Here’s what you missed at the November Board of Governors meeting

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By Charlize Alcaraz

Ryerson University will continue to run on essential services in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi at the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting on Monday. 

This comes after Toronto was put in lockdown by the provincial government on Nov. 23. As of Dec. 1, there are 727 new cases of the coronavirus in Toronto according to Christine Elliott, Ontario’s minister of health.

Scholarly research, creative activities and essential service employees will be permitted on campus. Meanwhile, fitness facilities and study spaces such as the library, the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) and the Daphne Cockwell Complex (DCC) will remain closed, as previously reported by the Eyeopener. 

Lachemi said that remote work for Ryerson employees who have been working from home has been extended until the end of the winter term. 

He added that the university is continuously “monitoring the situation [as] the current restrictions are for 28 days. [The university] will adjust accordingly and keep the community informed.”

Lachemi also said students, staff and faculty members have brought up questions about mental health and fatigue. 

“The university prioritizes the community’s mental health and wellbeing and we will continue to offer support,” he said.

All staff are encouraged to take a day off between this week and the end of the winter term, which is Dec. 7. Ryerson will also be closed on Feb. 16—the day after Family Day—to give staff and faculty an extra day-off for a four day weekend.

Here’s what else you missed at November’s BoG meeting:  

Enrolment updates

Saeed Zolfaghari, interim provost and vice-president, academic, reported that Ryerson hit and exceeded its target for the number of students enrolled for the fall semester. 

The target applies to the number of domestic and international undergraduate students, as well as graduate students and continuous learners at the Chang School of Continuing Education.

He said he saw international students mostly coming from China, India, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Expansion of Ryerson’s online learning outside of GTA 

Gary Hepburn, dean of the Chang School of Continuing Education, introduced the Ryerson Online Initiative by the Opportunities Working Group. 

The purpose of the initiative is to “develop a strategy to seize opportunities for online education,” according to Hepburn.

He said, “Ryerson is unique in the continuous learning market as it is able to offer its learners a broad choice of career responsive education, flexible delivery of options and high academic quality.”

Currently, about 90 per cent of Ryerson’s online enrollment comes from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The Ryerson Online Initiative aims to expand beyond the GTA market in Canada and gain the ability to reach into international markets. 

“Expanding the reach of Ryerson University to continuous learners across Canada is a real opportunity, one that we are well-positioned to capitalize on,” said Hepburn.

SOTI Aerospace’s new collaboration with Ryerson

SOTI Aerospace, a subdivision of business-mobility company SOTI, launched a $20 million US investment towards Canada’s technology ecosystem to support advanced aerial drone and robotics research.

Lachemi said that SOTI Aerospace is collaborating with Ryerson to aid in the university’s aerial drone technology research. He added that this collaboration will “create new opportunities for [Ryerson] researchers and students and more cutting edge projects, internships and scholarships.”

President and CEO of SOTI Carl Rodrigues started the project in the basement of his Mississauga, Ont. house. SOTI now has approximately 1,000 employees in 25 countries around the world. 

In an interview with IT World Canada, Rodrigues said, “Ryerson University is an ideal collaborator. Together, we aim to nurture talent and entrepreneurship, and ultimately leverage technology for good.” 

“We look forward to working together to develop aerospace innovations that enhance student education while also bringing new technology to market.”

Ryerson launches new game about academic integrity

A team of developers from the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) created a gamified online resource called Academic Integrity in Space where students can learn about Ryerson’s academic integrity policy.

Policy 60 is a document passed by Ryerson’s Senate outlining the protocols for dealing with student academic misconduct, academic penalties and other consequences students might face if they’re found guilty of academic misconduct. 

Academic Integrity in Space takes students into outer space where they can learn more about academic integrity by battling with Captain Plague and their misinformation ray to save the planets Ethica, Original and Independus. 

“The game addresses different topics related to academic integrity including plagiarism, cheating and group work,” according to Zolfaghari. “This game has been played by over 4,500 people so far, and other institutions have expressed interest in using this tool as well.”

The next BoG meeting is set to take place on Jan. 29, 2021. 

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