Chair of Biology

Prof. Joel LevineJoel Levine

Professor/Chair of Biology








Dear students, faculty and staff:
The well-worn phrase “we live in uncertain times” has never been more distressingly true. Abruptly, mid-March, the university closed its doors and moved classes online, cancelled or moved online all functions and events. All staff who can work from home were asked to do so,  in order to practice social distancing to help protect our friends, family, fellow students, colleagues and ourselves. 
We had to switch all our teaching online over a weekend. Our faculty and technicians were asked to be experts in alternative means of delivery of the curriculum, making innovative use of online technologies and other ingenious strategies to carry on with our teaching and learning activities.
This is a time when we are all trying to do our best in the face of uncertainty so let me express my gratitude to you all: students, faculty, librarians and staff.  All of you have made rapid and significant changes during this challenging time. 
When I look back at the second half of the Winter 2020 term, I am amazed by how well our undergrad and grad students adjusted to the new ways of studying and how well you did on your exams. I congratulate you on a strong finish in the Winter 2020 term. And thank you for the forbearance and adaptability that you are demonstrating.
These unexpected circumstances made us search for novel approaches and opportunities that will bring value going forward in the Summer F 2020 term. As a result of the COVID-19 physical distancing measures and the Province of Ontario’s declaration of a State of Emergency, UTM has decided to offer all first-term Summer courses (those beginning in May) on-line.  
Our goal is to prepare students for the next academic year while acknowledging that it is definitely not business as usual. As of now, our faculty and technicians work restless to move online the labs for the following May-June courses: BIO 152, BIO 202 and BIO 205.
UTM is tentatively planning to offer in-person courses starting in July but, at present, we are unable to confirm whether or not this will be possible.  We will update details about July-August offerings as soon as more information becomes available. We are preparing to deliver the labs on-line if needed.
As we move forward during this difficult time, I urge you to each find your personal supports and activities that allow you to take care of yourself and each other. 
We are moving through an historic event. The pandemic is affecting you along with the rest of the world. There is a great need for biologists working at all levels to study and understand what is going on. I urge you to appreciate the role of biological systems in our world and to embrace our need to adapt. 
Take care and stay well,
Joel Levine,
Professor and Chair
Department of Biology