At the Old Well, in the "before times." (photo by Jeyhoun Allebaugh)
One year in
On March 1, 2020, I was named dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, after serving a year as interim dean. I had no idea how radically the world would shift before the month was even over, and how my job since then would be dominated by responding to the coronavirus and its near- and long-term effects on our College community.
It has been inspiring to see the way our faculty and staff rose to the crisis and went the extra mile for our students over these past 13 months. We are discovering that some of the innovations and technological changes that were adapted out of necessity are useful investments for the Carolina of tomorrow. This spring, after a delayed start, we returned to some on-campus teaching — about 30% of students in the College have at least one in-person class — with plans for a socially distanced May Commencement in Kenan Stadium for our graduating seniors. We expect the fall semester to look much closer to “normal,” although if the coronavirus has taught us anything, it is to not get too comfortable with predictions.
I will never again take for granted small pleasures like walking through a bustling, vibrant campus, attending a concert in Moeser Auditorium or a performance at PlayMakers, or taking a sip from the Old Well on my way to lunch on Franklin Street. I look forward to when these are once again everyday occurrences, and I especially look forward to our being together again, in-person, as a Carolina community.