Sent on behalf of Jeremy Teitelbaum, Professor of Mathematics and Interim Provost:
Welcome to the new academic year. I hope you had a great summer!
The school year began with the opening of the university’s new downtown Hartford campus. This beautiful new facility offers students and faculty the opportunity to work and study in an exciting urban neighborhood. The significance of this opening was highlighted on August 23rd by a program of speakers at the opening ceremony, which was led by Governor Malloy and included Representative Larson, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and many other dignitaries from state government. The new dorms at the Stamford campus are now open; the new Engineering and Science Building is in the process of opening; and the Innovation Partnership Building (the “tech park”) will open in stages starting later this Fall. All this is concrete evidence of UConn’s continuing growth as a leading research university.
This Fall, we are joined by over 100 new faculty, 3650 new freshman at Storrs, 1580 at the regional campuses, 1100 transfers, and 2682 graduate students. Over half of this year’s entering students were in the top ten percent of their high school class, and they come from 162 of the 169 Connecticut towns and cities, as well as 36 states, Puerto Rico, and 39 countries.
Following a search during the spring and early summer, we have recruited an outstanding new Dean of our School of Nursing, Deborah Chyun,who will join us from NYU mid-year. There is a search in progress for a new Dean of the University Library to replace Martha Bedard, who retired over the summer. Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, of History and El Instituto, has assumed the Directorship of the Hartford Campus in its new location, and Nina Heller has returned full-time to serve as Dean of the School of Social Work after a stint as interim director. And, of course, the search for a new, permanent Provost, which began mid-summer, is now well underway.
The Provost’s office team has added Professor Jeffrey Shoulson, holder of the Konover Chair in Judaic Studies, and a faculty member in English, Literature, Culture, and Languages, and Judaic Studies, to be the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives. Among a range of other responsibilities, Jeffrey will be taking a look at the university’s approach to supporting interdisciplinary work and making recommendations on matters such as hiring, evaluation, and promotion and tenure to make sure that we properly value those faculty engaged in such work.
Stanley Fish once articulated a fundamental principle of academic life: ‘no university is capable of following its own policies.’ Nevertheless, we must make every effort to do so, and to that end I recommend that you review our policies on:
Faculty Leaves (http://provost.uconn.edu/faculty-and-staff-resources/leaves-of-absence/);
Emergency Leaves (http://policy.uconn.edu/2012/12/19/provosts-policy-on-faculty-leaves/);
Emergency Closings (http://policy.uconn.edu/2011/10/27/emergency-closing-policy-2010-2011/);
Syllabi (including absences due to religious observances) (http://provost.uconn.edu/faculty-and-staff-resources/syllabi-references/).
I also suggest you review the university’s policies on accommodations for students with disabilities, by consulting the CSD website (http://csd.uconn.edu/) and its faculty and staff resources page (http://csd.uconn.edu/facultystaff-resources/).
In light of the tragic events in Charlottesville, let us also find clarity in an unequivocal condemnation of racism and anti-semitism, and to join with President Herbst in rededicating ourselves to making UConn a community founded on, in her words, “dignity, compassion, and respect” that “stands firmly for the virtues of democracy, equality, civil discourse, and human rights.”
Have a great year!
For more information, contact: Office of the Provost at firstname.lastname@example.org