Dear UTSC students,
Welcome to the new term and to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year! Whether this is your first week at university or whether you are a returning student, we are delighted that you have chosen to be a part of the UTSC community.
Although many of our interactions will be online this year, our commitment to you and to your academic experience is stronger than ever. Faculty and staff have been working throughout the summer with great dedication and creativity to prepare for the fall term and to ensure that your transition to online courses is as smooth as possible.
We recognize that this academic year is unlike any other. Know that we are here to support you and to ensure that your experience this year is both academically and personally rewarding.
Departmental staff and faculty are crucial resources for you. Be sure to take advantage of online office hours, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructor or to your department if you have any questions. If you are experiencing any technical issues during your courses, you should contact the Student Helpdesk at IITS.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning offers a wide range of online academic supports for students, including writing help and English language development, math and stats tutoring, as well as peer tutoring through Facilitated Study Groups (FSGs) and broader learning resources. Find out more at https://uoft.me/AcademicLearningSupport. If you require additional support as a result of a disability, we encourage you to contact AccessAbility Services so that appropriate accommodations can be put in place. Whether you are a new student or preparing to graduate, the Academic Advising and Career Centre is also available to support you virtually.
University can be a stressful time, and we also find ourselves in a moment of significant uncertainty. If you are in need of personal support, the Health and Wellness Centre offers access to online confidential counselling through the MySSP App. Many departments also have embedded counsellors who are available online this year.
Finally, I want to underscore the University of Toronto Scarborough's commitment to equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. These priorities have taken on new urgency over the summer of 2020, and UTSC is engaging in fundamental ways with the challenges to equity that have been illuminated during the pandemic. This letter is arriving in your inboxes during a Canada-wide Scholars Strike (https://scholarstrikecanada.ca/schedule/) taking place on September 9th and 10th, which is providing opportunities both in and out of the classroom for faculty, staff, and students to engage in ongoing dialogue and work to dismantle anti-Black racism and related inequalities. U of T Scarborough will be prioritizing further initiatives in this area in the coming year.
U of T Scarborough is a truly inspiring and exciting place to be. Although our circumstances are different this fall, we hope that your experience this year enables you to forge new paths, build life-long connections with your peers, and engage in transformative learning that will shape your contribution to our world and our historical moment.
We are excited to meet you and to be in dialogue with you, and we wish you all the best for the year ahead.
Professor Katherine R Larson
Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs