Dear faculty, staff and students:
We are down to the wire – only one week to go before the conclusion of the 12-week. I hope that end-of-term assignments are going well and everyone is prepared for next week’s exams. You’ve certainly all earned a short break before the intensive 3-week begins after Thanksgiving.
As the semester winds down, it is important to reflect on what we have collectively accomplished so far this year. Some of the key items include those voted on last week during College Assembly: to allow all those present at meetings to participate in Assembly votes, to expand the College Executive Steering Committee to include additional staff members, to remove the Campus Life Steering Committee as a constitutionally designated one, and to create a staff chairperson position mirroring the faculty chair position that has long existed on campus.
To propose and vote on such substantial changes in only a few months is quite an accomplishment for a college community. I commend all who worked behind the scenes to help word the proposed changes and vet the modifications prior to the Assembly including Paul Gaffney, Matt Sorrick and Kathleen Enoch. I also thank all who spoke at the meeting and contributed to a healthy conversation and debate, and greatly appreciate the contribution of Nick Hirsch in facilitating an orderly vote. I think the meetings went exceedingly well and serve as a very visible and significant marker of the changes that all of us are helping to shape.
In addition to the Assembly meeting, I want to acknowledge the challenging, out-of-class work that the faculty are currently engaged in. As I write this, nine faculty groups are working together to provide recommendations that will help shape the way we think about items such as marketing, retention, future course offerings, etc. I am eager to see the suggestions that emerge as part of their work. Once a staff chair gets elected, I suspect staff will be mobilized to make similar suggestions.
While much of my time this semester has been spent on budget and organizational analyses, I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the students as well. I was pleased to join the Garfield Scholars last week for a Wednesday night program on the U.S. economy. And I learned quite a bit as a participant in Saturday evening’s Underground Railroad trip sponsored by African-American Students United. This weekend I will attend the last home football game, and look forward to supporting our winter sports teams in the upcoming months.
As I end, let’s continue to keep Lauren Hill and her family in our thoughts this season. I was deeply touched by the CBS segment (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-other-team/) that featured our campus and our women’s basketball team’s role in this poignant journey.
Lori E. Varlotta