Algonquin College adapts to virtual world


Algonquin College’s Pembroke Waterfront Campus
Handout photo


Handout photo

Convocation is always a very special time for college graduates, but in 2020 some traditions will take on a very different look than in the past. Graduation ceremonies are among a long list of activities and events that have been forced to move to a virtual format because of the pandemic’s impact on large public gatherings.

At Algonquin College, the first virtual convocation ceremony in the institution’s more than 50 years of operation will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 28. For Pembroke Campus graduates, the ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and while the graduates will be at home watching on their computers, the College has worked very hard to make sure this year’s commencement ceremony remains the very special day that it always has been.

Traditions such as the president and valedictorian addresses will be part of the production, but so will individualized graduate name plates, featuring a photo of the graduate that acknowledges their academic success. Award winners will also be specially recognized on the slides and a post-ceremony reception will allow graduates to reconnect with their classmates and faculty.

It will certainly be a different experience than the normal pomp and circumstance that comes with a traditional convocation ceremony, but it will also be memorable. Immediate family members who live in the same household with the graduate are encouraged to make the ceremony more special by joining in watching the celebration.

Convocation is not the only event the College has moved to a virtual platform. The Pembroke Campus holds an annual Spring Business Leadership Conference for local business leaders, but because of the pandemic, it has been moved to the fall and will be delivered online.


Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe will speak on resiliency in the workplace during Algonquin College’s fall Business Leadership Conference which is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The date for the conference is Monday, Oct. 26 and it features an all-women lineup which will deliver timely workshops and presentations that focus on accountability in the workplace, mental wellness and coaching. There will also be three keynote addresses including a session on the pandemic’s economic impact on Canada, led by Dawn Desjardins, the chief deputy economist for RBC Financial.

The conference will also acknowledge a local business through its annual innovation award. Nominations are now being received through the conference website and there should be many organizations who qualify given the way businesses have had to pivot during this pandemic. Many businesses reinvented themselves or developed creative ways to deliver their programs, services or products at a time when production lines had to be modified, stores could only offer curbside pickup and some businesses were forced to suspend operations.

While a new school year has just begun, the student recruitment cycle has already started for the winter and fall 2021 intakes at Algonquin College. The Pembroke Campus will be offering a virtual live Open House on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. and on Friday, Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to help prospective students learn more about what the campus has to offer.

Faculty will be available to speak and answer questions on the programs they teach and student services staff will also be able to provide information on the many supports they offer to students to help them succeed. Special presentations for parents and guidance counsellors are also scheduled and students and families can take a guided virtual tour of the campus.

While the pandemic has been disruptive for almost all sectors, it has also prompted many organizations to find creative ways to stage events and activities online. Shifting to virtual teaching, offering convocation remotely, delivering a conference entirely online and offering virtual Open Houses are four great examples of how Algonquin College is adapting.

Jamie Bramburger is the manager of community and student affairs at Algonquin College’s Pembroke Waterfront Campus. You can reach Jamie at brambuj@algonquincollege.com

 

 



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