From the digging up of tulip bulbs to the reduced density of yellow dust on everything outdoors, there are plenty of signs that spring term is ending. As we transition from the academic year to summer, I’m remembering the past few weeks of celebratory events, from inauguration activities to research symposia and retirement parties, with the accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff continually recognized and celebrated. Each event marked a transition and provided a necessary pause for reflection and the creation of new memories.
One of the most memorable events of my spring term also served as a timely reminder of why we do what we do as faculty. This year, I was honored to attend the end-of-year celebration of the Department of Theatre and Dance – a wonderfully entertaining and memorable evening that included a costumed coronavirus (Johann Stegmeir) chasing a classroom teacher dressed in full personal protective gear (Anne Van Gelder), accompanied by pursuit and escape music and lighting! Interspersed with departmental awards and costume changes with comedic skits (Johann and Anne), several graduating students gave memorable and heartwarming speeches about their experiences at UR, describing the guidance, education, sense of community, and developmental support they experienced along the way. It was a poignant reminder, as we find all across campus, of who we are when we chant “we are…UR” – we are a caring and committed group of talented artists and scholars who can, alone and together, have remarkable impact on students’ lives. Messaging like this about the positive experiences of our students occurs throughout the year, but it becomes more meaningful when we hear it from the students who are themselves in transition, and reflecting on their last four years—the students who will graduate next weekend.
Sometimes we don’t hear those messages clearly, though, as we are in the midst of our own transitions, or are too busy to reflect. It can be helpful, then, to remember that these transitions are part of the academic year cycle and to try to find the necessary time to reflect, to remember, and even, if necessary, to re-boot.
Unfortunately, re-booting isn’t as simple as selecting the “restart” button on your computer when it becomes stuck or frozen. Re-booting is going to be a series of actions over time to address pace, routines, and priorities. Some delays may occur until prior commitments are resolved but, when the time is right, re-booting allows greater intentionality and better integration of well-being into our lives. Re-booting is a necessary practice to avoid errors and malfunction when you finally re-start your computer. Likewise, a re-boot seems particularly important in the transition to summer 2022 and we encourage you to reach out to the Faculty Hub as part of your re-boot when the time is right for you. Some of the opportunities in this newsletter may speak to your interests and we always welcome your feedback about supporting teaching and scholarship when the time is right for you.
Best wishes for your transition to summer,
Associate Provost for Faculty, Director of the Teaching and Scholarship Hub, and Professor of Biology