Dear campus community,
Welcome to Fall 2020! As I said at our Opening Convocation, this year and this semester will be unlike any others. We managed our swift transition to remote education. We planned early for a remote Fall. We will work transparently to create a financially-sustainable budget. And, with the early, brutal arrival of wildfires, we will again plan for sustaining operations as declining air quality and power outages wrack California. I know I speak for many in the Gator family in wishing the best for those impacted by recent fires.
I have every confidence that SF State will, as it always has, meet the challenges we face this semester directly and collaboratively. Thanks to many, many weeks of planning by faculty, staff and administrators, we are as ready as we can be to ensure that our students have a good fall semester.
This summer more than 1,200 faculty took advantage of workshops offered by the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning to strengthen remote teaching and learning. Staff from all units spent the summer welcoming new students, advising and registering students, preparing to support remote instruction and work, and engaging in extensive planning to keep the small number of people on campus healthy and safe. I am deeply, deeply grateful to all.
I imagine we have all wrestled with how to describe what we are going through. Period of pandemic-driven temporary restrictions? The new normal? None seem appropriate. This has gone on for far too long to be described as merely temporary. It is certainly not a new normal. While some things may never return (handshaking?!?), we will again host thousands of in-person classes, events and celebrations. So, no please, today’s circumstances can never be “normal.” They are, however, constantly shifting. Rules change from day-to-day, and businesses (and other universities) open and close and then open and close again. How do we describe this? How do we manage it?
Several weeks ago, Wendy Tobias, director of the Disability Programs and Resource Center, hit upon just the right description — the New Now. It is always new and ever-changing. It encourages us to take this moment by moment. And, most importantly, it reminds us that this is just now, not forever. We will embrace the “now” and do the best we can for our students and for one another.
It will likely be another long few weeks. As always, take care of yourself and find pleasure and joy wherever and whenever you can. Remember, good enough is in fact good enough for the New Now.
Wishing all a healthy and good fall 2020!
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.