Message from the Principal, October 2020

Stephen Andrews 2020 1

Dear Wycliffe College Community,

As we approach the middle of the Fall term, I want to give an update on how things are going at the College and on what we can expect for the next term.

Let me begin by remarking on what an extraordinary beginning it has been to the academic year. We have all had to reframe our understanding of how to foster learning and build community in the context of our isolation. I realise that for staff, faculty, and students, this has presented formidable challenges. The new classroom-in-the-home environment is not always the most conducive to teaching or learning, and the initial experience of studying theology while in exile has, for some, been daunting.

This past September we welcomed one of the largest incoming classes in recent history, which is a great blessing but also a great challenge. While many of us feel as though we have been going flat out since the Spring and we are weary, there is something that is energising and life-giving in thinking and praying and learning together about God. I want to say how inspired I am by your hard work, dedication, and resilience. We are adapting. And I believe we are beginning to discover how to pace ourselves.

Which is good. Because we are not yet in a place where we can relax restrictions designed to protect one another.

This week, we have made the decision that as in the Fall term, all classes offered in the  Winter term semester will be accessible remotely. We are heeding the directives of the Province of Ontario and following the practice of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science, as well as those of the other colleges of the Toronto School of Theology.

We will continue to:

  • provide access to classes and extra-curricular responsibilities that allow students to make progress with their programs of study and to engage with their fellow student and college communities in this exceptional time of pandemic and its aftermath.
  • work with students, including those who anticipate health care-based internships, to fulfill curricular requirements in appropriate ways.
  • work with new international and out-of-province students who have met admission requirements but do not have a visa and/or study permit in hand, or who cannot travel to Toronto to begin classes through remote access.
  • work with our librarians to make research access available. (Read the latest information from the University of Toronto Libraries here. And find Wycliffe’s Guide to Accessing Electronic Resources here.)
  • assist students enrolled in programs not registered with the University of Toronto in accessing suitable library resources (please contact Professor Tom Power)
  • embrace the Wycliffe College Community in our prayers, available daily and streamed to the diaspora through our Chapel link.

At Wycliffe College, we have a strong track record of providing caring, quality distance education, and we are confident that we have the means to continue to do so going forward. In addition, we are committed to providing students with the support needed to ensure successful program outcomes—whether that support is technical, instructional, spiritual, social, or, where there are urgent needs, financial. Information regarding basic technical requirements to study at a distance can be found here.

If you have any specific questions, please email:  Your message will be forwarded to the correct individual.

In the midst of our current uncertainties, let us be confident that we are in the hands of a sovereign, loving, and death-conquering God. You are in my prayers.

“As God’s ministers, we try to recommend ourselves in all circumstances by our steadfast endurance: in affliction, hardship, and distress” (2 Cor 6.4).

+Stephen Andrews,