July 1, 2021
The challenges of the past year have taught us many things–from correct mask placement to Zoom etiquette. They taught us that IU Bloomington can respond effectively to a once-in-a-century calamity, as together we made our campus one of the safest places in our local community and state. The past year also taught us admiration and gratitude. We owe our successful and ongoing pandemic response to the campus community’s extraordinary ingenuity, dedication, and cool under pressure. We will soon be able to ease many of these precautions–and we can look forward to a lot less Zoom time–but I know that admiration and gratitude will stay with us.
There is another lesson that I hope will remain with us. As eager as we are to return to a normal, in-person campus life, we are not the same people we were 15 months ago. We have all experienced a traumatic event, we have lived with uncertainty and fear, we have cycled through disappointment and hope, and many of us have ourselves suffered from the pandemic or lost someone dear to us. Many members of our community have suffered an additional layer of trauma over the past, turbulent year: racism, violence, xenophobia, and other expressions of hatred and marginalization. It always bears repeating that hatred has no place on our campus, and we will redouble our efforts to combat it. Now is the time—as we come together again—to reach out, to support, and to practice the care and concern for one another that we have shown in responding to the pandemic.
In this, my first message as Interim Provost, I want to share my own gratitude for the opportunity to serve Indiana University in a new capacity, building on the great work of President Emeritus and University Chancellor Michael McRobbie and of Lauren Robel, our provost for the past 9 years. As a faculty or staff member here, you already know that IU Bloomington is a very special place. A kind of alchemy happens when diverse, talented, and inquisitive people from all over the world come together to teach and learn, and to research and create, in ways that spark both life-changing innovation and life-affirming arts and humanities. I know, from 23 years at this institution, that our community supports people in doing their best work.
The pandemic slowed—but it never stopped—the pace of our progress, and my first order of business is to reestablish our momentum and to chart exciting new directions for our campus’s dazzling future. Like you, I am looking forward with eager anticipation to working with President Pamela Whitten to advance her vision for Indiana University’s third century.
I will write again in August with more on our priorities for the upcoming academic year, and in the meantime, I wish you all a restorative July.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President