2020-21 Decanal Memoranda

Updates from the School of Graduate Studies

Date: October 15, 2020
To: Graduate Chairs, Coordinators, & Administrators

Dear Graduate Chairs, Graduate Coordinators and Administrators,

I hope this finds you well. After a long six months, we are still adapting to the uncertain times ahead. Below is a collection of updates for your graduate units.

Graduate student-facing communications

These SGS communications channels are designed to reach graduate students directly. I’d greatly appreciate your support reminding your students and staff about them.

  1. The SGS Website: The SGS website is the most up-to-date source for graduate student information. www.sgs.utoronto.ca
  2. Emails via Graduate Administrators: We regularly email graduate administrators important information to share directly with students.
  3. Looking Ahead: We have updated our SGS Looking Ahead page with FAQs related to COVID-19, research recovery and adaptation, research re-engagement, and other essential information for the 2020-21 academic year. Please share widely: www.sgs.utoronto.ca/lookingahead
  4. SGS GradHub: The SGS GradHub is the evolution of the Essential Guide for Graduate Students. The hub will be continually updated with student stories, resources, and up-to-date information to assist students as they navigate graduate studies at the University of Toronto. It is designed for all graduate students, from arrival to convocation. Please share widely: www.sgs.utoronto.ca/gradhub
  5. Gradschool e-news: Issued monthly to U of T’s 20,000+ graduate students via email, the Gradschool e-news includes important dates and deadlines, funding opportunities and announcements, social connections, events, and more. Please encourage your students to read and reference this monthly resource, which is also available online: https://enews.sgs.utoronto.ca/
  6. Dean’s Messages: Here is the archive of student-facing memos I have issued by email with important information regarding COVID-19: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/lookingahead/deans-messages/

NEW: Best Practices for Supervisors & Instructors of Graduate Students with Family Responsibilities

You may have graduate students with family responsibilities in your unit, and unless they self-identify, you may not be aware of the demands on their time outside of being a graduate student. Developed by the Family Care Office and in collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies, please share this new resource with your faculty and staff: https://facultyandstaff.sgs.utoronto.ca/family-care.

NEW: Data dashboard launch

Our new SGS data dashboards provide our community with data on the full doctoral student lifecycle – from admissions and enrolment, to funding, degree completion, and career outcomes – to help students make more informed decisions. I invite you to explore the dashboards and learn more about our commitment to data transparency: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/explore-our-data/.

COMING SOON: Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students

As of October 20, 2020, international students meeting specific conditions will be able to come to Canada regardless of the date of issue of their study permit, approval letter, or the country from which they are travelling. For more information, please consult the Vice-Provost, Students COVID-19 site, Question #3 in the Entry to Canada & Pre-Arrival for International Students: https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/#International

REMINDER: How to register with a tuition fee exemption (due to impact of COVID-19)

If a student’s academic progress through their program has been significantly impeded due to COVID-19 related disruptions, they will be permitted to register with a tuition fee exemption for up to one academic session. Click here for more information and criteria for receiving a tuition fee exemption: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/admissions/graduate-fees/#section_13.

A reminder to graduate units: one of the criteria for research-stream students to receive a tuition fee exemption is that the student will be outside the funded cohort and will receive little or no other funding towards tuition charged in the session for which they are applying for an exemption. For students in coursework-only programs, completion of outstanding academic activities will require additional time beyond the program length of their degree program.

REMINDER: Supervisor/mentor engagement with students is more important than ever

Graduate students need their supervisors/mentors to be engaged as they navigate their programs in these difficult times. This is important for students whose work has been impacted by COVID-19, but it is also important for new students, some of whom may be feeling a bit alone and adrift. Please encourage graduate faculty in your unit to take the initiative and connect with their students directly (and safely, of course), as this can make a world of difference.  

Thank you for your continued cooperation and collaboration to ensure a smooth 2020-21 academic year for our student community.