On behalf of all of us with the Academic Advancement Network, we want to thank the many attendees who participated in New Administrator and New Faculty and Academic Staff Orientation in early August. As our first foray into online orientations, we join so many of you who need to think differently about how to bring people into new roles and the university at this very unusual time, how to disseminate information needed in those first weeks, and how to begin – even with little steps – to introduce important people and resources who may be part of one’s foundational network. A special thanks to the numerous facilitators, presenters, and campus experts who took time to be with us over the 5 different days of orientation and helped us navigate the pros and cons of hosting virtual orientations and resource fairs! The breadth and depth of knowledge you provided were truly remarkable.

Turning the page to the beginning of classes and work fully underway in our mostly virtual reality, perhaps you too are looking for ways to connect with people or information, or just feeling like you would like to continue to engage apart from the specific items on your “To-Do” list. We want to use part of our periodic newsletters to highlight those units with which AAN collaborates, and showcase some of their important work, while also drawing attention to opportunities we hope will interest you or your colleagues. When recruiting new colleagues in any role to MSU, a key selling point for me has historically been that there are ALWAYS a plethora of workshops, invited speakers, lectures, and webinars on more topics than one could ever attend – all of which appeal to those involved in accomplishing the multiple missions of the university. While at any given moment, your plate may be full or a particular topic may not be at the top of your list, we hope you continue to seek out those that help you feel more connected with the university and all it has to offer – your work and expertise included!

This month, we would like to highlight additional opportunities.

These are a hallmark of the last several years here and take many forms – short- and long-term groups, those that focus on more specific issues or those that are oriented more broadly in domains like online teaching.

At Orientation, one question that came up several times was about Learning Communities. These are a hallmark of the last several years here and take many forms – short and long term groups, those that focus on more specific issues or those that are oriented more broadly in domains like online teaching. As one of AAN’s many collaborations, we asked Michael Lockett to speak more about the Learning Communities and provide a few comments from those who have participated in the past. AAN is always looking for ways to connect formally and informally around topics of interest and Learning Communities are an example but we welcome other suggestions.

We also want to showcase the fall Leadership Institute sessions for those in administrative roles. These are sessions intended to help familiarize you with aspects of your leadership work and the culture of MSU. Each session is facilitated by campus leaders who work directly in these topical areas. The full slate of offerings is now on the AAN website and registration is required.

We want to thank those of you who stopped by our first two AAN Coffee Hours and invite you to more conversations. The next is on September 25th from 10-11 a.m. with Cindi Leverich. Cindi is the node leader for leadership development and welcomes the chance to talk with you about opportunities for those already in administrative positions or those interested in learning more about what leadership entails at MSU. On October 8th from 10-11 a.m. Jeff Grabill will host the conversation. Jeff, node leader for teaching and learning, would be happy to talk with those interested in this domain and in the Educator Development approach he is taking to activities this year.