As Prepared as We Can Be
The August edition of Dialogue is one of my favorite editions of our college monthly newsletter. It is usually a time of celebration. A time when we introduce our new faculty and staff, welcome our new students, and take our first steps into another year as a Volunteer family.
This edition still has our welcome to new faculty, congratulations to promoted lecturers, and other good faculty and staff news, but it comes at a time when we most of us are unsure of what to expect this fall semester. Many of you may be coming back to campus for the first time since March. Several of you have been here, working in solitude behind closed doors to keep our college running as smoothly as possible despite the uncertainty of tomorrow.
The anxiety is real for all of us, but we have worked hard to get to this week. We are as prepared as we can be to welcome a new group of students and start a new academic year. Students coming to college for the first time are anxious about starting their college career online instead of in the classroom where they can make connections and build relationships to support them through their college career.
To everyone, I say thank you. Thank you to our staff for working every day to support your department, your unit, and our college. Thank you to our graduate students who help carry the teaching and research loads in our college while still maintaining your own scholarship. Thank you to our faculty – tenure-track and tenured professors, and our expert lecturers – you are the front line of what will define success for our university this year.
We all know what we face this semester, but what you may not know is the support you have from me, your department heads, and other leaders in the college and across the university. We have your backs. Wearing masks is a mandate on campus. Students are required to have them on during class and inside every building on campus, with a few exceptions for people with health conditions or while eating and drinking in areas established for this purpose.
Each of us has a responsibility to help keep our campus community safe this semester. If you see someone without a mask and you are in a position to say something, please do. Offer them a disposable mask or remind them of the policy, but if the conversation gets heated, walk away. We do not want you to be in harm’s way just because you are doing the right thing.
I will continue to host A&S Town Halls throughout the semester. Be on the lookout for the announcements, which will include a short form to submit your questions and concerns, but please reach out to your unit leadership when you have questions or concerns. Communication will be a key component to a successful fall semester.
We will continue our College Conversations series on allyship and antiracism and keep the dialogue going about how we can do better as individuals, as a college, and as a university to support our colleagues and students of color. Another initiative this fall is an update to our college diversity plan and updates to department diversity plans with a goal of creating and sustaining a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive campus climate.
Finally, I would like to recognize the faculty and staff who retired during the last academic year and during the summer. Thank you for your service. I wish we were able to gather in person to recognize your years of dedication to the college. Perhaps one day soon.
- Shelly Binder, Associate Professor, School of Music
- Kenneth Bonne, Senior Lecturer, Department of Math
- Arthur Echternacht, Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
- Thomas Handler, Professor, Department of Physics
- John Long, Senior Lecturer, Department of Math
- Natalia Pervukhin, Professor, Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures
- Purnima Pinnaduwage, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Marjorie Stephens, Associate Professor, School of Music
- William Black, Professor & Associate Head, Department of Theatre
- Mark Boling, Associate Professor, School of Music
- JoBeth Bradley, Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures
- Donald Brown, Associate Professor, School of Music
- Christopher Craig, Professor, Department of Classics
- Lorraine DiSimone, Associate Professor, Music
- Stuart Elston, Professor, Department of Physics
- Charles Feigerle, Professor, Department of Chemistry
- Mark Hulsether, Professor, Department of Religious Studies
- Catherine Leach, Professor, School of Music
- Catherine Remus, Senior Lecturer, Department of Math
- Susan Riechert, Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
- Lynn Sacco, Associate Professor, Department of History
- David Wilson, Professor, School of Art
- Lisa Boling, Accounting Specialist II, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
- Donald Ray Conard, Jr., Technical Director, Department of Theatre
- Adrienne Dilulio, Administrative Support Assistant, School of Music
- Daniel Frank, Piano Technician, School of Music
- Sally Fridge, Manager, Division of Biology
- Shirley Martin, Admin Specialist I, Department of Sociology
- Pamela Poe, Business Manager, Department of Anthropology
This fall will be different. We still have Big Orange Friday, but it will not be the lead up to a celebratory Game Day Saturday. Compassion, adaptability, and a commitment to our community will be more important than ever. Thank you for all you do for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Theresa M. Lee
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences