What to expect for the fall term

- President Jamie Cassels

Dear students,

I know many of you are wondering what the fall term will look like as we prepare to offer the majority of our courses and programs online. I’m writing to provide you with some more information around academic programming and the supports that will be available to you as online learners and members of our university community.

For the health and safety of our community, nearly all undergraduate courses will be offered online, with a small number of exceptions made for courses where hands-on learning cannot be effectively replicated in an online environment. To support the gradual resumption of research activities, some graduate courses will also be offered in person where hands-on learning and research is essential to achieving core learning objectives. Academic departments and schools are working diligently to determine the specific courses to be offered online or in person, which will be published in the final timetable on June 8.

One benefit of making this decision early is that it gives faculty, staff and students several months to prepare for a virtual fall 2020. Building on their experience as innovators in education, faculty and instructors are already beginning to design their courses for online delivery, creating interactive environments that use tools and software specific to online teaching and learning.

Since we were required to move swiftly from in-person instruction mid-March, significant investments are being made in new technologies and licensing, training, implementation and the hiring of additional teaching assistants to provide more individualized support for you.

To support your online learning, we recently launched the Learn Anywhere website, which includes learning strategies and academic and personal supports. New information will be added often. Also, the UVic libraries will be available to ensure that all the materials you need for your work are available to you either online or through other means that comply with health and safety requirements.

Our courses, programs and academic and personal supports will help ensure you have options to stay on track in your academic endeavours, meet the educational objectives of your program, graduate on time, and achieve your career goals.

We know that attending university is about more than just academic pursuits so we are developing virtual communities for students to engage with one another. For our new students, peer mentorship programs will connect you with upper-year students in your faculty who will help you navigate all of the academic and personal supports that UVic has to offer.

This includes our new 24x7, 365 day/year virtual student mental health support program set to launch in August. We are also expanding our bursary and scholarship program to support students financially. No matter where you’re located this fall, you are part of the UVic community, and we want you to feel welcomed and supported to achieve your full potential.

While we’re not yet sure how many in-person courses and programs we will be able to safely offer in January 2021, we are eager to welcome everyone back to campus as soon as public health officials tell us that it’s safe to do so. We will keep you updated on our website and through email as we know more.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and enjoyable summer.


Jamie Cassels, QC
President and Vice-Chancellor