Welcome Address to Faculty

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back!

How lucky we were in New England this summer with the weather, about the only region of the country that didn’t suffer a horrendous drought. The local corn was delicious and may have been the only local corn to be had anywhere in the USA.  As we head into the first week of classes, I trust you have had a little taste of summer, books read just for general edification, time spent eyeing leaves of grass, and are prepared to begin the fall in earnest.

For those of us on campus this summer, we felt the presence not only of our own science students in the labs, but also the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy students taking English classes on campus and a science class on their campus from our own faculty. Undergraduates and graduate students were on campus taking classes, and some of them then went off to China, Laos, and Vietnam to complete their course. 

 In the meantime, I know the faculty have already embarked on the Mellon sponsored initiatives generated by the faculty retreat of a year ago -- to develop more intellectual engagement among faculty and students. A pilot portfolio model is in the works (led by Professors Mertens and Ahlgren); the co-curricular Cities initiative (directed by Professors Euraque and Myers) will launch this week with more than 20 courses participating in various ways in the year- long series of events – films, lectures, symposia – and a .5 credit course that students can elect; theme houses (headed up by Professor Silk) are being discussed by faculty and by the charter committee on social life; three professors (Raskin, Cardenas, Joan Morrison) will be teaching courses in the spring on health and human rights and, using problem-based learning principles, having students from each course collaborating to solve problems and achieve a common final goal; a group of faculty(overseen by Professor Clark) will expand the Community Learning Initiative to integrate students’ study abroad experiences with their studies in Hartford, and encourage electronic publication of research and communication with an external public audience; and a common first-year experience film discussion course, Great Ideas through Film (led by Professors Dunlap and Younger).

In the year ahead, there will be multiple additional occasions to enter into conversations with faculty and students. The Center for Teaching and Learning will be hosting events (co-directed by Professors Anselmi and Hager); the Trinity Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (headed by Professors Vogt and Kippur) has started a reading group and will be continuing the tradition of Common Hour talks by faculty from different disciplines; the Center for Urban and Global Studies has an active list of speakers, as do the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) and the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life – so make sure to consult websites for updates.

Finally, we are hoping that, by the spring, Gallows Hill will have been made into a mostly open space for faculty and students to meet informally, hear talks at lunch, and mount low-tech events in the evening, with a small café, and a classroom in the back. It’s vital that we create not only projects for interaction but spaces for them too. Please insert yourself as much as you like. Welcome, and welcome back.

Rena Fraden
Dean of the Faculty