Message from the Director General

Dear colleagues,

This Thursday will mark one year since the global pandemic was declared. A few days later, our work life was radically transformed.

Over the past year, I have been impressed by your resourcefulness and dedication despite enormous challenges. Dawson has risen to the occasion and once again proved to be a community of caring individuals who put the interests of students at the heart of its preoccupations.

Almost every activity and service had to be re-thought and often, with very little time. I would need many pages to list the work accomplished by teachers, support staff, professionals and managers.

Here are just a few examples of our accomplishments during the pandemic:

  • quickly transforming in-person learning to an online course delivery mode
  • finding creative ways of transforming hands-on learning into virtual activities and reorganizing internships and clinicals to meet the new constraints
  • creating an innovative online version of Vernissage season for 200 graduating students in six Creative and Applied Arts programs
  • holding in-person exams in the summer without incident and reversing course in December once it was determined that exams would need to be done online
  • developing numerous resources, webinars and training modules to support faculty and students
  • supporting the virtual environment of students and employees with equipment, software and technological help
  • reaching out to the 4,500 new students in the fall and finding ways to support them
  • reaching out to 2,000 students this semester through the Outreach program that involves 105 staff members as well as 4,500 first-year students through our peer mentoring program
  • organizing virtual happenings, such as virtual cafés and cultural events to break the isolation
  • increasing access to mental health services for students
  • judiciously distributing funds to students experiencing financial difficulties during this period
  • graduating 2,600 students
  • successfully processing 11,600 applications while working remotely in 2020
  • adapting Bookstore operations to ensure a safe and efficient process
  • establishing protocols and procedures to ensure the adherence to public health guidelines thus preventing outbreaks thanks to the guidance and work of Facilities Management, the College Nurses and Welcome Teams
  • re-imagining Welcome Week and Open House as virtual events
  • adapting all Human Resources and Finance processes
  • processing payroll as scheduled
  • working in a hybrid model with interdepartmental teams to complete all year-end and audit requirements resulting in receiving an unqualified opinion from the auditor for the College’s 2019-2020 financial statements.

When I think of the last year, the words that come to mind are creativity, generosity and resilience.

The pandemic is not over but there are signs that we are moving toward a more normal life. Vaccination has begun and with it, the hope for better days. Thank you dear colleagues for everything you have done to ensure that Dawson continues to fulfill its mission.

Last Modified: March 9, 2021