Interim Provost’s Letter to Faculty on the Eve of Remote Teaching Launch

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The message below was shared with faculty by Interim Provost Barbara Lyman on March 29.

Campus community members can view updates at the Coronavirus Information and Coronavirus FAQs webpages, which are being updated regularly as this situation evolves.

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

On the eve of launching remote teaching and learning for all courses, I wanted to take a few moments to reach out to you and express gratitude for your dedicated efforts, provide assurance of continued support, and note the inspiration that your work evokes even as we acknowledge the hard road ahead.

I feel immense gratitude and humility at the signs that we have observed of faculty working together to plan for students to meet the major learning goals of their courses and salvage the semester. Before we could send out the first of many (perhaps, too many?!?) messages with advice and resources for faculty, you had already spontaneously begun to reach out to help and support each other. These visible efforts (and all the work we cannot see) fill me with appreciation and admiration for the faculty.

You have received messages and seen updated website information from all quarters of the College on many interrelated topics from the logistical to the pedagogical, all intended to support you, to be as transparent as possible, and to help safeguard not only the health and safety of all but also the core work of the College and the success and achievement of our students. Please continue to let us know what else we might try to do to support you so that students can make the most of the college experience under traumatizing circumstances. I assure you that we will continue to work as hard as we can and do all that we can to support you and our students.

Lastly, you inspire me with your intentions to make the best of unimagined educational challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This institution has been on a positive trajectory compared to peer institutions and there is every reason to believe that because of you and all of us, positive momentum can be maintained even as we relaunch the educational experience under drastically altered circumstances. But there is no question that right now this is very hard work whose results will not be apparent right away.

I share the following observations of Harvard professor and author Rosabeth Moss Kanter who talks about change being hardest in the middle. She says: “Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work.” Kanter reminds us that our work may turn out to be harder than anyone thought, and she encourages us to “Recognize the struggle of middles, give it some time, and a successful end could be in sight.” Kanter’s observations may be helpful to share with students as we all encourage each other to persist and persevere making the most of our respective and collective strengths in these unprecedented times.



Barbara Lyman
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs