Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – Complexity and Community – February 3, 2017
Almost every week I send you a message about exciting activities and accomplishments in our college community. I take great pride in boasting about your tireless work that deserves even more positive recognition than we already receive from SUNY and national organizations. Often these messages include views on the broader context in which we work, and at times, these messages spark further thinking, discussion, and debate that befits our diverse scholarly academic community. Other times, my interactions with you inspire me to more intense contemplation and introspection.
This week has been the latter as I have considered a wide range of themes — compassion, resilience, community, mutual respect, shared values, and the immense diversity of our collective lived experiences. I began the week in correspondence with faculty senate and union leadership that included support for efforts later this spring to memorialize members of our community who have passed away. Deferring to tradition in not mentioning our departed colleagues in my last weekly message has not sufficiently honored them and their real and deep connections with us. The unusual nature of multiple deaths in our community in a very short amount of time has prompted even further consideration of how we respond to our collective bereavement.
As we proceed, we should recognize the complexity around the differences in how each of us mourns. There is a variety of individual preference for how much we keep personal matters private. We should also be mindful that at any moment any one of us might be experiencing grief unseen by the rest of our community. Despite feelings of loss, uncertainty, and the difficulties associated with managing continuous change, I see you consistently rising to the occasion of challenging the status quo and demanding that we improve our processes, communications, and outcomes. I see you meet our students and colleagues where they are and elevate them to new levels of achievement.
Each day, our students bring us their hopes and dreams and it is our collective responsibility to support each other in supporting them. I join you in the daily quest to offer the very best of ourselves as we work to fulfill our mission–our promise to make our region a better place through the transformative power of education.
I have continued optimism for a bright future, fueled each day by your intellectual, emotional, and technical contributions to our mission. I believe that as we make these contributions to changing students’ lives, our lives also change just as profoundly. Thank you for the greatness that you bring to teaching and serving our students as they prepare to impact our community. Your efforts energize me every week at Westchester Community College where it is my privilege to lead and serve.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles