The academic year begins—welcome back!
Dear Albright friends and colleagues,
September is one of the most exciting times in the academic community. Many of us have returned from our summer schedule and summer work mode. As the days become cooler and fall colors emerge, we welcome new students, faculty and staff who have joined the Albright community this year, and we rejoice at the lively return of students and colleagues whom we have not seen all summer. It’s an exciting time to be on the Albright campus!
We kicked off this academic year with a festive gathering for Faculty and Staff Appreciation and Recognition. Many participated in this celebratory event, including Jordan Winkler, president of the Student Government Association, who gave a very fine welcome to the group. Our talented human resources staff produced this event, including the creation of a video that provided the opportunity for our award winners to share their Albright experiences that make them most proud. They shared their excitement with all of us: https://youtu.be/Px5w4dLu1QA. It is indicative that most of the prideful stories shared by our award winners concern students and their successes—this is what we do best at Albright. I am grateful to every member of our faculty and staff for the time and effort they invest every day into supporting our students.
The most visible beginning for the academic year is Move-in Day and Orientation, which occurred just a few short weeks ago. The excitement and enthusiasm on campus was palpable, and I greatly enjoyed being a part of the festivity. But don’t take my word for it. You can view this video and see for yourself: https://youtu.be/jTIhc8qVb5A
New programming and events added engaging and illuminating updates to our orientation for new students, thanks to the collaborative work of Academic Affairs and Student Life. Associate Professor Patricia Turning gave a captivating and timely address at our Opening Convocation, which you can view here: https://youtu.be/LQkyn6krXIA. A must-watch is the Uniquely Albright program developed by the senior POPs for this year’s first-year students—a truly impactful and important program that celebrates the uniqueness of each Albrightian: https://youtu.be/KwZhC3HsnJI. If you did not see this one in person, I encourage you to take 30 minutes to watch this one all the way through.
Major weather events have been impacting our community and the world. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia, as well as the major earthquake that impacted Mexico and Guatemala have caused death, injury, and destruction. Such disasters affect us, as humans, even if we are not directly touched. The Albright spirit has shown vividly in response to these disasters, with efforts organized across campus to support those impacted. The Blood Drive at Albright filled up quickly, and additional hours were added to accommodate those who wanted to support the blood needs that come up during such times. Funds to support the Red Cross, the United Way of Houston, and other organizations have been raised by Albright NCAA and club sports teams, the Office of Public Safety (with support of other offices), the Albright Student Government Association, and many others. It is at times like these that the compassion and generosity of the Albright community really shines. I am keeping the people of Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Guatemala in heart and mind as these areas begin to recover from the intense hardships of the last few weeks.
Many of you may be aware of a group known as the President’s Council for Diversity and Community or PCDC. I met with this council last April. At that meeting, we all agreed that, to fulfill Albright’s mission of equity and inclusivity and to create a thriving and welcoming community with full participation for all individuals and groups, it was time to intentionally expand the council’s focus from discussion of diversity matters to a more comprehensive and broader consideration of inclusivity and equity. Thus, over the summer, we evolved the mission of this council—beginning with a new name: The Council for an Inclusive, Thriving, and Equitable Community, or CITE-C. You can learn more about this initiative at http://www.albright.edu/president/cite-c.html. This website includes definitions of terms that provide the foundation for our work together, and provides contact information for the council (CITE‑C@albright.edu) and individual council members. You can look forward to hearing more from this group as we work to plan this year’s theme: “Understanding Diversity: A Community’s Conversation.”
Additionally, a number of you may also have had a chance to meet with CITE‑C members. Starting in August, members have been hosting focus groups with staff and students to learn what community members would like to see and hear. There will also be two open forums to be held in the McMillan Student Center South Lounge-Fireside: Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 11 a.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. Please plan to attend one of these open sessions to share your thoughts on what Albright must do to move boldly into the future as a thriving, equitable community.
Finally, the Budget Deep Dive Team is continuing its important work to understand the depth, breadth, and width of our financial model. You will hear more from this group in the months ahead. We have great challenge, as well as great opportunity, in front of us.
I’m looking forward to this first year together, and to meeting with more faculty, staff and students during my Year of Listening and Learning. I wish each of you a wonderful fall semester.
With best regards,