A new academic year is here. A new day is upon us. A new dawn welcomes us. We stand at the precipice of opportunity. Carpe diem!
• We called the 2018–2019 Academic year our Year of Collegiality.
• We called the 2019–2020 Academic year our Year of Audacity.
• We called the 2020–2021 Academic year our Year of Rising.
• Let this be our year to Carpe Diem!
In the last four years, we have hired many faculty members. Adding to our existing cohort of scholars and teachers, these energetic, energized, and energizing faculty are raring to go—and going they are. Many of those who came before have felt that energy and are revitalized by (and matching) it. Kudos to all of you.
We are renovating labs so that our scientists and scholars have the spaces they need to do their important scientific work. We hired a new director of development, Bob Nolan, to help us raise philanthropic funding that will let us take our work to higher levels and pursue creative ideas with nimble celerity. We hired a new writer, editor, and outreach specialist, Holly Thrasher, to help us convey our ideas within and beyond the university with ever-greater clarity, inspiration, and plain-old oomph! We hired new directors of finance (Henry Gabriel), HR (Dave Archer), facilities (Susie Johnson), and degree administration (Becky Baugh), and a strategic initiatives coordinator (Cindy Broderick)—all of whom stand ready to help us push new initiatives forward.
At a recent retreat in Brown County State Park, we formed multiple task forces to focus on productivity among senior faculty and ways to enhance it; renovations of laboratory space and other spaces; new faculty hiring, award and fellowship nominations; and other methods for reputation enhancement for our students, staff, faculty, and school.
We are standing up new PhD programs in biostatistics and nutrition. We are adding powerful new hearts, minds, and voices to our Dean's Alliance (our school's advisory board) who increase our reach, the depth of our expertise, and the diversity of our community. We are working with each department chair on plans to obtain funding for endowed professorships or chairs in every department. We are beginning to appoint to some of our existing endowed professorships and/or chairs.
We are pivoting from seeing COVID-19 as an immediate new challenge that we must react to "on the fly" to something that will be with us, sadly, for a very long time and for which we now can begin pursuing "normative research" through "normative" funding mechanisms. Though it is sad that we need to do so, it also represents an opportunity. Our distinguished scholars in sexual health, epidemiology and biostatistics, exercise physiology, neurology, aging, and other topics are well poised to conduct critical research about long-term effects.
The building we have done in the last four years, our rising up last year so that we are back on our feet, our far greater commitment to practice professionalism and collegiality, our new and invigorated cadre of personnel, our commitment to audacious goal setting, our developing laboratories, our financial stability due to disciplined spending and fundraising; all of these things mean we are poised, ready, and primed… to seize this day, and indeed, the bright days that are sure to follow.
Opportunity is here. Fortune favors the prepared mind, as Pasteur said so long ago. Let us be prepared for fortune. Let us capitalize on the great investments we have made in the last four years. Carpe diem!
David B. Allison, PhD
Carpe Diem: Let's Welcome an Exciting Year
Wednesday, August 18, 2021