Yesterday I sent out our annual Department newsletter — it’s much smaller than it was 19 years ago, when we first started it. But back then the Department didn’t have a podcast or a Vimeo account where student-created content was regularly posted, let alone an Instagram account, so the newsletter was the main place where we could get some news out annually and represent the good work being done in the Department. So now, with frequent Facebook and Twitter updates, the newsletter plays a rather different role.
Among the various functions of yesterday’s update — such as announcing our incoming M.A. cohort and the interesting work being done by all of our faculty — was the chance to alert just our alums and current students as to an upcoming change in the Department. For in the late Spring of the 2021 semester, at my annual year-end meeting with the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (where the past year’s work in the Department is discussed, along with briefing him on future plans), I told the Dean that, at the conclusion of my current term as Department Chair (in August of 2023), I wouldn’t stand for another 5 year term. I figured that two years notice was fair, what with the last year being taken up with the process to search for a successor; and so, at that August’s annual Fall faculty retreat, where we get ready for a new school year, I let the faculty and staff in on the news, thereby giving us as a group a year to talk about where the Department has been and where it might be going and, in the midst of all that, to mull over who the faculty would like to recommend to the Dean as their next Chair. Continue reading