Message from the Dean – March 23, 2020

“Success is not final;
failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts.”
 – Winston Churchill

Dean Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen, Dean
College of Fine Arts & Design

As the tide of news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) swells around us, we are rightfully concerned about navigating through this odyssey. We became teachers because we care about students, and find joy in helping to guide their journeys. The maps in the logbook of their lives are now scattered and disordered. The compass is spinning. For some, the disorientation will be a missed ending; after hundreds of hours of preparation, the final performance, senior exhibition or recital now cancelled. For others, it will be a thwarted beginning, with internships, summer jobs, and hiring freezes dashing their plans against the rocks. Heartbreaking stories of lives disrupted, and lost opportunities are already filling social media pages.

As restaurants, malls, concerts halls, galleries, and other institutions shutter their doors, we worry for those who are left fending for themselves. Many of our students work multiple jobs in the gig economy, and those jobs have vanished. We worry for friends, family members, coworkers, or anyone impacted by this pandemic. The truth is, everyone is affected. Faculty are working diligently to develop and test options to complete this semester using tools and software that are in many cases new to them. Staff are working in close support of these efforts. Students are caught between the Scylla and Charybdis, forced to make decisions prioritizing housing, food, car payments and rent. Many of our non-traditional students find themselves at home with children who are no longer able to attend school or daycare. New challenges abound in the alternative learning environment.

We have a shared responsibility to make decisions that will ensure the health and well-being of our students as well as our staff and faculty, and everyone who is dependent on any of these people. Our priority will be to mentor our students through to the end of the semester, making the changes necessary for them to complete the final segment of this journey safe and healthy.

Supporting our students today is our most important mission. If you are a student in need, please reach out to your teachers, department chairs and school directors. The resources that students depend on are still available. We have tutors available for academic issues, counseling services for those in need, and options for connectivity as we sail into the seas of alternative delivery.

I see our values in action every day: the kindness of professors, working with students who feel lost on these newly uncharted waters, the integrity of our faculty moving instruction online, the innovation from everyone moving operations offsite, the individual courage to move forward in paralyzing times. As a community we are creative problem solvers. I see ample evidence of brainstorming, collaboration, and cooperation at the core of our response. We exemplify inclusion, empathy and the selfless determination to be of service to others during this unprecedented time.

I am so proud to be part of this extraordinary CFAD family, there is no crew I would rather have on the ship.