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Dear Colleagues:

We are moving toward our fall semester at a moment of profound change and uncertainty. Cases of COVID-19 are rising in our state and in many states across the country. The inequities of our racialized society are being challenged and upended through protest and dialogue. Every committee meeting, town hall, webinar, and one-on-one conversation seems characterized by uncertainty embedded in a challenging and difficult history. We are asked to trust a science that changes daily, and believe that all on our campus will make choices in accordance with that science. The calculus between anxiety and what is rational, optimism versus wishful thinking often feels to me like an elusive formula. And yet, the semester opens on August 10 and we must prepare together. Truly, this is not a summer for rest. As faculty we are being asked to prepare as never before for students, both physically and virtually, coming to our campus.

July 1 marked my first day as faculty chair and on July 13 I’ll preside over our next meeting of the Faculty Executive Committee. At that meeting, we will receive the latest updates from our administration, ask questions, and express concerns and ideas. Another Community Conversation for Faculty is also being planned for July. Further information on these meetings will be forthcoming.

As your new faculty chair, I believe it is my job to listen to and understand faculty perspectives, prompt maximum transparency from our administration, and provide forums for conversation and information sharing. Although our University has been through challenging times before, it is hard to imagine a time in which honest dialogue, good information, and constant communication were more important than they are now.

To that end, please contact me at with your concerns, ideas, and questions. I take every person and point of view seriously. With a faculty as large as ours, we will not always speak with one voice. But every voice is important. We get to better results when all ideas are on the table. Pull up a chair.


Mimi V. Chapman, MSW, PhD
Chair of the Faculty
Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor for Human Service Policy Information
Associate Dean for Doctoral Education
School of Social Work

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