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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.

  • May 16, 2022

    I had the honor of participating in the Plumeri Awards ceremony this past Friday. After two years of not hosting many of these events, it feels wonderful to be able to celebrate and honor these exceptional faculty members and their significant contributions.

  • May 9, 2022

    Last Monday, Ginger Ambler, Drew Stelljes and I met with the Provost’s Student Advisory group for the last time during this academic year. Notably, we had a productive conversation about how to increase and deepen student engagement, brainstorming several excellent ideas. Students also highlighted the real importance of the upcoming summer break to be able to unwind and unplug.

  • May 2, 2022

    Last week, I, along with other academic leaders, joined the faculty to mark the culmination of the inaugural Mid-Level Academic Leadership program and heard their impressive pitches for several innovative ideas to address some opportunities and challenges we have at William & Mary. I’m excited to continue to work with the faculty to develop some of these ideas with their deans and others to enact positive change and to encourage their continued professional development.

  • April 25, 2022

    Last week the Board of Visitors had its April meeting, during which an ambitious and transformational new housing and dining facilities plan was unveiled. The Board also elected new leadership, with Judge Charles Poston becoming the new Rector. I also enjoyed the very first reception for our talented endowed professors, which turned out to be a wonderful and touching event. I look forward to many more such events honoring our faculty and their amazing accomplishments!

  • April 18, 2022

    Among the highlights of last week was a meeting of provosts from institutions in the Colonial Athletic Association. Beyond athletics, the CAA allocates seed funds for research partnerships and collaborative projects among the member institutions. An interesting fact (and bragging point for our university) is that two members on the CAA Provost’s Council happen to be W&M alums, the provosts of Elon University and Towson University. In addition, during my open office hours for faculty, I had the chance to interact with colleagues plus one of our accomplished students, sharing good news and appreciation, and discussing how to strengthen and support research in the humanities and W&M’s honor code.

  • April 11, 2022

    This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the Academic Stress Town Hall, an event that was co-organized by the Faculty Assembly and the Student Assembly. The objective was to foster helpful conversations between students and faculty about academic workload and stress management. Faculty who also attended told me that they found the event valuable and are already making some changes based on what was discussed. I hope that we see attendance grow for the next event.

  • April 4, 2022

    Among the most pleasant moments of the past week were my meetings with members of the School of Education Faculty Affairs Committee; the vice, associate and assistant deans in A&S; and the graduate student presenters at the Second Annual Symposium on Racial & Social Justice. I want to thank you all for taking the time to meet with me, and for the fun and stimulating conversations. Yesterday, I also thoroughly enjoyed the play “The Chinese Lady,” an amazing performance that was part of the celebration of the Asian Centennial at W&M.

  • March 29, 2022

    Every week I get the chance to meet and interact with various groups of faculty members from all areas of our university. Some meetings discuss specific issues, while others have no specific agenda beyond exchanging thoughts, concerns, and getting to know each other better. Last week, for instance, I met with the SMS/VIMS Faculty Affairs Committee for a luncheon at their beautiful location, with the Faculty Assembly, and with the International Advisory Board of the Reves Center. These meetings are often the most enjoyable part of my work week, and I want to thank our faculty for participating with openness and warmth.

  • March 21, 2022

    With the official arrival of spring, I hope you found time to enjoy some of last week’s spring break. I recognize that not everyone steps away from work during the break because you may have research that cannot be interrupted or simply have too much going on to take the entire week off. I am appreciative of those efforts and hope that those who didn’t take a formal break found some time to recharge.

  • March 7, 2022

    With warmer and hopefully healthier days ahead of us, I am really looking forward to having more in-person conversations and opportunities to get together. I’m also looking forward to seeing more community members outside, enjoying the beautiful campus spaces at W&M.

  • February 28, 2022

    As we close out Black History Month at William & Mary I want to reiterate my appreciation for your participation in related events. Opportunities like the MLK Jr. Commemoration, guest speakers and minute mentoring demonstrate our community’s commitment to engaging with Black history, and I am thankful for those who participated. In March, I encourage you all to be on the lookout for upcoming Women’s History Month events, including guest speakers and other opportunities for reflection. If you’d like to explore some reading materials on the topic, check out W&M Libraries’ Women’s History Month virtual book display for some notable recommendations.

  • February 21, 2022

    As we make our way toward the middle of the semester, I want to note how proud I am of our community for getting to this point and for continuing to prioritize teaching and conducting research with our students. Thank you for all you have done to make that happen.

  • February 14, 2022

    Last week, William & Mary turned 329, an anniversary marked by Charter Day. I hope you were able to join in the festivities and gather with members of our campus to celebrate our great university.

  • February 7, 2022

    This week is filled with activities around campus, a sure sign that we are settling back into our routines and campus life. Beginning Wednesday, the Board of Visitors will meet on campus. Each meeting of the governing board presents an opportunity to highlight William & Mary’s freshest academic initiatives and the stellar work of the faculty. It’s an enormous lift for those participating, including faculty representatives, but important work. I look forward to it, and hope to report additional details next week.

  • January 31, 2021

    Spring 2022 is off to a good start. I thank you all for your continued commitment to academic excellence and for ensuring that W&M students have meaningful academic opportunities, even during a pandemic.

  • January 24, 2022

    Even though January is almost over, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a happy, healthy and productive New Year! As more students return to campus, the new semester brings great promise. I, myself, am excited about all of your efforts in teaching, scholarship, and research, and about growing our efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion at William & Mary. I also look forward to exploring new topics such as the program for mid-level academic leaders support that is kicking off next month, as well as examining ways to address academic stress for our students, and starting the new Provost’s student advisory group.

  • December 13, 2021

    With yet another busy week ahead of us, I will get right to the Top 5 Things to Know:

  • December 6, 2021

    In light of the heavier workload this week due to grading and exams, I will do my best to keep this week’s 5 Things brief:

  • November 29, 2021

    I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving break. Speaking for myself, it was really nice to be able to spend uninterrupted and unstructured time with my family. I think that we can all agree that the past week was a much-needed boost to help us finish out the final weeks of a successful fall semester.

  • November 22, 2021

    Despite the rather misleading subject line, there is only one thing that I would like to share with you today. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and reiterate my hope that you are able to take the time off to rest and enjoy quality time with your loved ones.

  • November 15, 2021

    I am proud that we have reached this point in the semester with such success, and am very grateful to the faculty and staff who have helped us get here. I hope that you feel the same way.

  • November 8, 2021

    With Veterans Day occurring this week, I want to recognize those who have served our nation and those who continue to serve as members of the military. William & Mary’s programs and expertise offer vital connections for veterans, including education and student support, and your contributions as faculty members are critical to student veterans’ success.

  • November 1, 2021

    I want to start this week’s email with expressing my deep appreciation for all of your efforts this semester in supporting and teaching our students in multiple ways, making sure that they are equipped to learn as effectively and as positively as possible during their time here.

  • October 25, 2021

    With the busyness brought on by resumed classes and the advising period underway, I will do my best to keep things short and sweet.

  • October 18, 2021

    With each passing week – and I’m still so moved by what I observed at W&M’s recent Commencement ceremonies and Homecoming & Reunion Weekend – it becomes more evident how different this year is from the last. How fortunate we are to have such a caring community to help us all make such progress. And we hope that our students are taking care to enjoy their fall break days this week. We know how appreciative students are, too, when it comes to the faculty’s respect for this much-needed respite.

  • October 11, 2021

    This past weekend it was a pleasure to see our campus buzzing with students, faculty, staff and returning community members. Celebrating the Class of 2020 felt right, and I am glad that we were able to commemorate that class’s achievements. In addition, it was an honor to be part of the dedication of Hulon L. Willis Sr. Hall and to reaffirm the significance of this building on our campus. After a weekend like that, I feel a renewed sense of pride for W&M, and hope you all do, too.

  • October 4, 2021

    I continue to reflect on this year’s opportunities to gather in person and feel honored to have been invited to participate in the Family Weekend Concert on September 24. The Music department, together with Parent & Family Programs, arranged a spectacular event that renewed my appreciation for the art of music-making, especially during a time when it can be challenging to incorporate all members into a physical practice. This year has been another test of our resiliency, and that concert, which showcased our impressive large group ensembles, was a beautiful reminder of the talent all around us and of the creativity and dedication of the W&M students, faculty and staff members.

  • September 27, 2021

    I hope you all enjoyed Family Weekend as much as I did—with this being in-person this year, it was refreshing to see students and their families strengthen their bond with William & Mary. We have a full week of opportunities for engagement and learning, so without further ado, here are this week’s Top 5 Things to Know:

  • September 20, 2021

    As we all settle into a rhythm this year, I thank you for your continued flexibility in all facets of delivering an education to our students. We continue to adapt with the latest public health circumstances, and I ask that we continue to extend empathy as we navigate this year.

  • September 13, 2021

    As we continue to learn how to live our lives in a pandemic, I want you to know that I have heard and understand your questions and concerns. With more tools in our toolbox this year and a better understanding of the underlying science, we continue to consider your sentiments and those of our entire community as we adapt throughout this semester. Ultimately, our goal is to give our students the best education possible, and I thank you for your efforts in doing that.

  • September 6, 2021

    Happy Labor Day! As we settle into our new routines, I hope you can find time for a moment of respite. Mental wellness continues to be a topic of great importance at W&M, and I encourage you to take steps to safeguard your physical and mental health and happiness.

  • August 30, 2021

    As we gear up for a new academic year, I am eager to work with you to foster new growth and opportunity. If you are new to William & Mary, I issue this weekly “Top 5” email every Monday during the semester to help distill important information for faculty and to keep open the lines of communication. This year, I anticipate William & Mary flourishing in research, teaching and professional faculty development. Working together, we can ensure that William & Mary focuses on the wellness of our students, staff and faculty. We’ve all learned lessons from the past year, and perhaps the one that will assist us the most as we move forward concerns the importance of flexibility. This year will require all of us to remain resilient and to offer support to one another so we may continue to incorporate as many in-person elements as possible on campus. I look forward to our achieving that together.