Today marks a shift at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Amid the rapid changes of a global pandemic, I start my first term as UTM’s Principal.
I want to thank my colleagues and my predecessor, Professor Ian Orchard, for their exceptional leadership during this important period. For the first time in its history, in early 2020, our campus transitioned in-person classes and activities into online formats. Our faculty, staff, librarians, and students showed remarkable resiliency and determination as they adapted to new teaching, research, learning, and working strategies to successfully complete the winter term.
Now, as our community prepares for a gradual and safe return to campus, physical distancing will remain part of our reality. Our informed, flexible plans for Fall 2020 envision a semester that differs in several ways from past years. What hasn’t changed is our deep commitment to helping you thrive as valued members of our community.
For faculty and staff, we are guided by the province on return-to-work timelines and best practices. Keeping our community safe is our number one priority. We are working diligently to ensure we follow government and public health requirements in our phased approach to return to campus.
For students, we have developed flexible learning opportunities and innovative strategies to foster positive engagement in campus life. The university experience goes well beyond the lecture hall and lab. It also involves participating in clubs and activities, making lifelong friends, accessing supports, and embarking on a personal journey of discovery. If you cannot come to the physical campus, we will bring the campus experience to you.
UTM continues to grow as a hub of research excellence, thanks to the leadership of other recent principals Professors Deep Saini and Ulli Krull. When you arrive on campus, you’ll notice the construction is already underway on the new Science Building, which will house cutting-edge new laboratories – a Centre for Medicinal Chemistry, our Forensic Sciences program, and a high-performance Computing Data Centre. Just as U of T continues to rank among the world’s leading universities, UTM continues to provide a place where you can find your passions and explore ways to make a lasting impact.
It is with great enthusiasm that I join you on this exciting adventure—one that marks a milestone not only in our own lives but for our campus as a whole. I am the first woman to be appointed Principal in UTM’s 55-year history. With my appointment comes an awesome responsibility. UTM’s motto, Tantum nobis creditum (“So much has been entrusted to us”), has never rung truer. I want that “us” to encompass a thoroughly inclusive community as we forge a better, smarter future together.
In the months and years ahead, I look forward to talking with you, learning from you, and working collaboratively to help you realize your amazing potential—to make positive changes in our individual lives, at UTM, and in the world at large.
Professor Alexandra Gillespie
Vice President and Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga