Dear members of the Drew community,
Welcome to the 2020–2021 academic year—and, students and faculty, congratulations on making it through your first week of classes. I offer a special word of welcome to our new students and faculty members. This fall, I am also new, and I have enjoyed getting to know students, faculty, and staff over these past few weeks. In a typical year, I would be doing that in person, greeting our newest community members and learning from our returners. However, this is anything but a typical fall semester.
No one imagined that we would be beginning the new school year in this way—missing face-to-face reunions and the beginnings of new friendships “in the flesh,” missing sports play and activity meetings in person. As we adjust or readjust to learning and teaching from home, I have quickly come to understand that Drew’s faculty and staff are seriously dedicated to delivering the same rigorous, engaged education you have come to expect, no matter the modality.
As we head into this all-virtual semester, Drew is building on the solid foundation laid last semester after a rapid adjustment to remote learning and living, both in the classroom and out. You can all look back at spring 2020 with pride:
Professors put students in a place to succeed among the pandemic turmoil.
Alums pitched in to keep networking opportunities accessible.
Faculty provided their expertise through virtual presentations to students, parents, and alums to put the pandemic into context.
Through the new Religion and Global Health Forum, the Drew Theological School faculty hosted multiple virtual community conversations about global health, theological education, and COVID-19.
From last semester through the summer, Drew faculty and staff have been learning, planning, and implementing virtual learning tools, techniques, and strategies to ensure that our students receive a true robust Drew education in this remote learning environment. Our Student Activities team will keep our student community connected and engaged—no matter where you are—with a full slate of virtual community-building events in the works. I am truly looking forward to seeing our whole community in action.
I am grateful for the vast amount of work done by our dedicated faculty and staff to bring Drew to this point. As your new president, I am already proud of this community and its deep commitment to liberal arts and theological education. I offer my congratulations on the latest successes reflected in Drew’s latest ranking from The Princeton Review, as well as the second-year-in-a-row Fiske ranking as a Top 10 Best Buy. As we work to build on that success, I anticipate many fruitful conversations via a variety of platforms; I am eager to hear the voices of our whole community.
I look forward to meeting you at my virtual open office hours, which will be scheduled starting in mid-September. Look for notice soon in Drew Today.
Best wishes for a successful fall semester,