June 29-July 3
June 29-July 3
Update: June 29, 2020, 3:48 PM
Monday Message from Craig Stephenson, President and CEO
“For me it feels like we are all being called to be the best and highest version of ourselves for the sake of humanity. I can see it in our students, my colleagues and the world in general.”
– Team Member, Story Arts Centre
Over the past four months we have witnessed teams across the College doing so much for the institution, our students and our local communities, rising to be “the best and highest version” of themselves. Thanks to your tremendous efforts, students have been able to continue their learning journey with us online and receive crucial supports and new opportunities along the way.
We have seen this, for example, with the Centres for Organizational Learning and Teaching, Academic Quality, Global Citizenship, Equity and Inclusion, and Part Time and Online Learning, as well as Information Technology Services, Human Resources, and the Libraries and Learning Centres. During the President’s Listening Tour, all of these areas have been highly praised for providing outstanding support for faculty and staff.
Our Facilities and Services teams in conjunction with Scheduling have reorganized our campus spaces to ensure a safe return to our campuses and throughout this time, Life, Safety and Security have ensured faculty, staff and contractors entering our properties have done so safely and in compliance with all guidelines. Our properties are also being meticulously serviced (including campus mail services), maintained and cleaned, thanks to the dedication of our own teams and also our contractors and the front line workers underpinning those contract services.
Throughout COVID-19, the Student Life, Athletic & Recreation, Divisional Events and Experiences Offices, the Place of Reconciliation for all our Peoples, the Centre for Accessible Learning and Counselling Services (partnering with GCEI), Canadian Campus Communities (Residence Life Team), the Pathway and Success Advisors and Career Services and Co-operative Education, have all rethought their services to support our students’ well-being, success, graduation and employment.
Financial Aid and the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, IT and ES Systems, the CCSAI, and Student Success teams have raised and distributed significant funds to help students in need.
We have observed the Schools, supported by their dedicated administration, faculty and staff, mobilize to swiftly pivot and effectively transition to online learning and teaching at a distance. The Schools and the domestic and international recruitment, partnerships and pathways, marketing, admissions, records, and client service and outreach teams have secured new and returning students against all odds.
Our Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Strategic Initiatives and External Relations teams have reinvented themselves to meet critical community, regional research and industry needs. Through their efforts, Centennial is making important contributions to the larger fight against COVID-19 by supporting frontline health care workers, promoting food security in local neighbourhoods, and participating in economic recovery initiatives.
We have seen a host of services behind the scenes, be it Corporate Planning, Project Management, IT, Payroll, Institutional Research, Finance, HR Consultancy, Marketing and Communications or the President’s Office, realign their operations to support: informed decision making and planning; online delivery; regular and fulsome communications; continuity of Board meetings; remote working, health and wellness and new employment supports, to name but a few examples.
I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished together over the past few months. Thank you to each and every one of you for rising to the occasion and for putting our students first.
This week, with special thanks to the Divisional Events Team (Student Success) we are holding our first virtual Convocation at Centennial. While ideally, we would have liked to have shaken hands, personally congratulated our students and taken the odd selfie (or two!), our Virtual Convocation Ceremony has still meant we have been able to affirm and celebrate a graduate’s rite of passage, marking the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. This for me, makes Convocation even all the more meaningful and memorable this year. I hope that’s the case also for our students, their families and all of you who have enabled and supported our graduates’ journey. Please do take a moment to honour the Class of 2020 by visiting www.centennialcollege.ca/convocation and view the formal Convocation and congratulation videos and the personalized, graduate slides, organized by academic school and program.
Despite the odds, the challenges, and moments of self-doubt they may have experienced, the graduates of 2020 have demonstrated remarkable resilience, drive and passion in the pursuit of their academic and career goals. In my video address, I applaud our graduates for their hard work and determination, and urge them, in the wake of COVID-19, to mobilize the skills they have learned – be it the art of collaboration, the ability to think and act creatively or the compassion and insights gleaned from social justice and equity classes - and join the new generation of graduates charged with working through issues presented by COVID-19. I urged them to view those issues, not as a series of challenges, but rather a succession of opportunities where they can serve as agents for change and play their vital part in building a more all-embracing, egalitarian, democratic and compassionate world.
Celebrating Convocation with our graduates and their families is a profound honour and an important reminder of the sacred trust and indelible impact we have on our students, their families, and the communities we serve. I encourage you all to join in the celebration by using #CentennialGrad on your social media posts, (these will appear on the live social media wall on the Virtual Convocation page), search for our custom Instagram grad stickers in Instagram Stories by searching ‘Centennial grad’, get in the spirit by using one of our fun, custom zoom backgrounds and don’t forget to check out our Convocation 2020 Grad Spotify Playlist.
I also encourage you, wherever feasible to do so, to take time for some well-earned respite. I will be doing the same, so my messaging will become a little more sporadic for a time, but in the interim, I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and restful summer and glorious Canada Day Celebrations!
With heartfelt gratitude and best wishes
Dr. Craig Stephenson
President and CEO, Centennial College