In the first two newsletters of this year, you see a theme of connecting and building your network; the October issue continues this trend. We in AAN and those units with whom we collaborate start from the premise that one way to thrive as an academic is figuring out with which activities, groups, associations, and people you want to connect, and then finding them at Michigan State and beyond.

The life and career of an academic are not intended to be a solo path, no matter the specifics of one’s appointment or the stage of one’s career. It is also not a “one and done” set of decisions that necessarily dictate how to spend your time and intellectual expertise. Needs and interests vary along the paths we travel and finding the resources that support you and the work you want to do is an open invitation to explore the many opportunities afforded by MSU.

As importantly, especially during a period with very limited or no travel, it is a chance to step into the national and international portfolio of choices in ways that may not have been possible before now or to find a seminar or coffee hour to engage with others on campus that you may not have chosen to do before. One great initiative that evolved out of a desire for educators to connect is #iteachmsu Commons. Its story below reflects how academics across MSU built a supportive community specifically focused on teaching and learning, and those engaged in this critical aspect of university life. Its evolution reflects the power of ideas and a willingness to step into a supportive space to engage them. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) provides the opportunity to find support and mentorship with academics across the country. Sign-up for the 14-day writing challenge that begins October 19th if interested.

New opportunities include a series offered collaboratively by Academic Human Resources, AAN, and Human Resources titled Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Work Environment. We are also launching a new series this fall for early-career academics focused on Starting an Academic Career in Unusual Times, led by Ann Austin and Marilyn Amey. A new Leadership Institute Session on Transitioning into Academic Leadership: From Putting Out Fires to Affecting Change has also been added to the mix. Find more information on these or other events.

Even in a moment when we all can feel very overwhelmed with numerous zoom meetings and competing demands, we encourage you to explore that which contributes to your well-being, your scholarly and teaching acumen, and that helps you feel connected to and a part of the larger MSU and broader academic community. Please check out the AAN website for an updated calendar of events at