As I read the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and other news feeds, I cannot help but feel immense pride for what we are doing at the University of Lynchburg. I’m honored to be working alongside students, faculty, and staff who are dedicated to academic excellence and providing and receiving the Lynchburg experience.
Our student development team, residence life staff, and especially our health center staff have been working tirelessly to care for our students affected by COVID-19. I’m proud of our housekeeping staff for keeping us safe and the dining staff who are delivering meals, not just in the dining hall, but to all of the students who are in quarantine and isolation around campus.
I’m especially proud and gratified to see that the number of students in quarantine and isolation has dropped significantly. How significantly?
You know I’m a data geek? Provost Allison Jablonski is also! Two data-driven people as president and provost — what fun! Every morning I read our COVID report, and every morning I add the new data to my graph. Today (Friday) it looks like this:
I’m very appreciative of our campus community for continuing to do the right thing for the right reasons. Every day we continue to take care of one another, take our temperatures, physically distance, wear our masks, wash our hands, and avoid gatherings — this has brought us to where we are today and will get us to the successful conclusion of the semester at Thanksgiving. We all want to be on campus with our friends, faculty, and staff. Let’s keep up the good work.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without strong leadership, innovative ideas, and adaptability from our students and their families, faculty, and staff. A liberal arts education prepares you to adapt, to problem-solve, to think of new and effective ways of doing things, and to be aware of our differences and our similarities. We are Hornet Strong because of how you are using your liberal arts essential skills.
Why do I call them essential skills and not “soft” skills? Because there is nothing soft about them. Employers are looking for people who can use data, apply reason, think critically, and communicate with clarity, respect, and knowledge. They are looking for Lynchburg students with those essential skills!
I am always looking forward (while maintaining our focus on a safe and healthy campus), and I want to hear your thoughts: What is our beloved University going to look like in the future? What have we learned as we pivoted from face-to-face learning to hybrid and online? What lessons do we take from the pandemic and the impact it has had on our students, faculty, staff, alumni/donors, parents, and community?
What do you think?
I want to hear from you on these questions.
Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar is the 11th president of the University of Lynchburg. She began her term on Aug. 1, 2020. Red Chair Reflections lets her share her thoughts on what it’s like to serve the Lynchburg community — both on and off campus.