Welcome to Spring Semester!
The below email was sent by President Cassidy on Jan. 17, 2023
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Greetings to all on the first day of the spring semester! I hope that everyone found time for rest and rejuvenation over the winter break. While the campus has been quiet in most ways over the past few weeks, staff in a number of departments—notably Facilities and LITS—have been hard at work on projects that are difficult to take on when classes are in session and the campus is full. I am grateful for all of their efforts.
I want to highlight a few news items and upcoming activities as the spring semester begins.
Some of you may have seen The Seven-Day Happiness Challenge published by The New York Times’s newsletter “The Well.” If not, you can check it out here—not only because building our capacity for happiness is a great idea (especially in the winter!), but because the Challenge is inspired by an important new book co-authored by Professor of Psychology Marc Schulz with his colleague Dr. Robert Waldinger on an eight-decade study of adult well-being.
I am delighted to report that Bryn Mawr received a new grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through its Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) initiative to make introductory science courses more inclusive. Bryn Mawr faculty will be working in a Learning Community Cluster with approximately 15 other institutions focused on the content of the introductory science experience. Congratulations to Associate Professor of Biology Greg Davis and his colleagues on this successful application.
Our strategic planning working groups resume work this week with the beginning of classes. On Wednesday, January 25 at 10 a.m. in Great Hall, leaders of the four groups will join me for an all-campus town hall to update students, faculty, and staff about work to date, answer current questions, and share their plans to offer other opportunities for campus input later in the semester. I hope many of you will be able to attend and to participate in discussions later this semester.
We can look forward to a variety of exciting events this spring, and I want to highlight only a few of these here.
- A highlight of the programs taking place during Black History Month in February will be keynote speaker Dr. Patrice N. Douglas, a BIPOC mental health expert and licensed therapist, whose talk “Why I Am Not Allowed to See the Color Red” will take place on Tuesday, February 28. You can find more details here.
- Bethany Collins, a multidisciplinary conceptual artist who explores the intersection of language and race, will be in residency beginning in mid-March in a program sponsored by the Center for Visual Culture and Special Collections.
- On March 23, I will host the first of what I hope will be an annual or semi-annual series of distinguished visitors in a program named Advancing Inclusive Excellence. Our first guests will be national leaders of successful efforts to advance inclusion and success in STEM. Tuajuanda Jordan, a BMC trustee and President of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Freeman Hrabowski, President Emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will hold a conversation open to all campus members on inclusion and excellence in STEM disciplines. More information forthcoming!
- Last semester, five artists were selected as finalists in the ARCH Project, Bryn Mawr’s partnership with Monument Lab that will commission an artwork or monument that responds to the question, “What stories are missing from Bryn Mawr?” On March 30, the artists will present their proposals to the campus and the Artist Advisory Committee; look out for more details after spring break.
- The President’s Office continues its tradition of hosting lectures given by Bryn Mawr faculty who have been awarded endowed chairs. This semester I am delighted to recognize Mary E. Garrett Alumnae Professor and Chair of Literatures in English Jamie Taylor, whose talk will take place on Tuesday, April 4. A community invitation will go out after spring break.
April will bring to fruition a yearlong project led by Catherine Conybeare (Classics) and Catharine Slusar (Theater). Greek Drama/ Black Lives, supported by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, is helping Bryn Mawr to rebuild ties with both the Honors Program of the Community College of Philadelphia and the EM Stanton School in Philadelphia through engaging a classical play- Medea- from contemporary perspectives. With support from the grant, Conybeare and Slusar commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames to adapt Medea to lift up issues of race and familial conflict. Spring activities include a course on adapting myths in which CCP and Stanton students will make up half of the class and a production of James’s adaptation featuring students from the BiCo, CCP, and Stanton working with award-winning actor Akeem Davis (auditions are the week of 1/26). What a creative and exciting enterprise!
I look forward to a busy and rich semester.
With all best wishes,