First Friday Back

Folks:

Happy Friday and happy end of the first week of classes. Was MLK day really just five days ago? Hooftah! Well I hope the first week was wonderful.

I like to report on a regular basis about how much we teach, how full our classes are and the like. As of this morning, we are at 93% capacity in our undergraduate program. That is too say, nearly every class is completely full. You know this from your own experience. Meanwhile, many of our classes have waitlists of 10 or more. As you know from our six-year review, we are an extraordinarily efficient department. I see the work you are doing. And you are doing it extraordinarily well.

Speaking of doing well, a number of you have commented to me about how thoughtfully, carefully, and rigorously we have been talking with each other about the department. We met on Wednesday in faculty meeting to talk about NTT faculty promotion and governance. We are considering changes that in important ways remake the ways we have worked for decades. Meanwhile, many of you have also shared with me that the six-year review process has been positive. Agreed. So congratulations to us.

Which leads to a reminder. Cara and Kevin are here in Sunday and Monday the 3rd and 4th of February. We have the schedule set for our meetings with them. If you have questions, connect with Eliza.

I do want to offer an opportunity to hang out with Cara and Kevin in an informal setting on Sunday, Feb. 3 from 4-5:50 p.m. at Equinox Brewing. The department will host a come and go happy hour. Stop by. Chat. Catch up with your colleagues and get to know Cara and Kevin a bit.

In the last Friday email (sent on Wednesday: what??), I reminded you of our many activities over the semester. I want to circle back to one particular event.

On May 10, from 4-6 p.m. we will meet at Café Vino for our end of year celebration. We will add a going away party to that event. As many of you know Allison has accepted a position at University of Wisconsin, Madison, and May 10 will be her last class day with us. We will, of course, miss Allison’s energy and goodwill. I am also excited for her and her family. The move takes her and Jason and Oliver back to the Midwest where so many of their family live.

What I know after years of sitting (and standing) in the chair’s office is that change is constant. We bring new people into our community—new undergraduate and graduate students, new staff and faculty—and folks leave us as well. Students graduate, faculty and staff go on to pursue new opportunities. In these shifts, I always hope that the time here is well-spent. I hope that the relationships made, the work engaged, the problems addressed are foundations for success. We have reason to believe that that is the case.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. For me time with family—including lunch in Denver with cousins—and time working. It is annual evaluation season after all!