Dear faculty and staff in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts,
As we approach spring break with a relief rarely felt to this degree in previous years, I write to express support for you and your students.
I appreciate the outpouring of effort it took to rethink your classes for a two-week remote learning experience in a short time frame, and also recognize that you are now doing that again as you contemplate how to create a successful class for the remainder of the semester. The solutions may be different now. Please reach out to each other, to your department chair, to your discipline’s organizations and networks and to the faculty and staff at the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning for creative and sustainable ways to do this. I know that you want to hold yourself to high standards, and please also remember that this is not a normal time. Be kind to yourself when your adaptation doesn’t work out as planned, or when the technology fails or your child reboots the router in the middle of class. These things and worse will happen. You can still have a semester in which your students learn and grow.
I know that many of your students are struggling with their own changed circumstances. This is not how any of them envisioned their college experience. I ask that you continue to be as thoughtful about their situations as you have always been.
Our staff, working in department offices, studios and production spaces, in college finance and in the Advising Resource Center, have also accomplished a major and complicated project in moving their operations remotely. Our staff are often the first people to interact with students and to sustain the infrastructure for department, college and university operations. This transition has not been easy on you and you have accomplished it so far with grace.
This is not to wrap our current situation in brave rhetoric that glosses over the very real stresses, anxieties and difficulties we face. I write mainly to thank you — the faculty, department chairs and staff of this college — for your heroic efforts to sustain a rich learning environment for our students and a meaningful community for each other.
In gratitude and respect,
Andy Harris Dean, College of Liberal & Creative Arts