Memos

Latest memo from the president's office:


Dalhousie Mourns the Saskatchewan Residential School Child Victims


June 24, 2021

Note: Some may find the contents of this message triggering.

Kwe' (Greetings):

The Dalhousie University community extends our deepest sympathy to the survivors, families and Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan who are mourning the discovery of 751 unmarked graves of sacred children at the site of a former residential school in that province.

This is the second such horrific discovery in less than a month with others to follow that will continue to mark one of the darkest chapters in Canada’s history. We are heartbroken at this news and the Dalhousie community offers our unwavering support to the Indigenous communities impacted by this tragedy. We continue to work closely with Dalhousie’s Indigenous Advisory Council on how to better address this issue and make Dalhousie more inclusive in all that we do. To honour the 751 children whose lives were lost at the former Saskatchewan residential school and their families, Dalhousie will lower its flags to half-mast.

We invite you, this evening, to join our Speak Truth to Power Forum: They Found Us and We Are Coming Home to listen and learn from Indigenous panelists on this devastating issue. The event begins at 6 p.m.; full details can be found here.

A National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866 925-4419.

We also encourage anyone affected by this news to reach out to the university for available resources and supports.

  • The Elders in Residence program is available to students across campus, The Elders are committed to being available to students for guidance, counsel and support.
  • The Indigenous Student Centre helps create a sense of belonging to support student success while at Dalhousie. Our Indigenous Student Advisor provides support and advocacy for all of Dalhousie’s Indigenous students.
  • Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services provides confidential advice and support if a member of our community has faced race-based harassment and/or discrimination.
  • Students who require immediate support should contact Student Health and Wellness by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk – free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse – confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO – an online mental health library.
  • Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.

Our sympathy, strength, and spirit are with you.

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

2021 Archives  

Dalhousie condemns anti-Muslim attack in London, ON


June 9, 2021

Dalhousie University strongly condemns the horrific attack against a Muslim family in London, ON.

We express our sympathy to the family and loved ones of those who were lost and to those members of the Muslim community on our campus and around our province who are experiencing feelings of grief and anger as a result of this act of hate and Islamophobia.

Dalhousie denounces all forms of faith-based hate, violence and discrimination. Such horrible acts stand in direct opposition to our core values. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and all those who face discrimination as we work toward embracing diversity and making Dalhousie an inclusive and safe place to study, work and live.

This week’s horrible news comes in the wake of an already incredibly difficult time in our nation. We understand that hearing about and dealing with multiple painful and traumatic events can be hard to bear.

Let us draw strength from each other and collectively work towards greater humanity for all.

For those who would like to attend, there will be an outdoor community vigil this evening at 7 p.m. at the Ummah Mosque, 6225 Chebucto Rd., Halifax. Public health measures will be in place. For more details :https://www.facebook.com/ummahmasjid/posts/5563917680346544

Please remember to offer compassion, understanding, and support to our community members who are hurting.

If you need immediate support, please know there are resources available:

  • Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services provides confidential advice and support if a member of our community has faced race-based harassment and/or discrimination.
  • Students who require immediate support should contact Student Health and Wellness by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk– free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse– confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO– an online mental health library.
  • Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.

Our sympathy, strength, and spirit are with you.

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Thank you to our Dalhousie community


June 7, 2021

June has arrived, and with it a number of things to look forward to. Another group of incredible Dalhousie students will graduate this month. COVID numbers in Nova Scotia are decreasing and vaccines are rolling out in impressive numbers. And planning continues for the return to our campuses by the fall, where we will be able to better collaborate and further engage with one another in person again.

June has normally been recognition season at Dalhousie and while the current public health restrictions mean we can’t do things the way we usually would, as a colleague recently said to me about the challenges presented by COVID-19: “We can’t let the fact that it’s not perfect stop us from doing it at all.”

To express our sincere gratitude for all you have done this year, we will be closing the university on July 2nd to allow an extended long weekend for those who are able to take the extra day. We know that teaching, research and other operational responsibilities mean there are some of you who may not be able to take this particular day. If this describes your situation, please arrange within your faculty or unit lead to take another day off at a time that is more suitable. Researchers will still have lab access and any instructors with tightly structured courses are not obligated to cancel classes. Custodial services will resume on Monday, July 5.

Thank you again for your many contributions; you are what makes Dalhousie University great.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Dalhousie Mourns the BC Residential School Child Victims


May 31, 2021

Note: Some may find the contents of this message triggering.  

Kwe' (Greetings): 

It is with a heavy heart that the Dalhousie University community extends our deepest sympathy to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Residential School survivors, their families and community, all First Nations, and our local elders, chiefs, families and communities. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Dalhousie’s Indigenous faculty, staff and students to collectively mourn the uncovering of the 215 sacred children’s remains and the painful memories that accompany such a horrific discovery.  

The gravity of loss and trauma that the Indigenous communities of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and all of Canada are experiencing weighs heavily on us all. We express our significant shared empathy for the loss of young children who belonged to loving families and cherished communities. We hope that one day we can say their names.  

To honour the 215 children whose lives were lost at the former Kamloops residential school and their families, Dalhousie has lowered its flags to half-mast for 215 hours to recognize each soul lost. 

With this discovery, we rededicate our continued work with our Indigenous scholars, Elders, students and community to educate every generation about Indigenous history and the lingering impact of colonialism, and actively work towards the Truth and Reconciliation educational goals. We appreciate that researching and communicating history from Indigenous perspectives are core to this process and, though often painfully difficult, this is important work. We remain committed to doing more. 

In the coming days and weeks (starting today) we will be meeting with Dalhousie’s Indigenous community to ensure their well-being and to support their experience at Dalhousie. To those members of our Indigenous community at Dal, please take care of yourself and ensure you take the time you need during this difficult period. We call on our non-Indigenous members to also reach out to our Indigenous community and offer your support and compassion. 

A National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866 925-4419. 

We also encourage anyone affected by this news to reach out to the university for available resources and supports. 

  • The Elders in Residence program is available to students across campus, The Elders are committed to being available to students for guidance, counsel and support. 
  • The Indigenous Student Centre helps create a sense of belonging to support student success while at Dalhousie. Our Indigenous Student Advisor provides support and advocacy for all of Dalhousie’s Indigenous students. 
  • Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services provides confidential advice and support if a member of our community has faced race-based harassment and/or discrimination. 
  • Students who require immediate support should contact Student Health and Wellness by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk – free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse – confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO – an online mental health library. 
  • Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.

Our sympathy, strength, and spirit are with you.  

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic  

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion 

Appointment of Provost and Vice-President Academic


May 27, 2021

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Frank Harvey as Dalhousie University’s Provost and Vice-President Academic for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2021.   

Dr. Harvey, Dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has served as Provost and Vice-President Academic in an acting capacity since last May. His appointment follows a rigorous international search, with many impressive and accomplished candidates. The fact that the search committee found its unanimous choice here, within our own Dal community, speaks volumes about Dr. Harvey’s credentials, skills and experience as an academic leader. The Board’s support for Dr. Harvey's appointment was unanimous and enthusiastic and we are honoured to have him continue in such a crucial role in our senior administration team.   

Dr. Harvey has been an accomplished teacher, scholar and administrator during his Dalhousie career that spans nearly 30 years. A professor in the Department of Political Science, he is an internationally recognized expert on security policy who has won numerous teaching awards and has served as University Research Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for the Study of Security and Development and as a Research Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. He has held the Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair at Yale University (2018) and currently holds the Eric Dennis Memorial Chair of Government and Politics at Dalhousie. Appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) in 2016, Dr. Harvey has helped stabilize enrolment, steward new programs and passionately advocate for arts, humanities and social sciences education.   

Taking on the Acting Provost role in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Harvey’s work to ensure academic continuity and support student success through a full year of remote learning has been exemplary. In chairing Dalhousie’s Return to Campus Committee, he has marshalled the energies of a cross-university team to ensure that the resumption in-person operations is done safely and steadily. In reviving our strategic planning process and shepherding our new plan to Board approval, he has showcased his impressive capacity to consider wide-ranging views and forge consensus while maintaining the sense of inspired vision that drives good planning forward.  

The 12-member search committee to select our new Provost included representatives from the Board, Senate, senior administration, faculty, staff and our student community. I’ve asked Board Chair Bob Hanf and Senate Chair Kevin Hewitt to provide their perspectives on Dr. Harvey’s appointment:  

“Frank’s leadership of Dal’s academic community during this extraordinary year has showcased his collaborative spirit, his thoughtfulness and his unwavering commitment to Dal’s students. I congratulate him on his appointment as Provost and look forward to working with him and the rest of the university’s senior leadership team in helping Dalhousie pursue the ambitious goals of our new strategic plan.” – Bob Hanf, Chair, Dalhousie Board of Governors  

“It's been a pleasure working with Frank in my role as Chair of Senate, threading the needle on several important initiatives for the benefit of our community. He's acted with integrity and honesty, and I'm pleased he's taking on the Provost role on a permanent basis.” – Dr. Kevin Hewitt, Chair, Dalhousie Senate   

I have no doubt that news of Dr. Harvey’s appointment will be bittersweet to colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) who have benefitted so greatly from his leadership through his four years as Dean. Our search for a new FASS Dean will begin immediately. Dr. Roberta Barker will be concluding her term as Acting Dean at the end of June, and on behalf of Dalhousie and FASS I want to thank her for her outstanding leadership and very thoughtful stewardship of the Faculty during an incredibly challenging year. Although she must leave the Dean’s Office at this time due to family commitments and responsibilities within her home Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dr. Barker has assured me that she is keen to continue supporting the projects to which she has contributed during her terms as Associate Dean Academic and Acting Dean.   

I am also pleased to share that Dr. Jure Gantar has agreed to follow Dr. Barker as Acting Dean and to continue until such time that a new Dean is appointed. Dr. Gantar, Professor of Theatre Studies in the Fountain School of Performing Arts, has previously served as Acting Dean and brings tremendous experience to the role. His record of service to Dalhousie is exceptional, and we are grateful that he has once again agreed to support our FASS community in this capacity.  

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Harvey on his appointment as Provost and Vice-President Academic and in wishing him success as he leads our collective effort to advance Dal’s vital academic mission.  

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Spring graduation celebrations


May 19, 2021

Graduation is a significant milestone, not only for our students, but for their supporters as well.  

To our newest members of the Dalhousie Class of 2021 graduating this spring, I commend you on your perseverance and accomplishments. Never before has the world been more in need of your ingenuity, passion and purpose. We are all rooting for you.  

To our faculty and staff, many of you have contributed to helping these individuals on their path to this important moment. And although we are unable to celebrate our graduates together in person this spring, I am writing today to share details about how you may participate in our celebrations from wherever you are.  

The Class of 2021 Digital Yearbook launches today and will serve as a space to share in the excitement with our newest graduates. We invite all graduates to share photos and memories of their years at Dal, as well as the ways they will be celebrating their achievements with their families and friends. Supporters, faculty and staff are also able to share congratulatory posts, photos, video and links easily here.  

On Wednesday, June 9 at 2pm (AST), the university will host a University-Wide Convocation Celebration event via YouTube Premiere. This is an opportunity for graduates, their families and friends, and our faculty and staff to come together at one time and celebrate their achievements. Graduates will be receiving an invitation to this event and are welcome to pass the invitation on to their supporters to join in our celebration.  

In addition to celebrating virtually, we are also bringing a bit of Convocation directly to our graduates. The university will be sending each graduate a special Convocation package in the mail shortly that will include their parchment, a Convocation keepsake booklet and a few other surprises.  

Finally, we know that many of our graduates will still want their chance to walk across the Convocation stage in person at some point, and we intend to be in touch with them to ensure all have the opportunity to do so.  

I hope that you will join me in the weeks ahead in wishing our graduates well as they officially join a community of more than 150,000 alumni who are making an impact in their communities, here in Canada and around the world.  

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Community Check-In: Follow-up and Video Link


May 10, 2021

My thanks to the many faculty and staff who were able to join us last Tuesday for our latest Community Check-In. At peak, we had more than 930 attendees. To see such tremendous interest and engagement in our collective work at such a challenging time is heartening, and a true testament to the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff community. Clearly, these are difficult days, but by continuing to be kind and supportive of one another, I have full confidence we will make it through this and continue towards brighter days ahead.   

If you were unable to attend, or if you would like to re-watch some or all of the event, a full recording of the Community Check-In can be viewed here. (Dalhousie login required.)  

In particular, I encourage you to watch the portion of the event that featured Acting Provost Frank Harvey’s presentation on our latest plans for the fall term and phased return to campus. These plans place the health and safety of our university community at the highest priority and are based on a common framework developed in close collaboration with Nova Scotia Public Health and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. They reflect our shared optimism, grounded in the best available guidance, that widespread vaccination should allow us to safely and carefully resume many of our more normal activities as we approach the fall. That said, our plans must also remain nimble and flexible, considering both the needs of our Dal community and the evolving state of COVID-19.  

I also want to thank our Community Check-In attendees for their excellent questions. As is always the case, there are only so many questions we can respond to during the event itself, and some where our answers — based on where plans currently are at this point — may not have had all the detail you were looking for. We will work to answer all your questions in the coming weeks, whether in future communications, our COVID-19 website or through our support of local return-to-campus plans across the university. (Faculty and unit leads will be receiving further instruction on developing return plans shortly.) Please also continue to email any pressing questions to COVID19@dal.ca and we will do our best to respond.  

Let me conclude with two final notes.  

First, know that your concerns about the fall are shared by our entire senior leadership team. The issues you raised — how we’ll keep our students, faculty and staff safe; how we’ll provide sufficient notice about returns; how we’ll support those who require accommodations or those units looking to enact more flexible work arrangements — are the very issues we’re spending most of our time and energy on working through at the moment. I have every confidence that our collaborations with leaders and teams across our institution will result in return-to-campus plans that are safe and supportive of everyone.   

Lastly, let me reiterate what I shared during the Community Check-In about how grateful we are for your efforts in this difficult time — for those of you juggling the challenges of another significant lockdown, including parents and caregivers; for those of you who have been essential workers on campus this entire time; for those who have given so much this past year in service of our students, from virtual classrooms to in-person learning and supports; and for those of you stepping up and getting tested, getting vaccinated and volunteering at local clinics. Your efforts embody the sense of community support that has not only gotten us through this past year but will guide and shape our path out of this pandemic. Thank you. 

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Community Check-In: Follow-up and Video Link


May 10, 2021

My thanks to the many faculty and staff who were able to join us last Tuesday for our latest Community Check-In. At peak, we had more than 930 attendees. To see such tremendous interest and engagement in our collective work at such a challenging time is heartening, and a true testament to the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff community. Clearly, these are difficult days, but by continuing to be kind and supportive of one another, I have full confidence we will make it through this and continue towards brighter days ahead.   

If you were unable to attend, or if you would like to re-watch some or all of the event, a full recording of the Community Check-In can be viewed here. (Dalhousie login required.)  

In particular, I encourage you to watch the portion of the event that featured Acting Provost Frank Harvey’s presentation on our latest plans for the fall term and phased return to campus. These plans place the health and safety of our university community at the highest priority and are based on a common framework developed in close collaboration with Nova Scotia Public Health and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. They reflect our shared optimism, grounded in the best available guidance, that widespread vaccination should allow us to safely and carefully resume many of our more normal activities as we approach the fall. That said, our plans must also remain nimble and flexible, considering both the needs of our Dal community and the evolving state of COVID-19.  

I also want to thank our Community Check-In attendees for their excellent questions. As is always the case, there are only so many questions we can respond to during the event itself, and some where our answers — based on where plans currently are at this point — may not have had all the detail you were looking for. We will work to answer all your questions in the coming weeks, whether in future communications, our COVID-19 website or through our support of local return-to-campus plans across the university. (Faculty and unit leads will be receiving further instruction on developing return plans shortly.) Please also continue to email any pressing questions to COVID19@dal.ca and we will do our best to respond.  

Let me conclude with two final notes.  

First, know that your concerns about the fall are shared by our entire senior leadership team. The issues you raised — how we’ll keep our students, faculty and staff safe; how we’ll provide sufficient notice about returns; how we’ll support those who require accommodations or those units looking to enact more flexible work arrangements — are the very issues we’re spending most of our time and energy on working through at the moment. I have every confidence that our collaborations with leaders and teams across our institution will result in return-to-campus plans that are safe and supportive of everyone.   

Lastly, let me reiterate what I shared during the Community Check-In about how grateful we are for your efforts in this difficult time — for those of you juggling the challenges of another significant lockdown, including parents and caregivers; for those of you who have been essential workers on campus this entire time; for those who have given so much this past year in service of our students, from virtual classrooms to in-person learning and supports; and for those of you stepping up and getting tested, getting vaccinated and volunteering at local clinics. Your efforts embody the sense of community support that has not only gotten us through this past year but will guide and shape our path out of this pandemic. Thank you. 

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)


April 20, 2021

The month of April is used each year as an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. The COVID-19 experience since 2020 has made it increasingly urgent for us to use Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) to highlight this social justice issue and the extent to which it continues to plague society, escalating under the COVID-mandated living restrictions.   

Dalhousie joins with government agencies, businesses, other campuses and community-based organizations in the province, across the country and internationally, and particularly with those who provide services and supports to sexual violence victims, to spotlight SAAM. We believe that sexual harassment, assault, and sexual-related violence are public health, human rights and social justice issues and strongly condemn these horrid acts.     

Dalhousie remains committed to providing efforts for prevention and the creation of a safe and healthy environment for learning and working at the university. We recognize that we must be proactive, as sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, whether it be work spaces, classrooms, social media platforms, or elsewhere.   

Specific to our students, Dalhousie’s SAAM focus this year is on building safe online spaces. As such, Human Rights & Equity Services (HRES) is providing knowledge-sharing and awareness-based programming through social media. Follow us on Instagram @DalHRES for information, tips, and resources related to sexualized violence, bystander intervention, and engaging in safer online spaces. (Facebook: fb.com/DalHRES Twitter: Twitter.com/DalHRES).   

Dalhousie University is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for everyone that is free of discrimination, harassment and all forms of violence.

We want you to know you are not alone during this challenging time. Please reach out if you need support.

Provincial mental health crisis line

1-888-429-8167

Student supports

Students who require immediate support should contact Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Services by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). DSU’s Survivor Support Centre offers a sexual assault & harassment phone line; call or text 902-425-1066 between 12pm-12am daily.   

Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk – free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse – confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO – an online mental health library.

Faculty/staff supports

Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. In addition, Morneau Shepell has opened its 24/7 bilingual crisis support line to help anyone in need of emotional support. The toll-free number is 1-844-751-2133.   

Employees are also reminded that our Blue Cross medical coverage for mental health benefits was increased to $1500 effective April 1, 2020. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic (Acting)

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Madeleine Stinson
President, Dalhousie Student Union 

Nova Scotia Strong - One Year On


April 16, 2021

It is difficult to believe almost one year has passed since our province was forever changed by the tragic events of April 18-19, 2020. For many in our community, time has seemed to stand still. 

In the coming days, our thoughts will be with the loved ones, friends, and colleagues of the 22 Nova Scotians who lost their lives. We are also acutely aware that many of our friends and colleagues on Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus in Truro have a personal connection to the loss felt by the entire province.  

A province-wide moment of silence will be observed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, to coincide with the start of the Nova Scotia Remembers Memorial Ceremony, which will be streamed online and by media. 

We join Premier Iain Rankin in encouraging all Nova Scotians to pause at 3 p.m. Sunday for two minutes, to remember and honour those most impacted by the tragic events of April 2020. 

From Saturday evening until Tuesday morning, April 20, flags on all our campuses will be at half-mast. We will also light the Cumming Hall building in Truro and the Henry Hicks building in Halifax blue, in remembrance of those lost.   

Those who wish to watch the service of remembrance may do so via the Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society Facebook page. The service of remembrance will also be livestreamed by news media.  

Later this spring, a memorial fountain will be erected in the John Higgins Memorial Garden on the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro — a peaceful spot for community members to take a moment of quiet reflection. 

As we make our way through the next week and beyond, please remember we are better together, stronger together, and we are Nova Scotia Strong.

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

David Gray
Dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Principal, Agricultural Campus  

Dalhousie’s plan for returning to campus in the fall


April 13, 2021

As we near the end of a challenging academic year, we have reason to be hopeful.

The latest vaccine timelines for Nova Scotia have partial vaccination available to everyone 16 years of age and older by the end of June, with full vaccination available by the end of September. Thanks to the amazing work of vaccine researchers, Public Health leaders and front-line care providers, and aided by our collective efforts to keep one another safe, our path out of this pandemic and towards resuming a more normal, post-COVID version of university operations is clearer than ever before. We are looking forward to having you join us on our campuses this fall.

Although the spread of COVID-19 variants remains a concern even during these initial stages of vaccine rollout, Nova Scotia continues to be one of the safest places in North America throughout this pandemic. It’s important we keep it that way. Dalhousie is currently collaborating with Nova Scotia Public Health, the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and our peer universities and colleges on a common safety framework that will apply across the province’s postsecondary institutions. Our goal is to safely open our campuses to students, faculty and staff this fall.

We recognize that our plans may need to adapt and evolve but we remain optimistic that students, staff and faculty will be able to safely return to campus for the fall. While there are many details still to be worked out, here is some important information we wanted to share with everyone in the Dal community regarding our plans for returning to campus in the fall:

Revised safety plans will now allow us to hold almost all of our classes in person this fall, including our larger classes. The academic timetable may look a little different to accomplish this safely — more varied class spaces and course time slots are a possibility, for example — but we know how important it is to our learners and teachers alike to be able to return to the classroom this fall. This planning will continue to be driven by significant consultations between Deans, Associate Deans Academic, Chairs, Directors, faculty members and Senate committees, coordinated, in part, through the Return to Campus committee and Human Resources. The full academic timetable will be available to students in late May ahead of course registration in June. For students who have further questions about how specific courses will operate in their respective programs, Faculties will be in a position to provide more information after the release of the timetable.

We plan to welcome international students to our campuses, and those who have not been vaccinated prior to arriving in Canada will be able to be vaccinated here in Nova Scotia. Our International Centre will continue to support international students in making their way through the immigration process, appreciating the unique challenges many are facing at this time.

Residences and dining halls will be open at a much greater capacity than they were this year. We hope to provide more details to students who have applied to residence for the upcoming year by May 1.

Student services and student life will return to on-campus activity to a much greater extent, including on-campus events, food services, libraries, study spaces and fitness facilities.

Faculty and staff will be returning to our campuses, with a phased return set to begin in June and continue into September. Leaders will be asked to prepare return-to-campus plans for their Faculties, departments, units and labs, incorporating new university guidelines on flexible work that reflect the important lessons we've learned from the pandemic regarding new ways of working. Plans will be developed in consultation with faculty and staff, with support from Human Resources, and should maximize both service excellence and employee experience through the safe, steady growth of on-campus activities through the summer months and into the fall.

A substantial Return to Research will begin in June with increased density in existing labs and in adherence to Public Safety precautions. We aim to return our research community to campus by September.

All of this will be accomplished safely, in full alignment with Public Health requirements and Dalhousie’s health and safety protocols, which we will be sharing soon. Among the measures you can likely expect in the fall are: physical distancing at a significantly reduced level compared to current requirements; masks continuing in many settings until such time that Public Health relaxes this restriction; guidelines for entering and exiting buildings and classrooms to minimize risks; conducting self-assessments for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to campus; contact tracing measures; review and consideration of campus ventilation systems and space requirements; frequent hand washing and continued regular cleaning of campus spaces.

We know these plans will prompt more questions than we can answer in this memo, but rest assured we will continue to communicate frequently and share more details as soon as we are able. We will also continue to work closely with Nova Scotia Public Health and other provincial colleagues to ensure our plans align with the latest, best public health guidance. Finally, while this approach to the fall will be very welcome news to many in our community, there will be others who have concerns. We are here to listen, to help, and to provide whatever support and guidance is possible. We have gotten through this pandemic by looking out for one another, and we will only get out of it by continuing to do the same.

I want to once again thank everyone for their exceptional efforts during this challenging time. I continue to be inspired by what our community has accomplished, pulling together and pushing forward even though the weight of this heavy, difficult year can be hard to carry at times. I expect we will continue to feel some of that weight even as more of our community returns to campus. As we begin to bring our incredible Dal community back together again, I hope we don’t just pick up where we left off — but that we take what we’ve learned about ourselves and each other this year and build an even stronger Dal community for the future.

Please keep checking your email or visit dal.ca/coronavirus for the latest information, and I look forward to welcoming our community back to campus this September.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

In Memoriam — Donald Sobey, C.M.


March 25, 2021

With great sorrow on behalf of Dalhousie, I am extending condolences to family and friends of Dr. Donald Sobey (LLD’89). Donald was an influential business leader, a celebrated philanthropist and an unwavering supporter of Dalhousie for more than three decades. He died on March 24 at age 86. Campus flags are lowered in respect.

The legacy Donald leaves at Dalhousie will have a profound impact on our campus, research, faculties and students for years — even generations — to come.

Donald was from Stellarton, N.S. He cared deeply for his community and it may have been his small-town roots that kept him modest and people-centred in the world of corporate titans.

He graduated from Queen’s University in 1957 and his belief in the transformational power of education never wavered. Donald created scholarships at multiple post-secondary institutions, hoping some would reach young people who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to continue their education.

One of four children of Sobeys founder Frank H. Sobey, Donald was president of Empire Company Ltd., the parent company for Sobeys, from 1969 until he was appointed chair in 1985. During that time, he played a key role in expanding the regional supermarket into a national chain. He became chair emeritus in 2004. His corporate and charitable board roles included serving as chairman of the National Gallery of Canada and Maritime Tel & Tel, and director of the World Wildlife Fund.  

At Dalhousie, Donald served on the Board of Governors from 1997–2001, chaired the Campaign for Dalhousie in the 1980s and was honorary chair from 2009–2012 of the Bold Ambitions Campaign Leadership Council (Atlantic Region). His exceptional generosity to Dalhousie included supporting the Campaign for Dalhousie (1980s), the Computer Science Building Fund (1990s), the Dalhousie Art Gallery, and the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation’s Irene MacDonald Sobey Endowed Chair in Curative Approaches to Alzheimer’s Disease.   

In 2011, the Sobey Fund for Oceans at Dalhousie — a partnership between the Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation, Dalhousie’s Marine Affairs Program and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada — began developing a conservation legacy for oceans, specifically by funding scholarships and work placements. Recently, Donald contributed funds essential to creation of the Restorative Lab in the Faculty of Law.   

A passionate collector and promoter of Canadian art alongside his son, Rob Sobey, Donald chaired the Sobey Art Foundation. In 2002, this foundation created the Sobey Art Award, considered to be one of Canada’s most prestigious award for artists.

He received many awards in his lifetime. Donald became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2013 for his philanthropy and entrepreneurism. He also received the Queen’s Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame with his brother, David Sobey, in 2007. Donald and David received the Retail Council of Canada’s Canadian Grocery Industry Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award (2019) on behalf of their family.

Called wise, kind, funny and a wonderful friend by those at Dalhousie who knew him personally, Donald gave generously of his time, energy and resources. He leaves behind his wife, Beth, three children and five grandchildren. We will be forever grateful for his vision and commitment to making Dalhousie a better university and Canada a better country.  

Due to Covid-19, private services are by invitation only. A celebration of life will follow in the future.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Statement on anti-Asian discrimination


March 19, 2021


Recent incidents and attacks on the Asian community across North America, based on negative stereotypes and unfounded beliefs, are of grave concern. Unfortunately these acts of racism are not new, and they have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, sparking rising expressions of xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment around the country and the world.

Dalhousie’s core values and policy on personal harassment and statement on discrimination condemns racism and expressions of hate, bias and discrimination in all forms. We recognize how recent attacks on Asians and Asian Canadians as well as the more recent tragic, unwarranted, and violent killings of six Asian women in Atlanta, USA, have deeply affected members of our Dalhousie community. We condemn these abhorrent acts in the strongest terms.

Dalhousie continues to be committed to fostering a safe and welcoming community, and we are proud of and celebrate our many Asian and Asian Canadian students, faculty and staff for their inspired contributions to our university. We are consistently working to bring more awareness to issues of racism, and on ways to support our diverse, and especially, underrepresented community members.

We encourage anyone affected by these recent events to reach out to the university for available resources and supports.
 
For support, please reach out to our colleagues in Human Rights and Equity Services for support at 902-494-6672 and Dal.ca/HRES. Students may also find support through Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Centre, committed to providing quality primary and mental health care services. Appointments may be booked online or by calling 902-494-2171.

For Faculty and Staff, Employee and Family Assistance is also available for confidential support at 1-800-387-4765 or http://workhealthlife.com.
 
Dalhousie Security is responsible for the safety and security of the Dal community and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The DalSAFE mobile app also connects the university community directly to HRES and other resources to support you.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

March 8, 2021

International Women’s Day has been observed for more than a century since it began in 1911. The day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally, and it is a call to action for gender parity.

Dalhousie would like to join with institutions, governments, corporations, grassroots organizations and the media in Canada and around the world to celebrate women’s achievements, while acknowledging the challenges that women still face, both in our community and globally.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge” – a call to action for all of us to recognize and oppose inequality and gender bias.

It has been close to a year since Dalhousie, along with the rest of Canada and the world, was forced to move the majority of our operations to a virtual space in response to COVID-19. Consistently, evidence has shown that the pandemic has resulted in particularly difficult circumstances for women as mothers, teachers, front-line workers, health professionals, and more. On a global scale, it has increased the burden on women as caregivers, while simultaneously aggravating gender-based violence.

Despite these significant challenges and atrocities, we draw strength and inspiration from the famous words of Maya Angelou: “Still [We] Rise.”

It is more important than ever to honour women’s immense sacrifices, successes and contributions. Today and every day, please join us as we strive for a more equitable world for women everywhere.   

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Reappointment of Dr. Frank Harvey as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


February 19, 2021

I am very pleased to announce the reappointment of Dr. Frank Harvey for a second five-year term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.   

As you are all aware, Dr. Harvey has been serving as Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic since June of last year and I am very grateful for his contributions to the university. I also want to express my gratitude to Dr. Roberta Barker who has provided exceptional leadership as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and led many important initiatives across the Faculty in a very challenging context.   

Dr. Frank Harvey’s first term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was notably marked by the completion of a successful strategic planning process and the launch of the Faculty’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025. This planning process and many of his priorities over the course of his first term were guided by the recommendations from the 2017 Senate Review of the Faculty. Dr. Harvey has served as a tireless and enthusiastic advocate for his Faculty, exercising creativity and commitment in his work to address faculty renewal and to grow both full-time and part-time student enrolment. Dr. Harvey has also demonstrated a genuine commitment to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in his work to recruit and retain under-represented faculty members and his commitment to community outreach. He has supported the development of new programs and courses within the Faculty including the recently launched Certificate in Indigenous Studies and overseen the creation of expanded experiential learning opportunities for students. Over the course of his decanal review process, stakeholders noted Dr. Harvey’s strategic, pragmatic, engaging and respectful leadership style and widely praised his ability to work in a spirit of collaboration towards positive solutions, whether with individual faculty members or as a trusted colleague at the senior leadership table.  

In a second term, Dr. Harvey has identified plans and priorities in line with the recently completed 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. These plans include a continued focus on faculty renewal; attention to the mentorship of new faculty; measures to further increase the diversity of the faculty cohort; and a student recruitment and retention strategy designed to build upon the successes over his first term. Dr. Harvey also plans to lead the formal launch of two new mandatory first-year courses for all incoming undergraduate students to the Faculty and to continue to explore ways to transition the minor programs in Indigenous Studies and Black and African Diaspora Studies into major programs. The conclusion of the renovation of the Fountain School of Performing Arts will also be an exciting milestone during the course of his second term.  

Please join me in warmly congratulating Dr. Harvey on his reappointment as Dean.  

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Nominate your star students for an IMPACT Award


February 16, 2021

In early April, the Dalhousie community will celebrate some of our outstanding students at the 10th annual (and first online) IMPACT Awards.  

The IMPACT Awards recognize students and student societies from across the university for their exceptional extracurricular contributions, not only to Dalhousie, but to local, provincial, national, and global communities. In order to properly recognize our stars, we need to hear from you.  

If you have worked with a student, or students, whose contributions deserve to be recognized—particularly during the challenges posed by this year—I encourage you to nominate them for an IMPACT Award before the Feb. 28 deadline.  

Information about all of the awards, along with nomination forms, can be found at dal.ca/impact.  

Please help us celebrate our impressive students and share their inspiring stories. 

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

In memoriam and condolences to our Medicine community


February 13, 2021

The Dal community, particularly our colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine, is mourning the loss of Ryan Clow, director of MedIT Enterprise Systems, who passed away suddenly last weekend.   

Ryan’s work touched so many elements within Medicine: teaching, research, operations and more. Part of the MedIT team since 2014, Ryan was an admired, thoughtful and beloved friend and colleague whose loss will be felt by many across our campus communities for a long time to come.   

Please make time in your thoughts for Ryan’s family and friends, our faculty, staff and students in the Faculty of Medicine, as well as all who knew him. Dalhousie shares our condolences. Campus flags have been lowered to half-mast in Ryan’s memory.   

Please reach out if you need help during what is surely a challenging time. Supports are available through our Employee and Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com, or through the enhanced mental health benefit from Blue Cross, or contact Accessible Employment at accessible.employment@dal.ca for additional support or resources.  

Below, we are sending along the fitting tribute to Ryan from Dean of Medicine David Anderson, which has also been shared with entire Medicine community.   

===  

It is with great sadness that the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine shares news that our colleague, Mr. Ryan Clow, passed away suddenly on February 5th, 2021.    

Ryan was a well-known, well-liked, and highly respected member of the Dalhousie community. Born and raised on Prince Edward Island, Ryan received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of PEI in 2000 and went on to complete his MBA from Saint Mary’s University in 2009. Ryan began his career at Dalhousie University as a Project Manager and Business Analyst with Information Technology Services (ITS) in 2012 before becoming the Manager of Distributed Education Technologies (MedIT) at the medical school in 2014. Not long after, Ryan joined the leadership team as the Director of MedIT Enterprise Systems and Projects, a position he held for the past four years.   

In addition to being an outstanding colleague, Ryan was a loving husband to Julie and a great father to his two young children. I have fond memories of seeing Ryan playing tennis with his young sons and observing their mutual joy of enjoying each successful shot. Ryan touched so many lives at Dalhousie and through his many friends and acquaintances. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing him.  

Ryan was admired by many colleagues-turned-friends at Dalhousie and we will remember him for his calm, dedicated leadership, and friendly, always-helpful approach. Details concerning the medical school’s celebration of Ryan’s life will be arranged by the Faculty of Medicine and shared at a later date. Those who wish to can share memories and messages to the family through an online book of condolences. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been organized by Ryan’s friends in support of the Clow family.  

On behalf of the Dalhousie community, we offer our sincere condolences to Ryan’s family and friends.   

== 

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic (Acting)

African Heritage Month at Dalhousie


January 29, 2021

African Heritage Month begins on Monday, and we encourage everyone to use this month to further engage in events, programming and learning opportunities on campus and in our broader community.

In particular, we invite you to join us at Dalhousie’s virtual African Heritage Month launch event and flag-raising on Monday, Feb. 1 from 12-1 p.m. The event will be streamed on Dalhousie’s YouTube channel.  

This year, in the face of many challenges, including those posed by the current pandemic, we celebrate the health, vibrancy, and legacies of People of African Descent. Through this year’s theme, Black Health Matters: Listen, Learn, Share, and Act, we are urged to not only recognize barriers but to actively work to remove them.  

In this International Decade for People of African Descent, Dalhousie’s commitment to supporting all People of African Descent in our community continues, informed by the recommendations from many reports, including the Breaking Barriers report, the preliminary African Nova Scotian Strategy report and the Lord Dalhousie scholarly panel’s report.

Last year, as part of our continued commitment to the African Nova Scotian community, we hired Dalhousie’s first director of African Nova Scotian community engagement, Jalana Lewis. Also, Dalhousie joined with other universities and colleges across Canada for a National Dialogue and Action Symposium for Inclusive Education and Communities with a focus on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusiveness. And we are currently working to establish a Black Studies major and a Black Studies Research Institute.

African Heritage Month is an opportunity for reflection, action and celebration. We hope you can join us for the flag raising ceremony on Monday. For an overview of Dalhousie and community events happening during African Heritage Month, visit the Human Rights & Equity Services website.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Dalhousie condemns intrusion, abhorrent comments in online meeting


January 21, 2021

Dalhousie University is deeply disturbed to learn that Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, the James R. Johnson Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, and event participants were subject to anti-Black racist comments and other slurs during an online event Wednesday evening.

The statements made during the online session were abhorrent, unwelcome and fundamentally against Dalhousie’s values. We value our diverse community. These actions are reprehensible and Dalhousie University unequivocally condemns these cowardly acts of anti-Black racism.

Equally concerning is that the session was a “Chair Chat,” one of a series hosted by Dr. Dryden to provide safe space for Black students in Medicine, Health and Graduate Studies. It is deeply troubling that what was supposed to be a safe space for our employees and our students was violated by anti-Black racism and other unacceptable comments.

The Dalhousie community stands with Dr. Dryden, the students and all those affected by this incident and condemns all forms of racism and discrimination in the strongest terms. We will continue to focus on strengthening our resilience, resistance and efforts moving forward.

In recent months, remote environments have demonstrated challenges in ensuring safe spaces for everyone. Our Information Technology Services staff and Dalhousie Security Services are currently looking into the comments that were made to see if the individuals involved are identifiable. We continue to work to ensure that we provide inclusive, safe spaces to the best of our abilities.

We encourage anyone affected by these events to reach out to the university for available resources and supports.

For faculty, staff and students, we encourage those who need it to reach out to our colleagues in Human Rights and Equity Services for support at 902-494-6672 and Dal.ca/HRES. Students may also find support through Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Centre, committed to providing quality primary and mental health care services. Appointments may be booked online or by calling 902-494-2171. Employee and Family Assistance is also available for confidential support at 1-800-387-4765 or http://workhealthlife.com

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion