By Ellen Tsaprailis

Thousands more Carleton University students have now officially earned their degrees through their dedication and perseverance to achieve – an academic milestone that is all the more sweet given the need in March for a quick pivot to online classes as a result of the pandemic.

With Convocation ceremonies on hold—for now—this year’s graduates are engaging with online events, congratulatory videos, slide shows and uplifting social media posts as billboards around the city mark their achievements.

Through the week of June 22 to 26, Carleton faculties and departments will cheer their graduates in various ways and details can be found on Carleton’s Graduation Celebration 2020 site.

A social media wall has been created to make it easier for graduates to post and share stories using the hashtags of #CarletonGrads2020 and #CUProud.

Carleton’s Clerk of Senate and Marshal of Convocation, Betina Appel Kuzmarov, says she is hoping that graduates will get a sense that the university is honouring their achievements through these virtual celebrations.

“Given the fact that June Convocation has been postponed, we wanted to find a way to ensure that all our graduates could celebrate their amazing achievement,” says Kuzmarov.

“We hope to celebrate with them when it is safe and appropriate to do so.”

In a live address at Carleton’s campus on June 10, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out to post-secondary graduates across Canada to praise the class of 2020 and convey his confidence that Canadian graduates will be the 21st century’s Greatest Generation.

“You know what is wrong with the world and how to fix it,” said Trudeau. “I know you got this, and so do you.”

Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon says the university still plans to provide a future Convocation ceremony at the first opportunity.

“I would like to reiterate that this is a postponement and not a cancellation, and we remain committed to providing our students with the well-deserved opportunity to walk across the stage in a future Convocation ceremony,” says Bacon.

“I want to offer my most sincere congratulations to our graduating students. Though Convocation is postponed, know that we are proud of you and your achievements.”

Carleton Applauds Graduates in Virtual Celebrations and City Billboards

Going Online to Finish Final Semester

With only a few weeks left into their last semester, Carleton’s spring graduates had to abandon classrooms and labs, yet still learn the content required to complete their degree requirements and conquer final exams.

Faculty and staff switched almost overnight into remote mode and Carleton’s Educational Development Centre created a joint exam team to provide faculty with options.

The team created a guide for faculty and provided options, including an offer to build online exams for them or allowing tech-savvy professors to assemble their own exams and get help uploading the material, re-engineering the traditional exams workflow in a matter of days.

“We are fortunate that we are able to maintain our academic mission and core operations remotely, which would have been unthinkable only a decade ago,” says Bacon.

“I hope this gives pause to anyone who thinks of universities as traditional, behind the times and unable to change. Universities haven’t flourished over centuries by standing still, but by always adapting to emerging challenges and constantly evolving.

“I have been absolutely amazed by the creativity and flexibility of our teaching staff as we transitioned to online and other methods of distance learning.”

Carleton Applauds Graduates in Virtual Celebrations and City Billboards

New Degree Conferred

This spring marks the first graduates of Carleton’s new Dev Degree program — a collaboration between Carleton and Shopify. Dev Degree is a first-in-Canada four-year, work-integrated learning program that combines hands-on developer experience at Shopify with an accredited computer science degree.

Britta Evans-Fenton was motivated to enter the program because it allowed young programmers to receive some of their training at Shopify. Once she was approved, she found herself working alongside experienced developers.

And she was earning while she learned, with Shopify covering her tuition and paying a salary.

“I became immersed in computer programming and was able to pay for my living expenses,” Evans-Fenton recalled.

After four years of hard work in association with multiple teams at Shopify, she’s now one of the company’s newest hires, working on their mobile team. And she has used her knowledge to mentor incoming Carleton students along the way.

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Friday, June 19, 2020 in , ,
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