Welcome to the Office of the Provost

Colleagues,

These are unprecedented times and I know the University is asking a lot of you as instructors to make the shift to distance teaching in a very short amount of time. I’m grateful for your extraordinary efforts to complete the winter term in such difficult circumstances.

We are all challenged by the need to imagine new ways to deliver the spring term at a distance. Making sure that we deliver learning outcomes that students can be proud of is the University’s number one priority as we move ahead.

Students who you help successfully complete the spring term remotely will have learned critical elements that will allow them to continue their academic progress. They will also possess the key skills and knowledge expected of their disciplines.

As instructors, we need to stay committed to engaging our students in their academic pursuits. This includes being available, virtually, to conduct instructional activities – holding office hours, responding to student inquiries, guiding the completion of course assignments – to support students as they navigate the term.

I want you to know that you are not alone in trying to understand the ways you can meet these challenges. Colleagues with deep experience are sharing information with you and are ready to support you throughout these times. You should expect emails in the next day covering:

  • pragmatic guidance and top tips on distance education from David Devidi, associate vice-president, academic and Jeff Casello, associate vice-president, graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs, and
  • guidance on how to accommodate students with disabilities when offering online courses and facilitating remote graduate milestones from the Accessibility Office.

This is an opportunity for all of us at Waterloo to show our students and the rest of Canada what we know to be true of our institution: that we are innovators, disruptors and pragmatic thinkers.

No other institution is lucky to have the amazing people we have. I am confident that together, we can emerge from this disruption stronger and with students who are positioned to take on a world that none of us can predict.

With sincere thanks for all that you have, are and will do,

James W.E. Rush
Vice-President Academic & Provost