Fall Countdown.

Like many of you, most of my life has been dictated by an academic calendar. Fall means the start of a new year and an intense, revved-up pace after a spacious and more leisurely summer. As a former runner, fall is the mad dash at the start of the race before settling into a manageable rhythm for the long haul.

Predictably, this fall quarter started with a bang for me but is only now, in week 9, starting to let up. So what have I been up to? I have a quirky habit of counting random factoids: number of stairs in my house (18), walk time to Suzzallo for coffee (4 minutes). In that spirit, here is a partial list of how I spent time this fall:

  • ~300 meetings
  • 30 Trader Joes frozen lunches (I highly recommend “butter chicken” and “vegetable biryani”) 
  • 29 yoga classes
  • 4 trips: Florida (deans meeting), Berkeley (for fun), China (deans meeting), Washington, D.C. (deans meeting) 
  • 3 Saturday events (Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) breakfast, Renton Innovation Zone (RIZ) Kickoff Event, Ibram Kendi luncheon
  • 2 “galas"
  • 1 dean search (Evans School for Public Policy and Governance; I’m chairing the committee)  

As for highlights, here are a few:

  • A candidate for one of our faculty searches remarked that our faculty are “really smart….as well as kind.” Maybe this should be a new category for U.S. News & World Report to consider.
  • At both the Florida and China meetings I was asked to present about EduTalks. We are inspiring many colleagues across the nation (and now around the world) to replicate our event — about a dozen by my count.
  • In Washington, D.C. (AAU deans of education), we talked about the importance of hiring and retaining stellar, diverse faculty — our college was spotlighted for its best practices.
  • Honoring current and former students, Christian Love and Terryl Ross (’03), at the MAP breakfast.
  • Being honored by the Puget Sound Business Journal for providing leadership in the region (my mother, who hates traveling, even came up for the festivities).

All in all, a pretty good start to the “new” year, but I am seriously looking forward to winter term, traveling less, and spending more time with faculty and students. Winter is when I meet with junior faculty for annual check ins. I also began a practice last year of hosting coffee gatherings with senior lecturers — Timothy is working on scheduling them during winter as well. I also plan to visit with each area in the coming months to hear how things are going. Looking ahead, here are a few other items and events of relevance to our community:

  • Miller Hall refresh? No promises, but Miller Hall has been mentioned repeatedly in high level conversations concerning “capital planning and improvements.” Facilities has reached out to the Dean’s Office to schedule the first of what will, hopefully be, the start of a Miller Hall renewal plan. Stay tuned for updates.
  • Save the date for our next EduTalks, February 27th at the new Burke Museum. This year’s theme, "Tipping Points: Leveraging Change in Education,” plays off of this year’s Research That Matters and the lineup includes some of the featured faculty as well as Seattle Superintendent Denise Juneau. The time is TBD but likely late afternoon/early evening.
  • Population Health. In 2017, our President named “Population Health” as a university-wide initiative and priority for UW. The first few years of the initiative were focused on funding and launching the new building (along 15th Ave) but is now shifting to a different stage. There will be new opportunities for our faculty to explore ways to authentically engage with this initiative. Again, stay tuned for updates and invitations to participate.

Finally, I hope the break this week gives you an opportunity to slow down and be with people you love. We are over the hump and the quarter’s finish line is in sight!