Dean Denise A. Seachrist: One Year Later - Looking Back in Appreciation
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Today, we reflect on an anniversary that, just one year ago, seemed unimaginable. Yet, somehow, we have arrived at this notable milestone.
Beginning at 5 p.m. March 16, 2020, our campus shifted to a largely remote working and learning environment as COVID-19 swept our community, our state, and our country, into the throes of a pandemic our world hadn’t experienced in more than 100 years.
We turned on a dime. Kitchen counters and dining room tables substituted for office spaces as we rallied to provide our students with the world-class education they have come to expect from their Hometown University.
I eagerly and naively looked forward to getting back to campus, even considering a “Welcome Back” picnic in the fall.
But September arrived, and we still faced the same silent enemy.
We fought back with face coverings, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
We’ve learned to give ourselves, and each other, grace.
We’ve learned to trust.
We’ve learned to hope.
And, today, we stand cautiously optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
Still, some of you continued to work on campus at times during this past year to meet the needs of students and our campus community. We are forever grateful that:
- Our security, facilities, and grounds crews kept us safe and our property pristine.
- Our Student Services team rotated their schedules to ensure students’ needs were met.
- Our library staff manned the building, despite the risks, because we know access to knowledge holds the key to academic advancement.
- Our Network Services and Instructional Designer Katie Baer conquered the monumental task of ensuring our faculty had the assistance they needed to turn entire courses remote in a matter of days. Our employees were equipped with the technology they needed to do the job at home as well. Our computer labs remained open to assist students with their technology needs.
- Last but not least, our dedicated faculty continued to offer our students a high-quality Kent State University education that, for some academic disciplines, meant continuing to hold in-person sessions.
I could go on. I am just so proud of the work we’ve accomplished over the past year.
Now, we prepare to enter a new academic year full of hope, after achieving a record-setting enrollment this spring.
I am eager to speak with all of you soon. Faculty, we’ll meet on March 26 for our Spring Full Faculty Meeting. For staff, we’ll meet April 9. Both of these meetings are scheduled in Teams; check your email for more details.
As always, transparency is my goal, and we’ll continue to navigate these unchartered waters together with excellence in education serving as our North Star, flexibility as our guiding light, and kindness as our creed.
Again, I could not be more proud of our team here at Kent State Stark. I leave you with some snapshots of our truly incredible, remarkable year.
Denise A. Seachrist, Ph.D.
Dean and Chief Administrative Officer
Kent State University at Stark