Dean's Messages

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

Reading Week ahead, update on Summer & Fall plans

February 9, 2021

To our U of T Engineering community

It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through our Winter 2021 term, but Reading Week is upon us. I wanted to check in with everyone, and share some updates on our ongoing planning.

Reading Week

Reading Week is coming up for all undergraduate students next week — February 15-19, inclusive — that means no lectures, tutorials or labs, and I encourage all our instructors to avoid scheduling tests and major assignment deadlines for the first few days after Reading Week as well! I hope students and faculty alike will take a breather during the week, get some rest, and reset for the second half of the term. Reading Week is a great chance to reconnect and focus on the big picture perspective. You’ve got this.

Resources & supports

None of us gets anywhere alone — that goes for students, staff, TAs and professors alike. Asking for help is a sign of self-awareness and it shows strength. Remember that even while we’re working and studying remotely, there are still a wide range of resources and supports available and accessible to you. In this note I’ve included a list of contacts to keep handy, for yourself, a friend or a colleague.

Summer 2021 session & planning for Fall term

We continue to follow the latest public health information and governmental guidelines to inform our scenario planning for the terms ahead. First, a big thank you to the many faculty, instructors, TAs and staff who have worked so diligently and tirelessly on planning and delivery over the past few terms, and those to come.

All U of T Engineering courses for the Summer 2021 session will be delivered remotely, and our remote access guarantee remains in place. 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.

Looking ahead to the Fall 2021 term, our top priority is always the health and safety of our whole community. We are planning for different scenarios, and tracking the information from our public health agencies. While it’s much too early to predict what the Fall will bring, we are preparing several alternative plans, and will offer in-person experiences wherever and whenever it is safe to do so. We’ll update you again as those plans develop.

We continue to keep our Undergraduate FAQ and Graduate Studies FAQ updated — please check these regularly, as well as the University’s main UTogether FAQ, for the latest info.

It’s been terrific chatting with so many of you – undergraduate, graduate, staff and faculty – during the semester— I’m impressed and inspired by the energy, innovation, and indeed excitement you are bringing to all of your activities. The Skule™ spirit is indeed strong. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now, so let’s keep taking care of ourselves and each other as best we can, and moving forward one day at a time.

Chris

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


Support Resources for Students

Academic Concerns & Advising 

You may have concerns about upcoming academic work that you may feel unprepared for or are unable to complete at this time. There is a petition process that can help mitigate the impact via extensions or exceptions to deadlines. You can read more about this process at https://undergrad.engineering.utoronto.ca/petitions/term-work-petitions/, and reach out to your Academic Advisors (through the advising portal or by email) & your Graduate Administrators (by email).

Mental Health Resources for Students 

Each of us responds to stress, grief and loss differently — at one time or another, we all need help. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure where to turn, please reach out.

U of T My Student Support Program (MySSP)

      • Immediate and/or ongoing confidential, 24-hour counselling support
      • 1-844-451-9700 (outside of North America, call 001-416-380-6578)
      • Download the My SSP app: Apple App Store | Google Play.

Multifaith Chaplains

U of T St. George Health & Wellness

  • Physical & mental health care including counselling & grief support.
  • 416-978-8030

Good2Talk

  • Confidential support services for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
  • 1-866-925-5454 (Ontario), 1-833-292-3698 (Nova Scotia)
  • Text GOOD2TALKON to 686868

U of T Engineering Mental Health & Wellness

  • Mental Health learning opportunities, COVID-related resources, reports, services & supports for U of T Engineering.

NAVI (Your Mental Health Wayfinder)

  • A virtual tool designed to help you navigate U of T’s mental health resources and connect you to the support you need.

Student Mental Health Resource

  • U of T’s mental health resource hub containing the tools, strategies and experts to meet you exactly where you are on your mental health journey.

 

Support Resources for Staff and Faculty

All U of T staff and faculty members have access to the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). If you are experiencing distress, please reach out at any time – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – by contacting the EFAP at:

University operations under new restrictions to limit spread of COVID-19

November 22, 2020

To our U of T Engineering community

On Friday, the province of Ontario announced that Toronto and Peel Region would be in the Grey Zone (Lockdown) effective 12:01am on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. The Provost sent a memo on what this means for the University, and I want to outline how it will affect us here in U of T Engineering.

Under these new measures effective Monday, Nov. 23, 2020:

Facilities

  • Library service continues with pick-up services, and access to IT services for those who need it.
  • All indoor and outdoor sport and recreation facilities, including pools and arenas, will be closed. Virtual programming will continue.
  • Residences will continue to operate with safety precautions in place.
  • Food service is pick-up only.
  • University buildings will only be accessible to members of the University community and essential visitors.
  • Masks remain mandatory in all common-use areas, and visitors to campus must complete a self-assessment using the online UCheck tool or paper-based equivalent.

Courses

  • Our remote access guarantee remains in place for all students, in both undergraduate and graduate courses. Courses will continue to be executed through remote delivery.
  • Only essential on-campus work required to deliver virtual instruction and programming will continue.

Research

  • For on-campus lab research: all researchers may continue with their approved on-campus research plans as long as they continue to follow the public health measures already in place and the processes currently in effect, such as scheduling of time and people in the lab.
  • As before, if researchers can work remotely they should continue to do so, only coming to the campus as necessary. Anyone coming to campus must complete a COVID-19 Self-Assessment via the University’s UCheck tool.
  • For in-person human participant research: all research involving face-to-face in-person interaction between researchers and research participants must stop effective 12:01 am Monday and until further notice. COVID-19 research that has been approved by the Research Ethics Board may continue. A further message concerning human participant research will be posted on the VPRI Ethics webpage.

We will continue to update our Undergraduate FAQ and Graduate Student FAQ, and the U of T Engineering Hub for staff and faculty with the latest information.

Chris

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

Changes to the start of Winter Term classes

November 20, 2020

To our U of T Engineering community

As President Gertler shared in his latest message, to give everyone a bit more of a rest, the University is delaying the start of Winter Term classes by one week. The University will close on Dec. 23, 2020 and reopen on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, as planned. Residences, essential services and supports will be available as of Jan. 4, and research labs will be running. Most classes will begin a week later than originally planned, on Jan. 11, 2021.

 For our U of T Engineering students, this means:

 Undergraduate students

  • The first day of classes for undergraduate courses will be Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.
  • Reading Week will still be five days as planned, from Feb. 15-19, 2021 inclusive.
  • The last day of undergraduate classes will now be Friday, April 16, 2021.
  • Monday, April 19, 2021 will be a Winter Term Study Day.
  • Our final summative assessment period will begin on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, and will include the weekends as needed. The last day of the final summative assessment period will be April 30, 2021.
  • Other key administrative deadlines and sessional dates will be extended by five days in accordance with the shift. The academic calendar is being updated now to reflect these changes.
  • The registration period for PEY Co-op and ESIP will also be extended, running from Jan. 6-20, 2021.

We’ve managed to make this adjustment without reducing any instructional days — so students will still be able to move through the course material as originally planned. Please keep checking our U of T Engineering Undergraduate FAQs for the latest updates.

 Graduate students

  • Research labs will also be running as of Jan. 4, 2021.
  • Research-stream graduate students should speak to their supervisors for the plans in their individual groups.
  • The first day of classes for graduate-level engineering courses will be Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.
  • Key sessional dates for the School of Graduate Studies will remain unchanged.

 Likewise, graduate students can refer to our Graduate Student FAQs for details and updates.

Managers across the Faculty will also be receiving a message about operations during the week of Jan. 4, 2021 and wellness days for staff members.

As President Gertler notes, this change recognizes the tremendous amount of stress that we have all been facing for many months during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective here is to take a longer period away from screens, assignments and deadlines, and spend that time restoring ourselves — whether for you that means time with your family, getting outdoors every day, trying a new video game, or catching up on your sleep.

I hope we will all return to the Winter Term feeling balanced and energized.

Chris

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

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