A message from Gervan Fearon as Brock marks one year of COVID response

NOTE: This is one in a series of articles published by The Brock News to mark the one-year anniversary of Brock University suspending in-person, on-campus classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To read all of the articles in the series, click here.

On this important anniversary, I wanted to take time to recognize the outstanding effort made by the Brock community over the past year and to thank each of you for your individual contributions during this period.

It has been an extraordinary year in supporting the University’s mission, the student experience, academic excellence and university-community engagement. It has been a year that saw us work collaboratively to transition from in-class, on-campus activity to primarily an online, off-campus experience in response to public health guidelines oriented at supporting the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.

As a University community, we have worked together and utilized Brock’s strategic priorities as a beacon to meet student needs, support faculty and staff efforts, and contribute to the capacity of the Niagara region to address the many demands caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collectively, we took steps necessary to develop innovative approaches at the outset of the pandemic and made necessary adjustments throughout the year as the public health situation evolved and we gained experience and knowledge. At this time, with the availability of vaccines, we are also provided with a new level of optimism.

To our students, thank you for your resiliency and dedication. You have risen to the challenges of this past year. Additionally, the leadership and generosity shown by Brock’s student leadership — the Brock University Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Association — has been instrumental in the success we have achieved together over the past year. It represents both a basis for inspiration and optimism in the future.

To our staff working both remotely and on-campus, I am awed by and grateful for the courage and determination you have demonstrated in taking the necessary steps to deliver quality education, sustain operations and ensure that the University continued to function in an era of unprecedented challenges.

To our faculty, I would like to compliment you on your response to these unanticipated challenges and how your focused efforts enabled online program delivery and student engagement, as well as research, scholarly and creative activities to flourish. You took up the challenge and rose to the occasion and your students and the communities we serve are grateful for your efforts.

It is also important to acknowledge that everyone has contributed to the continuance of these efforts and the operation of the University while managing a range of activities such as parenting, schooling and caring for relatives and loved ones.

I am proud of how colleagues across the University have responded as a team, enabling Brock to continue its core mission of providing students access to a high-calibre post-secondary education, as well as focusing on contributing to community-based responses to the pandemic.

It is telling how Brock has used this time to advance the University’s capacity and mission. Specifically, in conjunction with BUSU and GSA, we have used this time to complete the expanded Zone Fitness Centre initiative, which now brings more athletics, health and wellness space supporting both physical and mental health outcomes. Further, we are engaged in the completion of a new residence building (Residence 8) and the renovation of DeCew Residence. There’s also the new Canada Games Park being completed in conjunction with the Niagara Region, St. Catharines and Thorold in collaboration with the Niagara Canada Games Host Society. These significant projects will all provide students, faculty and staff with a new campus experience this fall.

It is also important to recognize that universities have played a significant role in the research underlying the development of the vaccines and testing techniques that have brought new possibility and hope in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers here at Brock University are conducting research ultimately improving our knowledge and understanding of the pandemic and its impact society.

I commend everyone in the Brock community for their passion and commitment in support of the University’s academic mission and the services we provide in support of our students and communities. You should be proud of our shared accomplishments and know that your dedication is recognized and appreciated by students and across the Niagara region. All of our lives have been affected in some way by the pandemic, but we have each waded through this period with the support of others, including colleagues at Brock. We each have much to appreciate — much of which includes each other.




Gervan Fearon

President and Vice-Chancellor

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