Well, we are almost there. Its finals week for an entire academic year with COVID-19. Its been a year that has challenged us all to different degrees.
I know some of you have really struggled with motivation in the online environment and perhaps even lost family and friends to the virus. To those of you, I am so sorry for your loss.
Yet others were more inconvenienced than struck with tragedy. Whatever your situation, I hope that you can reflect on this year and feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ve made it through a global pandemic with all of its downstream challenges. I wish I could congratulate you face-to-face with a handshake and free snacks. Especially in a pandemic, we all could use free snacks.
While many of you know, I also want to let you know that this year marks an ending for me just as it does for those of you graduating. After 7 years in my position (including 2 full “terms” plus another year to help with COVID planning), I am stepping down and returning to a teaching and research role. The Tippie College of Business, aided by a committee of faculty and staff with input from student leaders, is searching for my replacement as I write this. We hope an appointment will be made by the end of this month. The program and the office is in great hands, whoever the replacement turns out to be, because of the remarkable staff, students, and faculty leaders we have here.
It has been an honor serving as your Associate Dean, and working with student leadership in particular. I mentioned this to the Tippie Senators, and I will repeat it again here — many of our best ideas for how to improve Tippie come from YOU. Your energy and insight are catalysts for change in our college and, frankly, in our broader communities as well. I encourage you to keep using your voice to propose solutions to challenges that we face, big and small. You may not always be met with agreement but you will learn in the process and you can be confident that you are doing the right thing by speaking up.
In that vein, I’d welcome any parting suggestions or feedback you have, positive or negative. Email is usually best, but if you’d like to chat, email and we can set up a time (firstname.lastname@example.org). I admire each of you for your persistence, as imperfect as it may have been at times. Perfect should never be our goal; we should strive to be true to ourselves and make progress making ourselves and our world a little better every day.
Finally, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn with you. I have learned so much working this in role. I remain committed to Tippie, University of Iowa, and the state of Iowa and will use my voice to continue to make a stronger, more supportive, and more inclusive community.
Best wishes to you as you finish finals and head into the summer months and toward whatever next challenge awaits you. I wish you health, happiness, and peace of mind that you are in the right place, doing the right things taking steps toward a better tomorrow.
– Ken Brown