September 6, 2016
Happy 2016-2017 academic year! On behalf of my Loyola colleagues, I extend a warm welcome to our new undergraduate and graduate students and to our new faculty and Academic Affairs staff.
As I shared in my blog
this summer, I spent nearly three weeks traveling in South and Southeast Asia and I look forward to sharing my impressions and thoughts about the significance of global citizenship later in the semester. My colleagues at Sanata Dharma University, the only Jesuit Catholic University in Indonesia, talked at length about their commitment to being locally grounded, but at the same time globally committed to questions that face many communities today. For example, at Sanata Dharma’s International Psychology conference, People’s Search for Meaning through Ethnicity, Culture, and Religion: Psychology’s Role in Handling Conflicts and Sustaining Harmony in Multicultural Society
, some of the focus was on the role that community memories or historical narratives play in handling conflict and in healing practices. I was particularly struck by a discussion on ways of fostering safe and effective health care interactions through continuing to unmask othering practices and transforming health care environments to support truly equitable health care.
My travels and the rich dialogue at this conference reminded me of the challenges and opportunities we face in working to create inclusive and effective learning environments. With this in mind, it was great to engage with you at the annual Fall Teaching Enhancement workshop on managing conflicts around race and other social identities in the college classroom. The workshop gave us the opportunity to learn with and from each other as we continue to think about the needs of our students and our best hopes for them in the classroom, in connection with the city of Baltimore, and the larger global community.
I always look forward to September as it means new beginnings and new opportunities. This is a time of meeting new first year students, new graduate students, teaching a new course or trying a new pedagogical approach, posing new scholarly questions, or taking on new responsibilities. Each new academic year is also a time of transition and possibilities as we recommit to traditions that serve us well and always seek new ways to be responsive to the world.
Looking ahead, I hope you will join your faculty colleagues for those recurring academic events when we come together as a community, such as this Friday’s first faculty assembly, the Honors Convocation on Sept 30, and other recurring academic traditions. This year, I am particularly excited about the Oct 27 launch of the new edition of the Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education
from the Commitment to Justice Committee featuring short essays by our own Loyola colleagues. I look forward to the results of the strategic planning process, ongoing conversations about the future of our undergraduate curriculum and our graduate vision, and opportunities to come together as scholars across disciplines and divisions.
I wish each of you the very best as you transition from the rhythms of summer to the rhythms of the academic year. I am grateful for all you do to support one another, to teach and mentor our graduate and undergraduate students, to collaborate with one another, and to prepare our students to engage for and with the city of Baltimore and communities throughout the world.
Best wishes for a wonderful 2016-2017 academic year,