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Weekly Messages to Faculty

Five Things to Prepare Faculty for the Week Ahead

Messages from the previous academic year are archived annually in August.

  • April 8, 2024

    Thomas Jefferson, amateur astronomer, attempted to view an eclipse on June 24, 1778 from Monticello, but was disappointed by cloudy skies across Virginia. Fortunately, today in Williamsburg we have gorgeous weather and a partial solar eclipse will be 80-85% visible starting at 2 p.m. and peaking around 3:15 p.m. The departments of Art & Art History and Physics are hosting a safe viewing in the Sunken Garden with telescopes, binoculars and solar glasses while supplies last. A limited number of solar glasses will also be available at Swem Library. I hope you can find some time to observe this rare phenomenon and join many of us who plan to be there. 

  • April 1, 2024

    Last Wednesday, I joined President Rowe and Dean Raitt for W&M Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE)’s “Conversations with a Scholar” workshop. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage with our students in a small forum, and to share some of our research and career experiences. The WMSURE student fellows who guided the discussion previously benefited from the program and choose to give back by running workshops like this one, guiding freshman W&M Scholars and developing mentorship opportunities for other young students.

  • March 25, 2024

    Today, the Center for Comparative Legal Studies & Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, The Reves Center, and the National Center for State Courts hosted the Climate and Conflict Symposium at our Law School. Highlighting the critical intersection between climate change and armed conflicts, which researchers find affects up to 20% of conflicts, this event underscores an urgent global issue. Alissa Johannsen Rubin, Senior International Correspondent for the New York Times, shared insights on international peace, emphasizing a skill we all share and cherish: the power of asking questions. It's a reminder of the curious and inquiring spirit that defines us at William & Mary.

  • March 18, 2024

    Campus is vibrant with activity this week ahead. Today marks the kick off of the 2024 Ampersand International Arts Festival, with an abundance of programming, from film screenings to workshops to theatrical performances. Current students, faculty and staff are well represented, including a theatrical play written and directed by undergraduate Ella Jo Nguyen. Saturday, March 23, will feature two impressive W&M alumni, Oscar award-winning writer/director Cord Jefferson ’04 and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Walter Hickey ‘12. I’m also looking forward to tomorrow’s lecture from Muscarelle artist-in-residence Delita Martin, who while on campus is creating an imaginative portrait of one of the documented enslaved women at W&M.

  • March 4, 2024

    W&M students were on a streak of excellence this past week. The W&M Computer Science teams competed at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest and brought home several medals, reflecting their hard work and exemplary performance as well as the department’s commitment to distinction. Congratulations! In the area of democracy, too, W&M hosted the annual Road to Richmond event on the 20th, when students traveled to the capitol to meet with legislators, Cabinet members and legislative staff, many of whom are W&M alumni, as well as First Lady Suzanne Youngkin. W&M News published a photo essay from the day, where you can see our very professional students in action. 

  • February 26, 2024

    Last week, I had the chance to make my way around campus a bit more than usual, visiting the very atmospheric (albeit in need of support) Ceramics Studio and Kaplan Arena, where I enjoyed another victory by our fabulous women’s basketball team. As I did so, I was reminded of the many opportunities that exist at W&M for our students to find connections and experiences that can serve as inspirations for all of us.  Additionally, as W&M continues to expand the Careers cornerstone of Vision 2026, I encourage you to join W&M One Network, William & Mary’s global professional networking platform designed exclusively for our community of students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff. Signing up only takes a few minutes using your W&M login. Thank you to everyone who has already joined.

  • February 19, 2024

    Let’s take a moment to celebrate the news that W&M broke another early decision record for the third consecutive year! The caliber of our prospective students is remarkable; it’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm for the university in action. Additionally, as W&M continues to expand the Careers cornerstone of Vision 2026, I encourage you to join W&M One Network, William & Mary’s global professional networking platform designed exclusively for our community of students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff. Signing up only takes a few minutes using your W&M login. Thank you to everyone who has already joined.

  • February 12, 2024

    Between the excitement of a fun weekend of William & Mary pride and the good news about our Early Decision application numbers, the energy on our campus is palpable. Charter Day 2024 was a very special opportunity for our community to gather, reflect and celebrate our shared history. In his remarks, Secretary Bunch reflected on the nature of history and the work of a historian, sharing the impact of deep, meaningful efforts to understand what we want to remember and what we need to remember. I was touched by his reminder of the power of history, and I look forward to this conversation continuing as the semester progresses. Those who were unable to attend may watch the full ceremony online.

  • February 5, 2024

    We celebrate William & Mary’s 331st birthday at 4 p.m. Friday with Charter Day speeches, music, videos and the Green & Gold Bash. I hope to see you there, showing William & Mary spirit and celebrating the place we call home. (When attending Charter Day, please also keep in mind the clear bag policy for events in W&M Athletics facilities.)  Throughout the month we have several events commemorating the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognizing Black History Month. In honor of Dr. King’s legacy of service, W&M’s Office of Civic & Community Engagement is hosting Service Saturdays, connecting to meaningful one-time volunteer activities. Tomorrow, the Lemon Project holds a virtual porch talk, featuring Char McCargo Bah on finding descendants of an African American Civil War cemetery. Then at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, the Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will lead a commemorative march from the Sadler Center to the Hearth Memorial to the Enslaved followed by a dinner at the Alumni House. A couple of days later, at 11 a.m. on Feb. 17 at Bruton Heights, the Williamsburg Bray School will offer the public a restoration update. 

  • January 29, 2024

    With the All In campaign coming to a successful conclusion, I am particularly excited about the many accomplishments of our student-athletes throughout its duration. Several teams won CAA championships, all teams had a 3.0 GPA or better for the first semester on record, we maintained the No. 1 spot in all Division I athletics programs for the highest graduation rate among student-athletes for the 18th year in a row, and our students created bonds, skills and memories they will carry with them long after they graduate. My sincerest congratulations to all involved!

  • January 22, 2024

    I hope you all had a wonderful break and are looking forward to the start of the semester. Like you, I always enjoy seeing the students return and the multitude of activities resume. The Year of the Arts kicks off 2024 with excitement too. Among many upcoming events, the Muscarelle Museum of Art will open its next pop-up exhibition at the Stryker Center featuring photography from current W&M students. Plus, in case you missed it, the YOTA team provided fabulous digital assets for broad use, including on our Cascade sites and social media pages. I look forward to spotting Year of the Arts Zoom backgrounds and social banners across our digital campus! 

  • December 18, 2023

    As this is my last message of the year, I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for our community’s individual and collective efforts and accomplishments.

  • December 11, 2023

    Last week, I was invited to participate as a panelist in a Chronicle of Higher Education webinar, “Data Science Unbound.” We discussed data science’s expansion into nearly all elements of our lives and the dramatic increase in demand we’ve seen from students over the past few years. I felt delighted to draw on our work on the proposed Computer Science, Data Science, Applied Science and Physics school and to hear from the other panelists. W&M prides itself on our commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities to our students and this event highlighted just how much we have done in this area. 

  • December 4, 2023

    As we prepare to enter finals season and wrap up another semester, let’s recognize the accompanying academic stress our students may feel during this time. One supportive measure (amongst many) that we offer is TutorZone’s free services. Please remind your students of this avenue to seek academic help as they prepare for finals.

  • November 27, 2023

    It’s wonderful to be back on campus and kick off the final leg of the semester!

  • November 13, 2023

    I’m proud to share that W&M’s iGEM team won gold and ranked among the top 10 out of 400 undergraduate teams at the iGEM Grand Jamboree. The students saw a gap in the scientific community’s understanding of soil synthetic biology, so they researched and developed a soil bacterium that can help address degradation that is happening across the globe. Their interdisciplinary work also earned them first prize for measurement. 

  • November 6, 2023

    Last week, a message was issued by President Rowe affirming support during a time when many feel especially vulnerable. I encourage you to keep this message in mind as many in our community contend with global events on a deeply personal level. As Dean Raitt wrote on Friday, all of the President’s messages are available to read online at W&M News.

  • October 30, 2023

    Recalling another successful Family Weekend, thank you for welcoming our students’ loved ones, whether that was by opening your classroom or greeting and guiding them as they walked through campus. Parent & Family Programs greeted 4,000+ family members on campus! Your volunteerism and warmth enables our students and their families to consider W&M a second home. Looking ahead, Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, the Thomasina E. Jordan Director of the W&M American Indian Resource Center, will deliver the fall 2023 Tack Faculty Lecture, “Reconnecting Native Narratives to the Brafferton Indian School,” on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Sadler Center Commonwealth Auditorium. As this year commemorates the 300th anniversary of the completion of the Brafferton Indian School, it’s an excellent time to hear from Danielle on her work uncovering new perspectives on this complex story.

  • October 23, 2023

    What a fabulous Homecoming & Reunion Weekend! Whether you attended the parade, football game, or maybe even the Saturday Night Bash, I hope you enjoyed the fun. I had a great time kicking off the Year of the Arts with the Arts Quarter dedication, and I look forward to experiencing the many events, performances and gatherings that our community has planned for that space.  Those able to attend the dedication with Glenn Close ‘74, D.A. ‘89, H.F. ‘19 heard a heartwarming and inspiring reflection on the performing arts at W&M. Close generously shared how meaningful it was to return to her “first true community, … to the place that looked on me as a whole human being with unlimited potential.” As always, her homecoming was a testament to the university’s unique ability to spur student talent and to inspire alumni to lives of remarkable accomplishment. 

  • October 16, 2023

    I hope you enjoyed Fall Break and that you found time to do something fun and restorative. As we begin the next phase of the semester, here are this week’s Top 5 Things to Know.

  • October 9, 2023

    As you know, W&M students have an affinity for civic engagement and we have an excellent way to honor their efforts through our James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership. The award is for an undergraduate student “who exemplifies the acceptance of just responsibility through leadership for the greater good.” If you know a student or two who meets the criteria, please consider filling out the nomination form by Oct. 30.

  • October 2, 2023

    While September closed out with another successful Board of Visitors meeting, October has brought colorful leaves of fall to our campus. This means it’s nearly time for Homecoming, an energizing and fun tradition and also an opportunity to nurture relationships with a vast and passionate W&M community. In the meantime, I look forward to the work of the week ahead, including visiting the W&M Washington Center to participate in “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: One Year Later,” held by William & Mary, Data & Society and the Center for Democracy & Technology.

  • September 25, 2023

    I was glad to attend last week’s New Faculty Orientation event, and have the chance to welcome our new colleagues in person. These orientation events, and other community-building activities we do with any and all members of the William & Mary community, are particularly important as we welcome new members and help them ease into their roles any way we can. As someone who was new to this campus four years ago, I can attest to the power of developing a strong sense of belonging from the beginning. Speaking of belonging— I loved to see so many wearing the new W&M “I belong” pins shared at Friday’s D&I Symposium! 

  • September 18, 2023

    Last week, I welcomed the new cohort of faculty participants to the Mid-Level Academic Leadership program. The group shared compelling early ideas on what they are curious about pursuing on campus. We are fortunate to have engaged faculty at William & Mary contributing their creativity, ideas for innovation, and inspiration to others.

  • September 11, 2023

    It has been a pleasure seeing so many of you during these first few weeks of the semester, particularly to connect with colleagues and friends with new ideas and fresh energy for the fall semester.

  • September 5, 2023

    With the first official few days of our entire campus being back in action, I have to say: It feels great! I was delighted to see so many new and familiar faces at our Opening Convocation and at the faculty welcome and reception on Friday. I look forward to more opportunities to connect with each of you this year. 

  • August 28, 2023

    Welcome – and welcome back! The excitement of a new academic year is upon us and I hope to see many of you at our Opening Convocation ceremony this Wednesday, Aug. 30, where we will welcome our new and returning students, and hear remarks from Carolyn ‘Biddy’ Martin ‘73, L.H.D. ‘12. This annual tradition truly is one of my favorite experiences at William & Mary. The energy is infectious, and it’s a delight to see the new members of our community walk through the Wren building as they embark on their academic careers. For those unacquainted with the communications cadence from my office, you can expect a weekly message from me on Mondays during the academic year, with the Top 5 Things to Know for the week. The objective is to identify at a glance topics of significant and timely interest to our faculty.