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Important Updates on COVID-19  from the Faculty of Science

A collection of news and messages as Carleton University and the Faculty of Science adapt in the face of COVID-19.

A Message from the Dean

To the Carleton Science community, 

 I hope you are well. As our President iterated in a recent message to the community, classes have resumed without the familiarity of the physical classroom.  

 In our case, students and faculty members will be returning to instruction without the lab spaces that are so crucial to what we do. Many of us have had to halt in-progress research projects, field work, and experiments. 

Despite the serious nature of what we are facing, our faculty, staff and students are adapting extraordinarily well, striving to fulfill our academic mission as best we can. According to all accepted knowledge, our actions will make a difference in halting the spread of COVID-19.

I want to acknowledge the fine work of our faculty and staff as we adjust to a very different working environment. I’m proud of our quick response in this situation, and though I know there are more challenges ahead as we start to employ new technologies and pedagogies, I am confident in our ability to overcome them. 

 We appreciate your patience and support as we adapt to this challenging situation. Please stay in touch in the coming days and weeks – we want to hear from you! 

 Chuck L. B. Macdonald 
Dean, Faculty of Science 
Professor of Chemistry 
Carleton University 

Faculty Members Reflect on Online Course Delivery

Faculty members and instructors from all departments are adapting at an extraordinary rate to ensure their students feel supported and can complete as many learning objectives as possible. These stories have been edited slightly.

Martha Healey, Food Science

“I teach a small class of seven. When we switched to distance learning, I was apprehensive to put it mildly. I had no idea how to run BigBlueButton (BBB), had no headset/microphone and above all, have little technical ability. The Chemistry group rallied together - we experimented on our own, organized several learning sessions for BBB, and learned and experimented together. We talked together about strategies and were a sounding board for each other about how to revamp course material and course evaluations, as well as the best ways to engage students who might be having difficulty managing their own anxieties.  
My first distance learning class using BBB was this morning. Every student showed up, at 8:35 no less, and was fully engaged. The students all participated throughout the class. When we took our usual break, a number of my students turned on their webcams, introduced their pets and just talked to each other. It was fantastic.  
I am thrilled to say that, despite the current crisis and switch away from face-to-face classes, the students will receive their full course.” 

Kim Hellemans, Neuroscience

“For teachers poised to go online, Poll Everywhere has a great tool where you can turn a bunch of polls into a mini (anonymous) survey. It's a great way to get student voices into the lecture. I'm also checking in daily with my students, and using BBB to have open office hours and break-out sessions.”

Martha Mullally, Biology

“Just held my first live, online class with my awesome students and it was great! Wow, students are resilient and capable!”

Kristin Connor, Health Sciences

"Just finished our first lab Zoom meeting! So great to connect with my team. We talked about the importance of establishing routines, science and more!"

Steven Cooke, Biology 

“Reflections on our first virtual lab meeting via Zoom: I really appreciated seeing faces. Facial expressions mean so much... it feels more personal and connected.”

Science students and faculty members in all departments and programs are doing an amazing job of adapting to the new reality of online teaching and learning. Read about their experiences, along with examples from across the university, in this great Carleton Newsroom story.

Read the story.

Student News

Food Science Students Stay in Touch Via Virtual Hangout 

The Food Science Student Society is holding virtual hangout/study sessions to provide you peer support. They’ve also been giving students a chance to meet other “foodies” in the program. 

These study/hangout sessions are open to everyone regardless of program or post-secondary institution. Visit this Instagram link for more information on how to participate.


Succeeding in Online Courses 

The Science Student Success Centre has prepared a video packed with advice on how to succeed in your online courses.

Please check it out!

Ten Tips for Studying Online from Teaching and Learning 

In order to help you transition to your new classrooms,  Teaching and Learning Services  has prepared a list of their top tips for students studying online. 

Read the tips here.


The Science Student Success Centre is Available Online

The SSSC is still available to assist students online! Reach out to us with any questions, and be sure to check out our online resources at You can reach us via email at and by phone at (613) 520-2600 ext. 3111.

Faculty News

Turning the Tide: Event Examines Experiences of Women in Science 

258 years. That’s how long it will take for women to be equally represented in some areas of science if action is not taken now, according to published research on the matter. Closing this gender gap was the focus of  Turning the Tide for Women in Science: Untold Stories and Ideas for Change, an event held by the Faculty of Science on March 4, 2020 in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Read the story.

Biology Prof. Kyle Biggar Receives a Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award  

Congratulations to Kyle Biggar for receiving a Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award during a ceremony on March 10! The award recognizes Prof. Biggar’s exceptional service to graduate students as a supervisor and research mentor. 

Read the story.

Francesca Casadio on How Science Reveals More about Art  

On March 2, Francesca Casadio, the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science at the  Art Institute of Chicago delivered an amazing Discovery Lecture on how science can be used to reveal more information about works of art. Among many applications, Casadio spoke about new uses for chemistry and imaging technology to better understand Pablo Picasso’s work. 

Read the story.

Claire Samson, Adjunct Prof. and Former Earth Sciences Chair, Appointed CFI’s Vice-President, Programs and Planning  

Congratulations to Dr. Claire Samson, adjunct professor and former chair of Earth Sciences, on her appointment to the Canada Foundation for Innovation! As Vice-President of Programs and Planning, Dr. Samson is responsible for managing all aspects of the CFI’s research infrastructure funding programs and providing leadership and advice for developing policies relevant to these programs.   

Read the story.

Carleton Science Remembers Freeman Dyson   

Freeman Dyson, a celebrated physicist and mathematician who helped construct the standard model of particle physics, has died. In December 2018, we were  extremely privileged to  provide the Ottawa science community the opportunity to hear this remarkable scholar as he delivered the annual  Herzberg Lecture on the topic of biological and cultural evolution.

Read the story.

More Information About Carleton’s Efforts to Flatten the Curve  

Postponed and Cancelled Events 

The following Faculty of Science and related events have been postponed due to health concerns around COVID-19:

  • Science Café – Polonium-210: From Discovery to Poison  on March 25 

  • Life Sciences Day 4.0: The Ottawa Opportunity  on March 30 

  • Data Day 7.0: AI Next Steps and Everything Smart  on March 31 

  • Astroglial Cells in Brain Development and Disease  on April 17 

The following events have been cancelled:

  • 17th Annual Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology Graduate Student Symposium on April 30 

  • Outdoor Chemistry Magic Show on May 9 

Coronavirus Resources

Carleton University is following the advice of Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada for the latest information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommendations for prevention. Carleton’s Coronavirus website contains a summary of facts from these health agencies as well as answers to questions Carleton faculty, staff, students and the community may have. Please visit it for more information about the university’s plan for reacting to the pandemic. 

The university has prepared a list of frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19. Please review the FAQ to ensure you are up to speed with the latest information and updates. 

Please also see as list of what’s open and closed on campus, as well as a list of postponed and cancelled events university-wide.

Just for Fun

Science Faculty and Students Get Creative While Practicing Social Distancing

Faculty members and students in the Faculty of Science are getting creative while they take part in social distancing.

See more on Twitter!

Please stay safe! With your help, we can flatten the curve.

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