- 1 UP
Home > News > Algoma U Advances Institutional Priorities While Navigating Challenges of the Global Pandemic

Algoma U Advances Institutional Priorities While Navigating Challenges of the Global Pandemic

Board of Governors Approve Sault Ste. Marie Campus Master Plan

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – September 24, 2020): This evening, Algoma University’s Board of Governors convened virtually for their first regular meeting of the Fall 2020 term. Updates on 2020-2021 institutional priorities, preliminary enrolment reporting and a presentation of the final “Algoma University 2020 Campus Master Plan – Shingwauk Site, Sault Ste. Marie” were highlights of the September meeting. The Board was also informed of ongoing efforts to address challenges brought on by the current global pandemic, including planning for Winter 2021.  

“Although the impacts of COVID-19 have extended to all aspects of our operations, Algoma University continues to navigate this unprecedented time by remaining focused on the longer-term vision and strategic priorities established by our Board and Academic Senate,” stated Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Our top priority continues to be ensuring institutional sustainability through the implementation of an enrolment growth strategy focused on recruitment, retention, and vibrant programming.” 

The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in rapid adjustments to enrolment strategies to address changes in student demand and government policy. Total enrolment for the 2020-21 academic year is anticipated to be approximately 27 percent lower than the pre-pandemic projection. The majority of the loss can be attributed to a shortfall in international enrolment and is a result of the uncertainty surrounding international travel and border restrictions. The loss in annual revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to be $8.5M. The uncertainty is anticipated to remain in the Winter 2021 term and beyond.      

The University shared with Board members that all Brampton and Timmins instruction will remain in remote delivery for the winter term. The majority of courses in Sault Ste Marie will also continue to be delivered remotely; with some limited in-person and/or hybrid instruction being introduced as part of the phased return to campus strategy. The University will continue to do its utmost to ensure that its academic programs will be of the highest quality, regardless of the delivery format. Faculty have been provided with extensive training and mentoring sessions from experts in the online sector and participation has been significant.  

Further updates shared as part of the President’s Report to the Board included updates on:

  • developments in Brampton, which is currently undergoing a $3M phase of renovation made possible through the generous support of the City of Brampton that will support enrolment growth and program development at the GTA based campus to 1000 FTE;
  • renewed partnerships between Algoma U and Northern College that will see expanded Computer Science and Business Administration options available to students in Timmins, an underserved region of the province;
  • ongoing commitment to strengthening the national leadership Algoma U has established within the university sector in relation to truth, reconciliation and healing;
  • efforts to enhance capacity in research and innovation for faculty and students. 

Finally, following over a year of extensive consultations with internal and external stakeholder groups, the final “Algoma University 2020 Campus Master Plan – Shingwauk Site, Sault Ste. Marie” was shared with the Board. Led by David Ellis Architects, a local Sault Ste. Marie firm, along with the Toronto-based IBI Group, a global architecture, engineering, planning, and technology firm, the Campus Master Plan is a “living document” intended to support Algoma’s development at the Shingwauk Site over the next ten years, resulting in a more vibrant, connected and resilient campus. 

President Vezina shared “that the master plan is bold, innovative and inclusive; it guides and offers insight into where we are going and what we want to become. I want to take this opportunity to thank the many, many voices from the community who put spirit, mind and body into this consultation. Together we have created something exceptional and when completed, there will be nothing quite like it in the world.”    

“The Board of Governors is pleased with the considerable progress being made at Algoma University despite the tumultuous period currently challenging the world; a situation that will no doubt have far-reaching impacts on the post-secondary sector. Although numerous short-term and long-term challenges remain, ongoing work to advance the strategic priorities and the implementation of the Campus Master Plan continues and will support targeted growth and development and the expanding social and economic impact of the University on the community for years to come,” noted Shelley Schell, newly elected Board Chair.

The Board of Governors’ next regular meeting will take place on Thursday, November 19th, 2020.

Share Article