Message from the Dean

The Werklund School responds during COVID-19

Adapting and moving forward

Dear Werklund School community,

It would be an understatement to say the last several weeks have been a whirlwind, for university leadership and our academic and administrative units who continue to strive to meet the needs of students, faculty and the communities we serve.

We are facing circumstances previously unknown and I am honoured to share how our faculty has risen to the challenge. We have taken swift actions in this period, responding to the needs of our community, fulfilling our teaching mission, and sharing our knowledge and research, which continues to have an impact on so many lives. Our education and psychology support staff, researchers and sessional instructors have come forth with innovative thinking and practice and a commitment to our students, which has moved me deeply and made me extraordinarily grateful and proud to be dean of the Werklund School.

Instructors in both graduate and undergraduate programs, in collaboration with our Office of Teaching and Learning, moved quickly to transition courses online and our program teams continue to reimagine how we will provide robust learning during the summer session, introducing new and engaging ways for us to connect with our students - together but safely apart. Advisors in our graduate program are providing support and leadership to other faculties, helping prepare them to launch online graduate examinations. Our field experience instructors were able to transform a course in a matter of days and have developed an online field experience course that is already receiving rave reviews from participants for the manner in which it is preparing them for online learning in the classroom.

Werklund School researchers are participating in UCalgary webinars and podcasts as well as offering advice and support to parents and educators who face new challenges in homeschooling and online teaching respectively. Our graduate students have launched educational initiatives over social media, with hashtags such as #NeedaTeacherAskaTeacher.

Our undergraduates, too, are contributing to the collective community spirit through a volunteer initiative providing virtual tutoring to children struggling with their studies.

The Werklund School’s experience in providing online programming, coupled with the creativity and resourcefulness of our faculty and students, is paving a way forward that will continue to highlight education as a key force in our community, whatever tomorrow brings.

While many of us miss the camaraderie and support of our networks, please know that my thoughts are with you and your families, and that you remain an integral part of the Werklund School community. Please stay in touch with us by participating in upcoming virtual gatherings, watching our COVID-19 support webinars and podcasts or sharing with us any questions you may have about the Werklund School.

These are difficult days, but let’s remember and value our collective strength, creativity and resilience, and remain connected as part of our commitment towards Education.

 

Dr. Dianne Gereluk
Dean, Werklund School of Education