When YSGS closed its campus office on March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no one knew what lay ahead.
What we did know was that nearly 3,000 graduate students were counting on us. Working swiftly and collaboratively, we completely switched administrative and learning systems without interruption. Online institutions take years to develop – we pivoted from a physical university to a virtual one in two weeks.
As our faculty and staff have embraced new ways of teaching and connecting, so too have our graduate students met these trying, unprecedented circumstances with resilience, ingenuity and perseverance. In order to continue her research on the impact of microplastics, for example, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc student Rachel McNamee set up a makeshift lab at home – and successfully defended her thesis virtually last August.
Similarly, YSGS shifted its student engagement offerings online to maintain a sense of community while we are physically apart. We launched new virtual opportunities such as GRAD Skills, the GRAD Breather mindfulness series and GRADFlix, a digital narrative competition in lieu of the postponed 3MT® competition. Since September, more than 1,000 grad students have participated in online workshops and webinars. And as you will see in this Year in Review, our GRAD Contests continued to provide a forum for creative expression and student voices.
Looking back, I am extremely proud of how we have collectively risen to the challenges of our new reality. Innovation, responding to societal need and visionary leadership are not only part of Ryerson’s history, they are certain to be in our future together.
Dr. Cory Searcy
Vice-Provost and Dean