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Wednesday Update from President Loreman, May 20, 2020.

Posted on: May 20, 2020

Dear CUE Community,

Every week things seem more hopeful, and I am pleased that Alberta and the rest of Canada is looking at opening up in measured and sensible ways. In the coming weeks and months we will have the opportunity to get out more, and see each other with greater regularity. I urge everyone to continue to observe the guidance of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, which is a requirement at CUE. We can see our friends and loved ones while at the same time taking actions that help to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Support Bursary

I am happy to announce that the COVID-19 Support Bursary online application has been launched.  Open to all domestic and international students, preference will be given to students who have experienced job loss related to the pandemic, and also to students who are not eligible for Government of Canada supports. Undergraduate students are eligible for bursaries of $500, and graduate students are eligible for $750. Applications will be ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Financial need.
  • Students who have experienced job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Students who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
  • Students who are in need of basic necessities.
  • For graduate students, preference will also be given to those who have not received GSA financial need awards in the previous term.

This fund has been provided as a result of a partnership between Concordia, the CSA, and the GSA. The application deadline is June 8. Students with questions can call +1 780 479 9220 or email finaid@concordia.ab.ca.

Media around the Fall reopening of CUE

CUE attracted some noteworthy media coverage last week regarding our plans for Fall reopening, featuring in both Global News and the Edmonton Journal. While the plans I discussed are scheduled to receive final approval later this week, in broad terms it is clear that anything other than a mostly online semester combined with a limited number of on-campus courses is not viable. It is CUE’s worst kept open secret, and deliberately so. Assuming that two meters of physical distancing remains a requirement, along with a predicted resurgence of COVID-19 in the Fall, we are making responsible decisions for CUE. These decisions value the health and safety of our community, while at the same time allowing all students the opportunity to continue to engage in high-quality education, albeit in a different format than usual.

On Monday, May 25, following formal approval of our Fall plans, you can expect a broad media statement from me, along with a link to a more detailed document. I suspect this will suffice to answer most questions, but if not, please direct any questions to the relevant CUE office.

The financial impact of COVID-19.

As is the case with other universities, COVID-19 has had an impact on our finances at CUE. Our Finance Department has calculated this cost, projecting that by the end of August the impact of COVID-19 for budget year 2020-21 will be approximately $500,000. This number may well increase through the Fall semester. This calculation takes into account lost revenues, along with additional expenses in many areas required to enable us to operate under this new paradigm. Our administration has been monitoring our finances closely, taking necessary steps, and making budget adjustments to ensure that we remain sustainable while continuing to deliver high quality education and services. These include cutting budget lines that we likely will not need, such as travel, and freezing hiring in some areas (although most faculty hires are still moving forward to address growing enrolment). We know how to manage our money at CUE. I mention this because there are some in our community who are still under the wrong impression that CUE has somehow saved money as a result of COVID-19. This is demonstrably not the case, and neither is it the case at universities across Canada as reported in the Globe and Mail on May 3. For additional information, my statement on tuition and fees at CUE during COVID-19 can be found here.

Dr. van Ingen wins major award.

I would like to recognize CUE’s Vice-President of Student Life and Learning, Dr. Barbara van Ingen, who this Friday will receive the prestigious Community Inclusion Award from Inclusion Alberta. This is in recognition of her long-term dedicated work in the area of facilitating the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in study and employment. Congratulations, Barb.

Stay safe, stay home, stay healthy.

Tim Loreman, PhD.
President and Vice Chancellor.