My fellow TCers,

As we head into the weekend on this beautiful New York afternoon, I want first to express my gratitude – and admiration – to you for maintaining your focus and composure in adapting to our “new (but I hope, temporary) normal” of teaching, learning, and operating remotely.

Faculty have taken to digital instruction with skill, aplomb, and often enthusiasm. Students have weathered the disruptions to their routines and very lives with exceptional patience, understanding, resilience, and courage. And our staff! So many of you – particularly our teams in IT, student affairs, residential services, facilities, and public safety – have been working virtually 24/7 to keep both our College running well and our TC community safe and healthy. We are particularly grateful to those of you who continue to travel to our campus in order to maintain our facilities and serve the students who have no other place to go and still live in our residences. But all of you collectively have performed superbly to preserve our academic and administrative ecosystem.

I am also grateful that it appears that our work week will end without the need to report any new additional measures or restrictions. But I do want to share two updates on matters of great importance to our community.

Convocation 2020 update

Last week, it pained me very much to announce that we had to cancel our live, in-person Convocation ceremonies and festivities scheduled for May. While there is truly nothing like the real thing when it comes to this most joyous of TC celebrations, I am happy to report that we are planning to hold a virtual ceremony in May, featuring an address from one of our Medalists. I am so grateful to our graduating students and their loved ones for their unbelievable understanding and patience as we work out the details. As soon as we have plans in place, they will be the first to know. In addition, we are exploring feasible options for an in-person celebration for all of our 2020 graduates and their loved ones at some point later in this calendar year.

Our new “Come Together … Right Now … Virtually!” website

This week marked the debut of a TC website designed to inform, support, inspire, and strengthen our TC community and to bring the College’s richness and vitality to everyone. Along with providing helpful tips, tools, resources, and critical information to all of our stakeholders, our  “Come Together Right Now ... Virtually!” site will be your venue for original programming that will include live readings, musical performances, guided meditation sessions, and so much more – all featuring TC’s homegrown talent. I encourage you to visit the site as often as you can, since we will be adding more resources and programming week by week.

Closing thoughts

The transition to working remotely from our homes has brought some welcome benefits. Among them, it has allowed many of us to “see” more of one another and get to know one another better. The team building alone will stand the College in good stead when we resume our normal routines.

But this transition has also brought unavoidable stresses to our lives and our families – and potential risks to our own health. It’s important that we are mindful of one another - especially of our colleagues with infants, toddlers and young children. It’s also important that we take care of ourselves. So, please: Take the time to get away from your laptops, and do what you need to do to rest and recharge. We have been sprinting for the past several weeks, and we need to settle into a more sustainable rhythm. We all need to pace ourselves – and be good to ourselves.

I wish you all a restful, restorative weekend.

Tom Signature

Thomas Bailey
President, Teachers College