Dean's Column

From Dean Nancy J. Smyth

Portrait of Nancy Smyth.

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 has been truly challenging. Between the pandemic, the economic impact, and the racial injustice reckoning that is still underway, we’ve all been shaken, at every level. We must pay attention, and do what we can, especially related to promoting racial justice for Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian people and other people of color.

Uncertainty and the unknown still has the ground shifting. We are fortunate that our choice of profession, and a combination of education, predilection, and experience, teaches us to be flexible, creative, solution-oriented, and empathetic.

As I’m sure all of you have, we’ve shifted our gaze to where we can make the most positive impact. For us, this is with our students who need more support during this time, so we’ve reprioritized our time, energy, and funds accordingly.

Mosaics magazine has always been a way for us to connect, a place for an exchange of stories and information, a medium to remind us all of our shared values, goals and ideals. Our highest imperative in the current environment is our students’ needs; however, with this greatly abbreviated version of our print magazine, we do want to convey some of our ongoing activities and thoughts, and also share some of your input.

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, our faculty, staff, students and I have already begun discussing our curriculum and school policies to achieve more focus, depth and transparency on racial justice. We will be reaching out to alumni and community partners shortly as part of this work.

We are hearing from you about what’s happening. Via a crowdsource survey, we asked a few questions about how your work has changed since the pandemic and lockdowns started. See next page for a selection of your answers.

In moving forward, I believe that we need to be creative in staying connected at a human level. (“Zoom-fatigue” is real. Especially if it’s all work and no play.) I’ve found myself turning to nature, finding solace and breath in the outdoors; let us hear from you about how this is affecting you.

Thank you again for your support in all the ways that you do.