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A message from Dean Puri to the Faculty of EngineeringMarch 13, 2020

"I encourage all of us to be kind and patient with each other during this crisis. We are a community and we need to take care of each other."

Dear Students, Alumni, Colleagues and Friends,

These are unprecedented times. We are navigating through an ever-changing landscape of information and guidance regarding COVID-19. I am grateful to all of you for your good work, patience and resilience during this challenging time.

Please know that the health and safety of our community is of utmost concern to me and all other leaders in our Faculty. While the risk of catching the virus in our area continues to remain low, I write to reassure you that we will continue do whatever we can to help guide you as things evolve and you share your concerns with us.

We will continue to work within our faculty and staff members and with partners and stakeholders across campus to make decisions in the best interest of you -- our students, staff, faculty and community.

Here are some updates:

  • As you have likely read from the president, in-person classes at McMaster for undergraduate and graduate students will end at the end of day Friday, March 13th. No in-person exams will be held at the end of this term. Faculty members and instructors are asked to work with their Chairs, Directors and Deans to be prepared to communicate with students by Wednesday, March 18th   to let them know how the remainder of their courses will be managed and grades assessed so that they can complete their credits within the normal timeframe of the winter term. These solutions will vary from course to course.

  • McMaster has cancelled all discretionary events and encourages all employees to avoid travelling outside Canada. Discretionary events include fundraisers, intramurals, performances, tournaments, conferences, March Break tours and camps, and lectures that are not part of an academic program.

  • McMaster has ended all undergraduate and graduate student international travel for McMaster related activities. We will send a communication shortly to students who have international co-op appointments discussing accommodations. 

  • We are compiling a list of cancelled events within the Faculty of Engineering, which will be updated on our website.

  • McMaster faculty, staff and students who are currently abroad are asked to check Canadian travel advisories and to ensure they follow all advice for self-isolation or self-monitoring upon their return to Canada.

  • The Faculty is offering online training sessions on working remotely, as the need arises, for staff, faculty and researchers. There are currently five sessions scheduled from March 13 to March 20. A video recording of today’s session will be made available as soon as possible so that it can be accessed remotely.

  • Please work with your departments, units and research groups on your own contingency plans.

  • We encourage you to come forward with questions, concerns and feedback. If you have a concern about your personal circumstances (physical or mental health, child care, family abroad, travel plans, etc.) please speak with your immediate supervisor for support. We will compile your questions, and, in the coming days, develop an FAQ page specifically for the McMaster Engineering community. Please send this feedback to

Our decisions are being made in the face of uncertainty. We don’t profess to have all the answers to the newly emerging complicated issues, but we are committed to working within our Faculty and with our partners within and outside campus to keep our community safe. Please keep yourself informed and up-to-date by reading the latest information from the university regarding COVID-19.

Again, please know we will do everything we can to support you throughout this.

Equally importantly, I encourage all of us to be kind and patient with each other during this crisis. We are a community and we need to take care of each other. 

We are one, we will overcome.


With kindest personal regards,

Ishwar K. Puri, Dean and Professor


Joined by,

Steve Hranilovic, Associate Dean, Academic

John Preston, Associate Dean, Research & Innovation

Mike Thompson, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

Nancy Balfoort, Director of Finance and Administration

Maria White, Assistant Dean, Studies

Arlene Dosen, Director of Student Engagement and Outreach