May 6, 2022 – Aron Sousa, MD
Welcome to graduation season, the best season of the academic year! This weekend, the university celebrates the graduation of undergraduate and graduate students. Our MPH, MA and MS students had the chance to walk this morning, and the PhD students are walking in the afternoon. It’s always a wonderful day – especially so this year we’re together, unlike 2020, and indoors, unlike the windy parking lot graduations of 2021.
Graduating with any degree last year was a real accomplishment for the university; students and families were obviously grateful for last year’s ceremonies. This year, we are at the Breslin Center for all our graduation ceremonies. It is a joy for me to see and shake hands with masters and doctoral students as we celebrate their graduations in front of the university.
It was also a week of ceremonies and strategic planning. I had the pleasure of attending the inauguration of FRIB, the celebration of the Academic Affairs Retreat this spring, the inaugural ceremony of the Finding Joy in Teaching Fellows, and the Task Force on Strategic Planning of the college which held its third meeting last night. The return of receptions and ceremonies is a welcome sign that we are moving from pandemic to endemic COVID-19, but it challenges both my timing and my will at the buffet.
The college has two strategic planning efforts. The first is the MSU 2030 strategic plan, and in particular the pillar of sustainable health. It is very important for our teams to make one-page proposals before the June 1st deadline. I discussed this yesterday at the college leadership meeting with presidents and directors and later today at the spring faculty meeting. I believe that our future proposals for the Global Impact Initiative, 1855 faculty, and other academic resources will be stronger if the proposal has undergone a strategic planning effort.
As part of the college’s strategic planning, the task force reviewed feedback from focus groups and stakeholder interviews collected by our consultants. Additionally, I presented my own strategic concerns to the task force, and you can see the basis of those concerns in the recording of the faculty spring meeting yesterday afternoon. (Check out the awards section beginning at about 90 minutes.) The work of the Strategic Planning Task Force will continue throughout the summer, and we await a ready document for faculty comment and approval. , students and staff in the fall.
As the academic year draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the work you do every day to support our students, faculty, staff, and community partners. It’s what you do that makes college such a special place to learn and work. You have my deepest appreciation for your talent, hard work and focus.
Every year has its own challenges and, certainly, the last two years have been almost unprecedented in their social and health challenges. I would like to think that next year will be obviously easier, but the events of the past month suggest otherwise. We will get through the next year together because of the great work you all do, your dedication to those we serve, and the love you show for one another.
Serve people with you,
Dean Aron Sousa, MD