Fall 2020 Final Plenary Address
It may feel challenging – in fact downright exhausting to believe that we are at the final plenary of 2020 and back in stay-at/home orders from Governor Newsom. While the so called winter surge was expected, the number of cases and the consequences are overwhelming to process and indeed have touched each of us in unique ways. While the order prioritizes public health and safety, I know that it will be especially challenging to be absent from whatever special traditions might normally characterize this time for you and your loved ones. It weighs heavy on my heart.
But through all of the wild waves of 2020 it’s so important to also note what we have already accomplished: we’ve passed flagship resolutions and policies on online education and third party proctoring that have become touchstones in a national conversation about equitable virtual education; we have passed policies to assist and support faculty development and life as they’ve performed the monumental task of redesigning top-of-the line curriculum for virtual environments; we’ve supported students in their quest to graduate under unimaginable conditions; and passed resolutions that recognize the vital role that research, scholarship and creative activity play in our endeavors and to amplify the incredible staff who, as frontline workers, keep the proverbial fires of this university bright. Through this, we’ve also been forward looking, developing new and incredible programs and curriculum to make the City’s University not just resilient but well suited to lead in the coming years; We’ve been involved in a massive effort to strategize budget alignment in a way that is as deliberate, fair, and transparent as possible. We’ve also led the system-wide charge to fight for faculty control of the curriculum while supporting the importance of Ethnic Studies curriculum and anti-racist organization across all areas of the university.
Now, more than ever, the value of shared governance and of this body is not only recognized but sought after. Our task has not been easy and even more waves, ones that we know and those we can’t yet name, will surely swell in our course. But, it is through your tireless commitment and hours of service and labor that we steady our collective ship.
I met with one of our Senators last week for lunch. Not to discuss some new agenda item but to learn about each other’s lives and to share in the excitement about our histories, our challenges, our aspirations, and what keeps us here at SF State. It’s not easy to set up zoom meetings, surely we are all zoomed out. But if you could take a moment, now and in the next few months, to reach out to someone who is new to our community, whom you haven’t met, or whom you’ve lost touch with, just to take a moment to see where the conversation goes, those flash points of contact can be incredibly important at maintaining the vital community that I am sure drew us here in the first place.
Finally, may you enjoy a much deserved rest, free of email and zoom and may you share in love and gratitude with those who are close to you, be it here or far away, so that we remember what really counts.