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The calendar may say classes are starting up and fall has arrived, but no doubt many are trying to cram in one last get-away, time together with family and friends before launching into a busy new year. The anticipation of things to come, the excitement of being together in person more safely than in recent past, and the realization that on-campus means the hunt for parking begins again after time away are all common signals for the beginning of a new term. 

As we unpack, prepare classes in different modalities, greet new colleagues and those we haven’t seen in a while, see students moving into residence halls and apartments, and basically settle into academic routines, it helps to remember that academic life is a marathon, not a race. Along the way, we need to pause and look up from metaphoric and literal desktops, find community with others, try something that brings new light to our thinking, and turn our kaleidoscopes to see our work a bit differently even while the pieces may be the same. It’s a way of remembering what’s important to us within and beyond the bounds of MSU, what our passions are, and what brings us joy. It’s worth remembering that we have been through a lot in recent years and yet, continue to walk into the future one step at a time, apace but not in competition with others, and finding support along the way if we just see it.

The Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development (OFASD) is here to be part of your university support structure offering many different ways to gather, to learn, to explore, and to connect in small and large groups, cohort settings and university-level conversations. We convene around ideas and initiatives of common value, and in discovery of strategies and ways of understanding that help each of us build successful, holistic lives whether you are just starting out or looking to transition from your academic career. Some already have found ways of connecting through the many leadership fellows programs or learning communities, while others may look to link to an existing group or start their own. We invite everyone to take a look at opportunities offered through OFASD [and elsewhere] that resonate or reach out for assistance in finding a setting that brings you into community with others.

Fall is upon us and we hope you step [or jump!] into it knowing that thriving here requires investment in your whole self. The OFASD calendar as well as those of our many campus partners are rife with much to explore, ways to collaborate, and safe spaces to try out new ideas. We look forward to seeing you during the fall and finding ways to help support your individual and our collective growth and development. Happy fall!