|Dear Faculty Colleagues,|
The past eight months have shown us that our individual and collective efforts, both large and small, far outweigh the challenges we have faced in dealing with a formidable and unpredictable situation. You have been asked to teach our students in a difficult time, and it is greatly acknowledged and appreciated. I encourage you to pause a moment and take in with deep satisfaction and pride your successes as educators and stewards of the overall well-being of the University community.
There are many lessons learned, and while the Spring 2021 semester still holds uncertainties, we can be certain that we have the skills, resources, and commitment to help our students learn, grow, and prepare for a future filled with new and emerging needs. Please know that I am devoted to finding solutions that support your pedagogical and research efforts. More importantly, I want you to know that your well-being is of the upmost importance to us. Without faculty support, none of what we have accomplished thus far would have been possible.
It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention and the challenges of COVID-19 are no exception. This is true throughout the academy in our teaching, research, and scholarship. I would like to share with you two exciting examples of the pandemic driving creativity and innovation in the arts and the vital role of the arts in bringing people together in solidarity and purpose.
The first is a virtual exhibit at the University’s Wynwood Gallery titled “Pandemic | Miami Corona Project” presented by the Department of Art and Art History and featuring artist and professor of practice Xavier Cortada, who has created a series of compelling videos that remind the community of the dangers of the pandemic and how we can all join efforts to protect one another.
The second is a star-studded Nurse Heroes Live! digitally broadcast concert this Thursday, Nov. 26, which will feature Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg as music director and the recorded musical talents of our very own Frost Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and with performances by Celine Dion, Carol King, Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, and Pitbull, among others, the concert will help raise funds for scholarships for frontline nurses and their children.
To paraphrase one of President Frenk’s pillars of the Roadmap to Our New Century—we are not only learning to do things differently, the COVID-19 pandemic has impelled us to do things better. A University of Miami education is key to generating knowledge and solutions and to guiding their application in principled and just ways.
These unprecedented times have affected all of us in different ways. Over the next couple of months, I hope you will reserve time for yourselves in order to rest and recharge after what has undoubtedly been a challenging year. We are all educators, researchers, and scholars, but we are also parents, relatives, partners, and friends. May the break give us a chance to reconnect and recommit ourselves to making sure that all of our communities are safe as we enjoy this holiday season and prepare for the Spring 2021 semester.