And now it is almost Thanksgiving. Wild, right? Two weeks of classes, a week of finals, graduation and we are done for the semester. I say this way too often: I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone.
And for me at least these last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Since I chatted with you last I have prepped and presented a couple of NCA presentations (I was working on them for months, but still the heavy lift was in the last week) and spent a wonderful long weekend in Philadelphia. We hosted a wonderfully successful party and graduate open house table (thanks Carly for all the arranging and Carly, Carol, and Kari for producing amazing materials to support these events). I was able to see Allison receive her award from ASHR and Elizabeth was with Min when she received her award from the MA division. I got to hear several of you present and heard wonderful things about the work all of you are doing from my colleagues. What a great moment for us, don’t you think?
I was home for a day or so and then headed to LA for a very short trip to meet with our alumnus and former executive producer of Entertainment Tonight. I took a stuffed ram and we talked ACT Human Rights Film Festival. He is super excited about AHRFF and is working hard behind the scenes to ensure year two’s success.
I want to introduce the community to our newest member, Lindsey Nielsen. Lindsey joins us as the new ACT Human Rights Film Festival Coordinator. She comes to us from Utah where she had extensive experience in non-profits, donor engagement, and communications. She is located in the center suite and works most morning. Stop by and say hi!
This last Thursday the CPD ran—as it has been doing for years—the Fort Collins Community Issues Forum. Well over 50 people attended. I saw Ginny Sawyer from the city today (Saturday) and she said the forum was particularly good this year. Had nothing but praise for the CPD associates.
So those are a bunch of great things happening right here in the department.
We are having some struggles to, as many of you know. Students, faculty, staff are all working hard to figure out how to be good students, faculty, and staff after the election. I am not making a political claim here about whether the election results were right. What I know, is that I am having more and harder conversations about what’s happening in our classrooms than I ever have had. That’s just true.
I am hearing from folks on the oval and from those of us actually in the classroom about hard conversations, raw emotions, and fear. I see struggles in balancing free speech and academic freedom, and the desire to feel safe.
I have not put my head around all of this yet, but what I know is that we are a community of diverse and courageous thinkers who care deeply our central missions of scholarship and creative activity, pedagogy, and service to our communities.
Over the next weeks and months, I and colleagues will host a series of conversations about pedagogy, scholarly and creative activity, and service in the contemporary world. I will announce the first of these the week after Thanksgiving. Informal, not required, almost certainly including food and drink, I hope these conversations can make possible careful and thoughtful and rigorous engagement with each other, our students, and our world.
As more immediate resources I want to point you to the recently adopted CSU Principles of Community. I have attached a pdf of these principles here.
And I will point you again to the Tell Someone website and the employee assistance program where you can help folks—including yourself—get needed help.
Meanwhile we are heading towards Thanksgiving. For some of you, this entire week is break though I suspect some of you will work. For others—Gloria, Dawn, Carol, Carly, Lindsey—the coming week is still a work week. Nonetheless we are moving into a season of celebration and of giving thanks.
I know I will be giving thanks for all of you. I was hanging at the coffee shop today with dear friends from the community. Someone asked about the department and I talked about the amazing things you all do, the amazing ways you connect with others. I told them that every week I get to write this letter and I always have remarkable things to report. One of them said I should make the letter available to the whole community (well, it is, as a blog on the website: who knew!). Regardless, I am so amazed and thrilled that I get to work and play with all of you.
Please have a good Thanksgiving. Come back next week safe and rested and ready for the last push to get us through the semester.