to enroll into 2021 Winter term in-person sections of Engineering courses through ACORN. Students will have opportunities to opt into limited, optional, in-person sections of Engineering courses for which they are already registered (not waitlisted) starting early September, provided they can confirm they will be available and in Toronto to attend all in-person sections. We will share more details in the Fall.

I’ll continue to share updates on our plans and reopening with our community. In the meantime, please take some time to enjoy a break and get some fresh air if you can — we will be swept up in the energy of a new semester before we know it.

Chris

Christopher Yip
Dean
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

Update on planning for Fall Term

June 9, 2020

COVID-19 Update: June 9, 2020 | 2:00 pm

To our U of T Engineering community

I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and healthy. I want to continue to update you on our Faculty’s planning for the Fall Term, and how we’re working to relaunch some of the research that has been paused since the campus closure in March.

As I’ve shared, our primary motivation as we plan for September is to protect the health and wellness of our community — this includes undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, researchers, industry partners, alumni and friends. That’s why we are focused on ensuring that we deliver an excellent semester through remote learning. All classes, lectures, and course events will be offered online.

We are also making a remote access guarantee, which will allow every one of our students to complete all academic requirements remotely, including final exams. The remote access guarantee means that for those who cannot be in Toronto, or choose to stay home, you will be able to continue your programs uninterrupted. Students will not be required to attend classes, labs or tutorials in person during the Fall 2020 Term.

We hope to be able to augment our remote learning with in-person experiences, including perhaps socially distant office hours, group projects, extra- or co-curricular opportunities. However, we continue to take guidance from public health authorities and governments, and cannot forecast when it may be safe to do so. If we are able to safely offer in-person experiences, we will likely not be able to confirm those details until much later in the summer or even early Fall.

Finally, we are taking steps to safely restart research projects that had been suspended in March. This involves evaluating lab and work spaces, installing safety equipment, and ensuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available and new safety protocols are clear. I know that faculty are working closely with all members of their research teams, focusing on scheduling and safety planning for the restart in their research spaces and labs. Principal investigators with questions about when they should be planning for the restart should first contact their Associate Chair, Research.

While the COVID-19 situation across Ontario remains uncertain, our Faculty’s focus is clear: to cautiously and thoughtfully adapt our spaces and workflows to prepare for a safe restart, and embrace the challenge of delivering a terrific Fall Term remotely. With creativity, cooperation and ambition, I know we can do both.

Chris

Christopher Yip

Dean

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

University of Toronto

Acknowledging and acting against anti-Black racism

June 5, 2020

To the U of T Engineering community

I have seen the pain, anguish and frustration of protesters and demonstrators across the U.S., Canada and around the world. Though this past week’s action against anti-Black racism was sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody, and by the circumstances surrounding the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet here in Toronto, I acknowledge that it reflects grief and anger propagated by centuries of systemic and institutionalized racism and oppression.

I empathize with the pain, both acute and accumulated over generations, felt by Black communities right now. At the bottom of this message I am sharing some resources that are providing Black-specific supports, both with the University and off campus, along with upcoming events for those who seek to learn more about anti-Black racism and how to operate in solidarity.

You have heard me say before that discrimination and anti-Black racism has no place in our Faculty. Equity, diversity and inclusivity are core values here in U of T Engineering, and critical to the engineering enterprise. These words are genuine — but they remain words until they are actions.

We can take action as individuals — especially those of us who identify as White, non-Black or non-Indigenous. You also received a message from our Faculty’s Engineering Equity Diversity & Inclusivity Action Group that outlines three specific actions each of us can take right away: attend an upcoming session from U of T’s Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO); join the next Open Conversation event on addressing anti-Black racism & unpacking active allyship on June 18; and following the recommendations of the Black Students Association, advocate for change and help the Black community during this time with actions including signing petitions and making donations.

It is also our responsibility to take action as a Faculty, and the Black Inclusion Steering Committee identified many areas of need in its final report. These are a few examples of concrete changes we are working towards in the short term:

  • Opening more effective channels, through the office of the Assistant Dean & Director, Diversity, Inclusion and Professionalism, to allow the U of T Engineering community to bring forward equity concerns and incidences of racism they experience or witness. Once an incident is disclosed, the Faculty will ensure that next steps are acted upon as guided by institutional polices such as the Code of Student Conduct and the guidelines to raise concerns on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment for students and employees of the University.
  • Collecting more demographic data and race-based data in particular, giving us a benchmark understanding of the composition of the U of T Engineering prospective and current community, and a starting point to identify strategies for improved access and inclusion going forward.
  • Broadly sharing our experiences and strategies University-wide to foster more collaborative efforts that further inclusive policies and processes.
  • Including more Black speakers in existing Faculty and Department speaker series or launch a dedicated Faculty-run series to elevate the voices of Black engineers and academics within engineering and engineering education.
  • Following through with our commitment to deliver an academic enrichment initiative this summer for Black secondary school students, pivoting the Blueprint program to an online and accessible format.

Our work is ongoing to address barriers to access, success and inclusion for current and prospective Black students, staff and faculty. More actions will be need to stop anti-Black racism and to improve Black representation within U of T Engineering. We must continue to act quickly, and persistently — we must continue to hold ourselves accountable.

Chris

Christopher Yip
Dean
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

If you are a Black student, staff or faculty member seeking additional supports, these may be helpful resources:

Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office

Provides support to students, staff and faculty across the three campuses. The Office engages collaboratively with stakeholders on campus to enable the University’s academic mission through the integration of its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusivity.


Race & Healing: Black lives. Black Grief. Black Healing.

Friday, June 5 (10:00am – 12:00pm)
Open to persons who identify as being members of the Black community only 


Connections & Conversations

Last Wednesday of each month, 12:15pm – 1:15pm

Open to U of T staff who identify as being members of racialized communities


National Society of Black Engineers U of T Chapter

A safe space for students


Across Boundaries 
Across Boundaries provides equitable, inclusive and holistic mental health and addiction services for racialized communities within an anti-racism, anti-Black racism and anti-oppression frameworks.


Black Counsellors, Social Workers and Therapists in Ontario listed by Psychology Today


Black Therapists Directory compiled by Therapy For Black Girls — Toronto Grassroots Edition


BlackLine 24/7 Hotline (1 (800) 604-5841)
BlackLine provides a space for peer support and counseling, reporting of mistreatment, and affirming the lived experiences to folxs who are most impacted by systematic oppression with an LGBTQ+ Black Femme Lens.


Black Legal Action Centre
A non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario


Black Lives Matter Toronto Legal Resource List


Caribbean African Canadian Social Services

CAFCAN is a not-for-profit agency whose primary focus is on building and strengthening the service framework for African Canadians through the use of psycho-social Interventional approaches.


TAIBU Community Health Centre

TAIBU Community Health Centre (CHC) is a multidisciplinary, non-for-profit, community led organization established to serve the Black Community across the Greater Toronto Area as its priority population.


The Black Health Alliance

The Black Health Alliance is a community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada.


Women’s Health in Women’ Hands Community Health Centre
Provides primary healthcare to racialized women from the African, Black, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities in Toronto and surrounding municipalities.


Contact 211 for other supports for Black communities


Everyone is welcome at the following upcoming events and to take action:

Let’s Talk Allyship and Solidarity

June 9, 10.00am-11.30am

Open to UofT students, staff, faculty, librarians, chaplains, and community


Talking about Racism at Home

June 11, 10.00am-11.30am

Open to UofT students, staff, faculty, librarians, chaplains, and community 


EEDIAG Open Conversation:  Addressing anti-Black Racism & Unpacking Active Allyship

June 18 12.00pm-2.00pm

Open to UofT Engineering students, staff, faculty, librarians, and community


U of T Black Students’ Association

List of actions you can take

© 2020 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering