It has been a beautiful spring in Ann Arbor, which I never take for granted. That said, many of my thoughts are already focused on the fall—all the rigorous preparations underway to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being for an in-person fall semester, and how good it will feel to have students, faculty, and staff back together on campus, all going well.
This spring we asked faculty, graduate students, and staff what they missed most about being on campus. “Teaching in person” topped the list, and here are two others that resonated:
“The excitement and hustle bustle of being on campus and working with students in person.”
“The energy that comes from groups of people working together. I miss the physical connection of being in one space together—being able to tangibly work together using the same books, papers, whiteboards, etc.—to create and support learning.”
This past year, we have learned a great deal about teaching, learning, and working together online; and as a community we have done impressively well in very difficult conditions. Now we’re eager to return to all the wonderful things that happen when we’re together on campus. There are the serendipitous encounters: students sitting next to each other in class who become study partners and then close friends; an accidental meeting with a professor that shifts into a discussion about classwork, research, or careers. There are the in-person research opportunities in labs, in archives, out in the field, and beyond. And our vibrant student groups—hundreds of them, from the Student Astronomical Society to optiMize—will be meeting again in person.
And yet here in LSA we aren't going "back to normal.” Instead, we are seizing this moment to lead a way forward, knowing we can do better than “normal.” The liberal arts are simply essential to meet this moment of global change, human crisis, and uncertainty together. We are reimagining the world through our research, tackling the wicked problems we face as a society. We are also reimagining how we learn and work together. Here in LSA we are deeply committed to residential education, and we are pushing to make that educational experience even richer and healthier, more inclusive, and more equitable, based on all the innovative experiments and lessons of the past year.
The liberal arts and sciences have always provided a foundation for a meaningful life and successful career. Over the past year I have been inspired again and again by the entire LSA community’s grit, resilience, creativity, and talent, as we have upheld our mission. We know there are still challenges ahead, here on campus and around the world. I am so proud that LSA students are exactly the kind of people who will rise to meet them.
Be well and Go Blue!
Anne Curzan, Dean
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
College has looked a lot different this year for first-year students like J.J., with many courses and activities meeting online. The LSA Annual Fund provides support for tuition, room, and board, as well as the technology and tools necessary to connect to classes and campus. Your support means LSA students won’t miss a beat.