I wonder what more could be said to propel us any further toward our highest potential as instructors in the coming year. We've received so much thanks for our work that any more of it might seem oddly to eat away at our authentic feeling of being appreciated.
If I were to say anything, I would say to enjoy teaching and bond closely with your students this term and next, no matter how attenuated by distance and chaos this connection may feel right now. I might also bring up the degree to which our pursuits outside of work are of value in the classroom and in shared decision-making with colleagues.
We are living though a vulgar, disturbing political moment and a threatening environmental crisis once imagined to be generations away, as our college faces a devastating budget shortfall and uncertainty about its impact on our services. I hope faculty respond by being more accepting of each other—and by agitating each other less—so that, when and if our nation recovers from pandemic-nationalism, we can remember and celebrate and our mutuality during this time.
To be person-centered (as in student-centered) means to unconditionally see goodness in each other—to shift from feeling justified outrage, dread, and disgust toward seeking creative, fair solutions to problems. I believe this will be our most important work over the coming months.
The Senate will advance local anti-racism/anti-bias and nurture professionalism within remote and asynchronous instruction. Maybe there will be times when you might think Senate is asking for things you believe you have already given—or asking for things you might struggle to give.
What the Senate asks of you will result from a broad consideration of faculty perspectives, honor minority concerns when they arise, and be mindful of how hard it can be to give more when perhaps receiving less.
I look forward to brighter days, yet I value the opportunity to help us get though these difficult times.