From the Chair

Dear ECE community,

It has been an unprecedented week — our community has had rapid and significant disruptions to their lives, both personally and professionally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t know what might happen in the days and weeks ahead but it’s my priority that our students, faculty and staff remain informed, maintain a feeling of community with their peers and — above all — are safe during this unpredictable time.

We’ve been working with the U of T Engineering Faculty and the University to adapt and make adjustments to ensure that:

  • students are able to complete the semester with the best possible learning and assessment experience under the circumstances
  • we maintain research continuity to the extent that we can as lab-based research operations are shut down and research (that can be) is continued off-campus
  • the Department’s administrative and IT units continue to function with minimum impact on faculty, students and staff

New information on our continuity plans are updated frequently. I encourage all students, faculty and staff to closely monitor their email for updated information from the Department, the Faculty and the University as decisions are made and new information becomes available. Please visit the University’s COVID-19 website and U of T Engineering’s COVID-19 website frequently, as you will find the most up-to-date and comprehensive information there.

The COVID-19 crisis has affected our courses, research and community network here in ECE but I also recognize that challenges related to this global crisis extend into our homes as well. Whether it is childcare, travel complications, financial concerns, the health of our loved ones or feeling isolated at home — I know this is an extremely challenging time for everyone.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the ECE community of some resources available to you: My Student Support Program (My SSP) provides mental health support for all U of T students and Good2Talk is a free confidential helpline that is available 24/7/365 at 1-866-925-5454. The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available for Faculty and Staff. I also encourage you to reach out to your friends and colleagues in ECE, we are all in this together.

Personally, I take comfort in knowing that there are electrical and computer engineers leveraging their knowledge, skills and experience to help find solutions during this global challenge. Whether it is maintaining the resilience of our power grid, keeping our communication systems running so we can all work from home or modelling disease progression to help “flatten the curve” — one of our goals in ECE is to train and prepare engineers to solve complex global challenges just like this.

Thank you to all of our students, faculty and staff who have been understanding and resilient in light of a myriad of challenges during this uncertain time. I’m immensely proud of our ECE community and my door is (virtually) open should you have specific questions or concerns.

Deepa Kundur
Professor & Chair
The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering