A fall term
like no other

September 2020

Special Edition

September’s return to class at Western always promises a fresh start and new optimism.

This fall, Western is aiming for a clean slate in more ways than one as the term begins under a blended model of in-person and online courses emphasizing health and safety as well as quality education and student growth.

In just a few short months, the university – along with everyone teaching, working, researching and studying here – has reinvented itself to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Sweeping changes to operations include extensive signage and messaging across campus and making facemasks mandatory for all. Invisible but essential upgrades to facility ventilation have also taken place.

There are program pivots that make OWeek a mostly virtual event while still building community.

And there are instructional innovations that redefine what it means to teach and learn and thrive in a digital environment.

We’ve compiled a sampling of these changes – each of them helping nurture excellence in teaching, research and scholarship – in this special back-to-school edition. Check them out and see why Western, even in this most unusual of September starts, remains purple and proud.

The Western Experience Reimagined

Gabriel Lemos Rodrigues

International students find new home in London

Lemos Rodrigues didn’t leave his suite for the next 14 days – not unlike hundreds of other international students.

JW in a mask.

Volunteering virtually connects students to London

Through rain, shine, and a pandemic, OServes connects more than 1,000 student volunteers with non-profit organizations.

Chef Andrew in the kitchen

Nothing masks flavour

Andrew Duhasky is unit chef at Ontario Hall and wants to make sure the food is better, much better, than just ‘good’.

Matt Mills

Shared responsibility, empathy, key to ‘Take Care’

The Take Care Western strategy is a reminder to take care of yourself, take care of each other and take care of your community.

The health and safety of our campus is a shared responsibility. We must take thoughtful and persistent steps to take care of ourselves, each other, and our community.

If we all do our part and take precautionary measures, we work together to create a safer and healthier Western community.

Learn more

The health and safety of our campus is a shared responsibility. We must take thoughtful and persistent steps to take care of ourselves, each other, and our community.

If we all do our part and take precautionary measures, we work together to create a safer and healthier Western community.

Learn more

Teaching Innovation

Computer and cell phone.

Fall-term learning pivot a team effort

3,000 in-person classes converted to remote instruction thanks to teamwork and collective commitment.

Open piano with masked musician in background.

Musicians’ health measures new for all

Practising an aria while wearing a facemask - one of many health precautions adopted at Western's Don Wright Faculty of Music.

Psychology professor Mike Atkinson.

Superclass grows in size and supports

Award-winning 'superclass' pioneer Mike Atkinson is confident students can also thrive in this new format. 

Professor Lindi Wahl in class.

Students apply math and biology to pandemic

Professor Lindi Wahl hopes her revamped course can help students learn to predict the spread of COVID-19.

Professor Katrina Moser.

Connections vital in online climate course

Professor Katrina Moser challenges students in her climate-change class to push themselves – and she expects no less of herself.

Political Science professor Nigmendra Narain

Award-winning prof plans ‘coffee shop’ class of 700

The ideal political conversation is a lot like a visit to the local coffee shop, says professor Nigmendra Narain.

A hand sketching.

'Art whenever they want'

Professor Tricia Johnson draws on all her experience and creativity as she teaches her visual arts classes online.

Robot holding water bottle.

Reimagined lab work for engineering courses

Demanding, 're-imagined' labs, often using materials found at home.

Professor Nicole Campbell

Pandemic-era course shift fuels students’ growth

Professor Nicole Campbell empathizes with her students and has designed a course that builds their success as scholars and as people.