Dear Members of the Teachers College Community,
By now, many of you probably have caught the hugely popular show “SGN” (Some Good News) on YouTube. Produced by actor/filmmaker John Krasinski (best known for his role on the TV series The Office), SGN features poignant and uplifting stories, humorous comedy routines and social media segments, and interviews with his friends.
Now more than ever, we all can use good news, uplifting stories, and events that bring our community closer together.
As we head into the weekend, I’d like to share our own version of some good news and stories.
A Date Set for Convocation
This morning, I shared the news with our graduating students that we will hold our virtual Convocation ceremony on May 20 at 8 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. This ceremony will include nearly all the elements of the traditional Convocation ceremonies, including student speeches and musical performances – with a few new and exciting additions. It breaks my heart that our graduates won’t have the opportunity next month to pose for family photos, exchange hugs and high-fives, and bid their proper farewells in person. As a parent, I can imagine the keen disappointment and sense of loss that our graduates’ loved ones must be feeling. But I can assure everyone that we will do our best to provide a fitting and joyous celebration of our graduates’ extraordinary accomplishments.
Coming together for uplifting stories
A new feature in our Coming Together site is “TC Heroes,” in which we profile colleagues who are quietly going to extraordinary lengths to keep the College safe, strong, and functioning well. No group of fellow TCers has earned the mantle of heroes more than the subjects of today’s lead story: our colleagues in public safety and facilities. As many of us have sheltered in our apartments and houses while settling (more or less) comfortably into our daily work routines, it’s easy to lose sight of our officers and facilities crews who are putting their health on the line each day in order to keep our campus clean and residents safe. It’s worth getting to know them and learning more about the work they’re doing now. I hope you’ll read all about these heroes, and look for meaningful ways to let them know how thankful you are for their service and sacrifice.
Coming Together Events
We are now winding up our first month of offering live programming, news and views, and helpful information and resources through our Come Together Right Now Virtually site. As the buzz about the site has spread, it’s been great to see more of us showing up to enjoy and support our performers and presenters in real time. Every day brings an exciting array of new and recurring programming, and it’s worth taking a moment each day to check out what’s coming up. Next week, for example, TC will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with a discussion of themed, crowd-sourced art led by Professor Oren Pizmony-Levy and his team at the newly launched Center for Sustainable Futures. Now’s the time to send drawings, photos, or poems created to commemorate Earth Day to TCSustainability@tc.columbia.
I’m also personally looking forward to hosting a live, virtual fireside chat for our alumni and all members of our TC community next Friday at 3 p.m. While I will begin by sharing news and important updates, I will devote most of the hour to answering questions from the audience.
Finally, today we bid a fond and cordial farewell to our departing Vice Provost Enrollment Management Amy Greenstein, whose outstanding work has left TC better positioned to maintain our competitive edge in what will be an even tougher and more unpredictable environment. While a national search for a permanent successor is underway, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Amy Anderson as our interim Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. The NEW Amy brings to TC more than three decades of leadership experience in enrollment, admissions, and financial aid, including 25 years as the Dean of Enrollment Management at the Manhattan School of Music. She already has been working closely with TC over the past month, and has played a key role in ensuring a smooth, seamless transition.
Since we all have transitioned to operating remotely, I find that I have never looked forward to my weekends – or appreciated the value of unplugging from our laptops and smartphones – as much as I do now. There will be plenty of work awaiting us, and new challenges facing us, when we log back on Monday. Please, take care of yourselves and give yourselves the break you’ve earned – and need.
President, Teachers College