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September 13, 2021

Summary

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.

Full Description

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.

  1. In previous messages I have called for flexibility. Starting this week, in light of current public health considerations, I ask that faculty members utilize the technology available in every classroom to record your lectures and make them available to students who may miss your class due to health-related reasons throughout the month of September. While it remains a priority for us all to have an in-person element to this year, we continue to adapt to public health information and guidance. I encourage you to watch the video of last week’s Community Conversation with President Rowe and members of the Public Health Advisory Team.
  2. For additional tools that may be helpful as we adapt, please contact IT support at support@wm.edu and/or visit the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation’s website. There are many resources available, such as student partners, technology assistance, workshops and webinar recordings, as well as great suggestions about adapting to changes brought on by COVID-19.
  3. The Building Connections and Bridging Differences initiative invites the William & Mary community to participate in training through OpenMind, an interactive, psychology-based platform that teaches skills to overcome differences, engage in difficult conversations and work together toward shared goals. The four-week program includes a total of eight lessons, with two being taken online each week starting today, Sept. 13. Participants take the online lessons on their own time, and after every two, they will be invited to participate in an in-person, facilitated discussion with others about what they are learning. Those discussions will be hosted in the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center at 4 p.m. on Sept. 16, 23 and 30 and Oct. 7. Participants may also engage in the discussions live online through Zoom. Sign up for the program here.
  4. Today marks the annual release of rankings by S. News & World Report. W&M is ranked again in the top 10 public universities and moved up to t-38 overall. As you likely already know, the rankings are based on an assessment of 1,466 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions using 17 measures of academic quality. And even though our faculty’s tireless work to offer our students an educational experience of the highest quality cannot be fully captured by any rankings, the reality is that many follow these rankings, imperfect as they may be, so we do want to do well. For more detail, please see this morning’s W&M News story.
  5. My shout-out for this week goes to the tireless efforts of the event planning team who helped coordinate our Opening Convocation. Not only did they adjust quickly to an evening format, they also rolled with the need to shift the date twice and ensured that we had an impressive keynote speaker, Judge John Charles Thomas HON ‘18. It was spectacular to see the Wren Yard illuminated, as well as the many excited faces who are beyond ready for their year here at W&M!

I hope you all have a safe and productive week, and as always, please let me or my office know if you have any questions.