I’m writing this on the first day of classes after spring break, having been in the eye of the storm (and sometimes caught in the whirlwind) the past weeks as Colorado State University faculty and staff have been preparing for our transition to remote teaching and learning. My first thought is one of extreme gratitude – and amazement – as to how everyone has stepped up to the unique, once-in-a-lifetime challenge we all have. You have responded with grace, with expertise, and with lots of extra energy, and I am humbled by what I’ve been seeing and hearing “in the trenches” as our community has committed itself to maintaining our students’ learning momentum through the end of this semester (and beyond).
It’s doubly remarkable when you think that our faculty and staff are also dealing with challenges on the home front. Many of you are venturing into the home-schooling world as well, and/or have health challenges with family members. It’s inspiring to witness your dedication to your loved ones and the work you love, and I am honored to assist as I can in the effort.
We knew that we’d have to communicate and collaborate in this period in ways that we’ve not needed before. A great example is the cooperation that I’ve witnessed between The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT), Academic Computing and Networking Services (ACNS), and CSU Online. The leadership there – Gwen Gorzelsky, Brandon Bernier, and Chris LaBelle, respectively – and their teams have been acting as one to support all of us, and to provide the necessary training and infrastructure that our staff, faculty, and students require. I expect that this new level of integration will persist once this crisis has passed, and we’ll be a better university for it!
Provost Rick Miranda
Creativity and innovation
In every department, there are stories of faculty thinking creatively, innovating, and experimenting with new ideas and methods to reach our students. Our CURC Showcase in which we Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity will go on this spring – remotely!
Many have written to me expressing some natural apprehensions and some pleasure in realizing that this new situation offers access to additional useful learning tools and modalities. I am positive that we’ll be able to provide a much more interesting and capable learning environment to our students in the coming semesters, building on what we’ll have learned this spring. I know that the Deans are united in their commitment to not only making this semester work well, but to use the lessons we all will learn to accelerate our university’s progress.
We’ve also seen a wonderful outpouring of community-building from the campus. Several labs are able to contribute some needed extra masks and other equipment to the cause; the Veterinary Teaching Hospital has donated ventilators to help the county’s health providers; and our alumni and friends are stepping up with additional philanthropic support too. Our research efforts, notably our world-class infectious disease capabilities, are being brought to bear at both the national and state levels. We’re a big part of Fort Collins, Larimer County, and the state, and your land-grant university is willing and able to serve.
Thank you all again for your tireless efforts in getting us to this point in the semester. I look forward very much to seeing how Spring 2020 will end up and what we all will have learned together on this journey of continued access and excellence in teaching, learning and research. Knowing what I know about the team we have here, I have a lot of confidence that we’ll be successful.
There is naturally a lot of uncertainty and trepidation about what’s next, but I have a favorite aphorism that is applicable here: We can’t predict the future, we can only create it. Let’s create an amazing one, together.