Fall approaches and the Graduate School is busy and excited. Throughout this newsletter you’ll find lots of information about our learning community including alumni, student and faculty updates, excerpts from my 2021 Commencement speech, and lots of news and announcements.
I am thrilled to share with everyone that we are celebrating our 20th year. Cohort 1 started in January 2002. Now, with close to 300 graduates, 140 current students, extraordinary faculty and amazing staff, it is really hard for me to recognize the dream became an inspiring reality. I want to thank each and every one of you, the readers of this GSLC newsletter, for believing in us and trusting us. We are excited to be launching a special “200 by 20” campaign, to raise $200,000 this 20th year. We are well on our way (p. 10).
We are also currently conducting our 10-year Comprehensive Review, which involves data gathering, analysis, and lots of new learning. This is a critical juncture for us. First, as we pivot to our third decade, we have a generational shift as the founding faculty are or will be retiring in the next few years. Not only does this raise questions of succession planning but from a less transactional and more transformational lens, it raises the opportunities ahead to continue to be on the edge as an experimental and exemplary doctoral program. We have lots of interest in exploring these dimensions of our third decade. And this links with our second area of significant curiosity as part of this Comprehensive. Through a lens of listening to our alumni and students and faculty, looking at data from enrollment to graduation rates, from hiring to nurturing faculty, in what ways have we been successful as a pro-inclusive and anti-racist learning community, and where are our opportunities for further growth? We will keep you posted on our learning (pp. 8-9).
And then there’s the faculty, our amazing faculty. As you all know by now, both Jon Wergin and Elizabeth Hollway, founding faculty, are phasing into retirement. And Carol Baron, who has been with the program close to 15 years, will also be retiring at the end of this year. So, in the past two years, two new Core Faculty have joined us, Beth Mabry and Harriet Schwartz, who have brought so much expertise and commitment to the program. And I’m pleased to report that we will be hiring two additional fulltime Core Faculty for next year. The search is well underway and as I write this column, we have over 450 applications. It feels so good to be so wanted! Finalist interviews will be held in March, hopefully at the first face-to-face residency in two years!
And that brings up my final thought for this column. I recognize the support for and disappointment caused by our decision to hold the Fall residency and this year’s Commencement Ceremony virtually. I believe this was absolutely the right decision at this phase of the country’s pandemic. I don’t doubt it. But I also recognize the disappointment in many who were planning on walking at the Commencement Ceremony or meeting up with cohort members in Yellow Springs. We will do our best to make this up to you in some way in the future! In the meantime, you’ll find an edited version of my Commencement speech (pp. 3-7).
Please know I’m thinking about you all and hoping you are safe and healthy, and finding ways to continue to ‘win those victories for humanity.’
Laurien Alexandre, PhD
Dean of Graduate School of Leadership & Change