This e-mail was sent to all CALS faculty, staff and graduate student employees on 8/31/2021.
Dear CALS colleagues,
At the end of every August, it exciting to see the campus coming to life for fall semester. This year, in addition to the arrival of students, many colleagues are also returning to campus after working remotely. While I love this annual upsurge in energy, this year I greet it with some mixed emotions.
That is because I have told the provost, who is the chief academic officer for the university and also my boss, that this will be my last year serving as dean. Being dean of CALS at UW is a privilege and a joy, because of the wonderful people who work here and what you achieve on a daily basis. I still remember how excited I was to receive the invitation to serve as dean, and the experience has not disappointed. In fact, what CALS has accomplished over the past decade has exceeded my expectations. The impact of your efforts on advancing knowledge, providing opportunities for our students, and on the wider world is truly extraordinary.
There are several reasons that this will be a good time for a transition to a new dean. Over the course of the next year, I hope we will see the pandemic truly vanquished and the challenges of the preceding two years solidly behind us. UW has gone through financial challenges, but today is on very solid ground. As a college, we have undertaken some important strategic efforts that are coming to fruition in various ways. Plus, we are completing a major fundraising campaign by exceeding our $150M goal by more than 10%.
All that said, this is not the time for a valedictory speech. Provost Scholz has said he will launch the search for the next dean this fall (University Communications will issue a news release on Wednesday), and we can expect to welcome that individual sometime next summer. So in the intervening months before I pass the baton, I have a number of goals that I am still working hard to advance, and my attention is fully focused on the health of the college.
I’ll tell you what is most important among those goals – to enjoy and celebrate CALS, and to thank the members of our community and our partners for supporting the important work of the college. I hope you will find ways to help with that. It is going to be a very fun undertaking, and I plan to enjoy every minute.
With appreciation and best wishes for a great beginning to fall semester,