Eduvation Blog

Awkward & Sugarsweet

Good morning, and TGIF!

Today is apparently World Sleep Day, Red Nose Day, Biodiesel Day, Forgive Mom & Dad Day, and National Awkward Moments Day (which could sum it up nicely, if you try to celebrate too many of those at once).

In honour of Sleep Day, I did not stay up ‘til all hours last night, so this will be a streamlined issue. (And at time of writing, I still don’t know whether OPSEU and the CEC managed some miraculous feat at the bargaining table yesterday, or – as seems much more likely – Ontario’s college faculty have walked out on strike this morning.)

In honour of Awkward Moments, though, I have a couple of mea culpas to share from yesterday’s issue.

But first, since it’s Friday, let’s wind up the week with some promising signs that campus life is getting back to “normal”…

Convocations are Back, Baby!

It feels like a lifetime ago, but way back on Feb 28, as I described the “Pandemic Twilight,” I mentioned that readers were asking me about CdnPSE plans for spring convocations. The trend toward post-Omicron optimism continues, and a clear consensus is developing…

Still TBD

Many CdnPSEs haven’t yet made announcements, or have announced that announcements are still to come…

uCalgary has posted the dates for its spring convocation ceremonies (May 30 – Jun 3), but all details so far seem to be about the Nov 2021 ceremonies.  uCalgary

UBC says that “planning is underway” and that an announcement about convocation format will be made in mid-March, for ceremonies to be held May 25-Jun 2 (Vancouver) and Jun 9-10 (Okanagan). Planning is also underway for in-person celebrations for 2020 and 2021 grads, “tentatively” in Sept 2022.  UBC

Contingent Certainty

As the Omicron wave becomes a distant memory and warmer weather beckons, naturally institutions are feeling pretty confident about holding in-person ceremonies – outdoors if necessary – this spring. That being said, all tend to mention the possibility of changes to plan should PHO restrictions change…

Carleton U senate voted last November to hold in-person convocations Jun 13-17 (for the classes of 2020 and 2021) and Jun 20-24 (for winter and spring 2022 grads). They are, naturally, “subject to public health guidelines.” The Charlatan  Carleton

uAlberta announced last week that it will host in-person convocation ceremonies for the first time in 2 years, Jun 5-16. “The decision to hold in-person ceremonies was made based on the vast majority of COVID19 restrictions being lifted under step two of the government of Alberta’s three-step plan.”  The Gateway

“After two years of delivering a virtual convocation, I am thrilled to announce that our Spring 2022 graduates will be gathering in-person once again to mark the capstone to their university journey.” Peggy Garritty, chancellor, uAlberta


Fanshawe College says it is planning an in-person convocation this June, with a “contingency plan in place.”  London Free Press

Keyano College plans 2 in-person convocation ceremonies on May 13, which will also be livestreamed.  Keyano

Lethbridge College seems to be planning an in-person convocation May 27, although details remain TBD. Vaccinations and masks are recommended or strongly encouraged, but not required.  LC

uLethbridge spring convocation is scheduled for Jun 2-3, although the deadline to apply to graduate has been “extended until further notice” due to the faculty strike still ongoing.  uLeth

Royal Roads U plans to host convocation on-campus Jun 8-10 in its new Dogwood Auditorium, “pending provincial health orders.” Gathering restrictions are expected to remain in effect, and the ceremonies will be broadcast live to “overflow seating” elsewhere on campus. All ceremonies will also be livestreamed.  RRU

St Thomas U has “tentatively scheduled” convocation for July 8, and Black students will be able to wear striped kente stoles of multicolour cloth.   CBC

uToronto is planning 32 in-person ceremonies at Convocation Hall Jun 2-24 for the class of 2022, “subject to changes in public health guidance.” The 41,000 graduates of 2020 and 2021, who had virtual convocation ceremonies previously, will be celebrated at in-person events “at a later date” organized by UofT’s individual academic divisions.  UofT News

“We are eagerly looking forward to celebrating our graduating students this spring with the return of in-person ceremonies in Convocation Hall… I hope it also marks the beginning of a new era as we emerge from the COVID19 pandemic.”Meric Gertler, president, uToronto

Trent U is planning for in-person convocation ceremonies Jun 2 (Durham) and Jun 6-10 (Peterborough) for the class of 2022. Dates are still TBD for ceremonies for the grads of 2020 and 2021.  Trent

Western U is planning for on-campus convocation ceremonies Jun 13-24, “subject to health and safety guidelines.” Vaccination requirements and exemption policies will still be in effect.  Western

Celebrations Postponed

While some CdnPSEs have invited pandemic grads to join in the Class of 2022’s convocation ceremony, the majority I’ve seen are planning separate ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021…

Camosun College is planning in-person convocation ceremonies Jun 14-17, to include the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. Venues are currently limited to 50% capacity due to the pandemic, so grads are limited to 2 guests each.  Camosun

College of New Caledonia plans to celebrate grad of 2020, 2021 and 2022 at a series of convocation ceremonies Jun 2 (in Quesnel) and Jun 4 (at 5 other campuses).  CNC

uGuelph says it is “closely monitoring” the pandemic, and “if in-person ceremonies are possible” they will occur the weeks of Jun 13 (class of 2022) and Jun 20 (classes of 2020 and 2021). Exact schedules will be set in April. Guelph is planning for “an enhanced graduation experience… for all graduates who have not yet had the opportunity to cross the stage.”  Guelph

McGill U is planning in-person spring convocation ceremonies May 26 – Jun 3, “barring any unforeseen changes to the public health landscape.” Most will be held in the “Convocation Tent” on the downtown campus. COVID19 protocols are still being confirmed. The classes of 2020 and 2021 have the opportunity to attend special “Postponed Celebrations” Jun 6-14.  McGill

McMaster U has announced in-person convocation ceremonies May 25 – Jun 17 at First Ontario Concert Hall, “subject to evolving guidance and mandates.” The classes of 2020 and 2021 are invited to an in-person “Legacy Celebration” event the week of May 23.  McMaster

Mount Allison U is planning an in-person convocation weekend May 13-16, for the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. Ceremonies will be livestreamed on YouTube.  MtA

Queen’s U is planning in-person convocations Jun 20-24 for the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. Ceremonies will be held at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston, not Grant Hall, to accommodate larger groups than normal.  Queen’s U

Simon Fraser U is “currently planning” to hold convocation ceremonies in-person outdoors in June, and broadcast live. The 13,000+ grads of 2020 and 2021 will be invited back for in-person ceremonies May 4-6. “As is necessary during these unpredictable times, we must acknowledge that proceeding with these events in-person will remain dependent on public health regulations.” (Should PHO restrictions change, outdoor ceremonies will move to virtual ones.)  SFU

“As is necessary during these unpredictable times, we must acknowledge that proceeding with these events in-person will remain dependent on public health regulations.”Simon Fraser U, convocation FAQs

uWaterloo is planning 4 in-person ceremonies Jun 11 (for the class of 2020), Jun 12 (class of 2021), and Jun 14-18 (class of 2022). Students can bring no more than 2 guests, and ceremonies will be livestreamed for a wider audience. (If PHO restrictions change, the convocations will go virtual.)  Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Wilfrid Laurier U is planning in-person ceremonies Apr 20 (at Brantford) and Apr 27-29 (at Waterloo), for the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021. The class of 2022 will celebrate in-person Jun 3 (Brantford) and Jun 13-17 (Waterloo). (If PHO restrictions change, the convocations will go virtual.)  Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Hopefully that satisfies everybody’s curiosity – it has certainly sated MINE!

FWIW, this week I booked my first in-person conference keynote in more than 2 years, for the end of May. It’s in Ontario, where I can drive myself – I’m not looking forward to airports and security lines anytime soon – but it’s a sign that the long pandemic winter may just be over, when THIS covid groundhog finally ventures out of his online burrow!

Mea Culpa x2

Thanks as always to my eagle-eyed readers for keeping me on my toes! Yesterday’s issue on Labour Strife & Leprechauns may have seemed overlong – but that also meant it was a long day and well into the night as I was finishing up. As a result, a couple of things slipped past me…

NOT to Minimize Real War

Loyal readers already know that since Mar 3, I have focused exclusively on Putin’s unjust invasion of Ukraine, devoting 7 issues so far to the tragedy and destruction on the ground, global outrage, repercussions in space and cyberspace, efforts to assist refugee scholars and students, and PSE’s efforts to pressure Russia through academic sanctions. (You will find my Ukraine coverage here. Rest assured, I have a lot more to say about the war’s geopolitical and economic repercussions, and how that will affect higher ed’s world for years to come.) I’ve been immersed in the 24/7 media coverage of the warzone in Ukraine for weeks now, and am intensely aware of the sacrifices and suffering of millions of Ukrainians there and around the world. (It’s probably also fair to say that I’m viewing the whole world through a Ukraine lens right now.)

Many of the stories and quotes I shared yesterday used military terminology to describe union tactics, front-line picketers, administration “ultimatums,” “weaponizing” student fears, misinformation campaigns, and more. (uLethbridge’s Dan O’Donnell even talked about what he called management’s “burn it down in order to save it approach.”) I quite carefully pointed out in my opening paragraphs that faculty strikes and student street parties are obviously “much less deadly ‘battle lines’” than the actual war zone in Ukraine. Still, as I quoted union leaders eager to “meet at the table and settle,” and criticizing those who pretend to negotiate in bad faith, I was continually thinking of Ukrainian negotiators engaging with Russian counterparts in yet another round of “peace” talks, while their cities continued to endure relentless missile and bomb attacks. (Perhaps I also felt a bit guilty, turning away from Putin’s horrific war to focus on CdnPSE content. But that iswhat readers expect from me, right?)

Personally, I am quite moved by student complaints about lives disrupted and accommodations lost due to faculty strikes. But while I can’t resist a good metaphor, of course I never intended to minimize the suffering of Ukrainians and the anguish of Ukrainian-Canadians over the actual war occurring in Europe. I sincerely apologize to anyone who felt I was making light of one of the most horrific military actions this century.

Ontario College Enrolment

In my final synopsis yesterday, I lamented the “200,000 students” at Ontario colleges who will be “collateral damage” (yes, I said that too) in what looked like an inevitable faculty strike. I repeated that number from a news article without much thought, but as one of you pointed out, it’s an understatement. In Dec 2021, Ontario’s Auditor-General reported 348,350 students in Ontario public colleges as of Fall 2020. Perhaps the news source was working from more recent numbers, omitting international students (about 104,937), or citing FTEs (apparently 211,505 as of Mar 2019). Whatever the explanation, a faculty strike would impact the studies, graduations, summer employment, rental accommodations and more for all students enrolled, whether part-time, full-time, domestic or international. So, I really should have said “almost 350,000.”

Mea culpa, I should know better.



And speaking of getting back together on campus…

The Start of Something Big

Loyalist College released an upbeat :45-sec music video earlier this month, to celebrate the resumption of in-person learning. Set to the music of Zach Sorgen’s “Sugarsweet,” the video tries to capture the sweet emotion of returning to campus, with plenty of welcoming signs and rainbow crosswalks. The message is very simple: the college is small, but #TheStartOfSomethingBig.  YouTube




As always, thanks for reading!

Have a great weekend, and whatever you do, don’t miss the UN’s “International Day of Happiness” on Sunday!


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