The following message is from Dr. Jeff Ollerhead, Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research around updates for the Winter 2020 term. It was sent to Mount Allison students via University e-mail on March 28, 2020.
Dear Mount Allison students:
Over the past two weeks, our collective lives have been greatly disrupted. Our whole community, faculty, staff, students, alumni, supporters and their families, have been impacted by COVID-19. Our circumstances are changing by the day and I know that all members of our community are dealing with uncertainty, stress, and anxiety.
As a University, we are making decisions and providing as much information as we can, as quickly as we can. The University web site (https://www.mta.ca/healthalerts/) is being updated almost daily and there are answers to many of your questions in the FAQ section, including a list of ongoing student support services.
Academic policy is developed and passed by our Senate. At yesterday’s (March 27) meeting, Senate approved a number of adjustments for the winter 2020 term. Students now have many options, including an alternate grading model, to assist them in selecting an academic pathway that suits their circumstances.
An initial set of FAQs about the alternate grading option is being prepared over the weekend to answer a number of your immediate questions. There are still other details to determine and communicate, particularly around the processes required to administer the P/CP/F grading option, and we will work through those as quickly as we can in the upcoming week. (March 29 update. The FAQ section has been updated with answers to a range of questions received about the Winter Term grading options (under Academic Information). This will be updated over the course of the week as additional answers become available.)
Know that your faculty and staff members are working overtime to find solutions for you. Those solutions will necessarily be different depending on discipline, course level, course objectives, and other factors. There is no single solution that can be applied. Faculty members are posting (primarily using Moodle) many new materials that they have rapidly created for you. I ask that you be respectful of their academic materials and not re-post, alter, or record them other than for your own learning.
We know that there is variability across the country in how Universities are altering academic policy in these extraordinary times. I receive daily suggestions for how Mount Allison should be approaching academic policy. Many Mount Allison employees, myself included, have a child at a Canadian university right now; we are acutely aware of and sensitive to differences of opinion on how to approach adjusting policy in the face of COVID-19.
Our community is diverse, from first-year to fifth-year students, from fine arts to biochemistry students. Some solutions will work better for some situations and not for others; thus, we are working to provide choice for students and faculty members for this term. Our community, in consultation with the Students’ Union, has decided on options deemed best for our own circumstances; we will support each other and move forward together, to the best of our collective abilities.
In closing, please send all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure a timely response.
Jeff Ollerhead, Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research