Dr. Janet Morrison has worked in the postsecondary sector for more than 30 years and is passionate about student success and community engagement. She has been Sheridan’s President and Vice Chancellor since 2018 and has volunteered on a number of boards including Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
I’m incredibly proud of how we, as a learning community, have responded to a world of unprecedented volatility, uncertainty and complexity. In a time of great disruption, we’ve leveraged resilience and innovation to propel us forward at warp speed.
The pandemic has imposed unimaginable burdens on our frontline health care workers and enormous strain on the physical and mental health of citizens. As we emerge from this crisis, there is a glorious opportunity to fundamentally change our systems. Sheridan’s Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies is prepared to be a trailblazer in the transformation of postsecondary education across a spectrum of health and community services.
There are deep barriers to inclusion and equity that have long impacted health outcomes especially related to chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and mental health. It’s our moral imperative to train the next generation of health care providers to collaborate on patient-focused teams that understand the physical, mental and social determinants of health.
We want to support our health care system by:
Expanding Sheridan’s allied health programming in Brampton for students and for community members with a focus on upstream, preventative health care.
Exploring new ways of providing compassionate health care through technology like virtual visits and virtual reality.
Delivering a leading edge, research-based program for chronic disease management.
The pandemic has spurred the most severe global recession in a nearly a century according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The recovery gives us the opportunity to rethink our economy in a way that is resource efficient and socially inclusive.
The pandemic digital-first experiment has crystalized for many of us the extraordinary value of in-person experiences in education, arts and the workplace. I hope that in 2021 we will be able to fully re-open our campuses including our gallery and theatre to students, employees and community members.
Through our physical campuses, academic programming and commitments to equity, diversity and inclusivity, we are living our values and preparing graduates to contribute at this critical moment in our history.
Advancing the goals of equity, diversity and inclusion is a shared responsibility and we are taking a number of steps towards that goal. In December, we joined the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge which calls on organizations to diversity their boards and senior management positions to achieve gender parity – or 50% representation – and to attain significant representation – 30% – of other underrepresented groups, including racialized persons, people living with disabilities and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Sheridan has reached these targets on both the President and Vice Presidents Committee (PVP), and the Board of Governors.
We’ve all very quickly become accustomed to a digital approach to all aspects of our life, which is an exciting development for an organization like Sheridan where technological innovation is so core to our programs. Our abrupt switch to primarily online education has, for example, opened up enormous opportunities for Sheridan and its learners – both domestic and international.
The pandemic challenged our faculty to rethink how they deliver in-person classes remotely. They built virtual “hands-on” labs using gaming and simulation technology. Our Illustration professors collaborated with the film and television team to record video from multiple angles and stream the videos of subjects on Zoom while students interacted with their professor. Through collaboration, they effectively found a way to teach a 3D subject in a 2D world.
I’m very proud of my colleagues and the precipitous shift they made, always putting learners and learning at the forefront of their planning and delivery.
At the same time, I love that the pandemic digital-first experiment has crystalized for many of us the extraordinary value of in-person experiences in education, arts and the workplace. I hope that in 2021 we will be able to fully re-open our campuses including our gallery and theatre to students, employees and community members.
Janet Morrison, PhD
President and Vice Chancellor