Flowers blooming in early Spring

When we return from spring break, there are often mixed emotions. Are we really over winter or is there still snow to come? Will we have time to get everything done before the term ends, especially since it ends in late April instead of early May? Are we seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or is it just wishful thinking following the very long month just passed? There are many signs of new things coming all around us – March Madness is beginning, President Guskiewicz has officially come on board, other leadership transitions are under way, and more exciting learning opportunities are being offered by the Vice President for Research and Innovation and others. Nominations for the OFASD 2024-2025 Fellowship programs and Learning Communities are also due on March 7 and we anticipate what the future holds as new colleagues come together for engaging discussions on important topics facing MSU and higher education. Anticipation! New beginnings! Opportunities to explore in new ways!

But how do we take care of ourselves along the way? We are afforded many resources to help engage in mid-semester and formative feedback from the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation, opportunities for self-care from University Health and Wellbeing and the Work-Life Office, and numerous ways of engaging within our own college environments. While we may seek one-on-one mentoring as a critical resource any time, it is often beneficial to connect to peers and colleagues to really gain support in the many areas of our lives. At this point in the semester, when we might be seeking an extra burst of energy to finish strong, it would be the ideal time to discover and engage with allies and networks. Discovering authentic ways to share with each other not only offers support but also gives opportunities to acquire new knowledge, explore alternative modes of scholarship and instructional strategies, and understand the perspectives of those around us, especially as these may be emergent in the field or novel to our own. While our strategic plans speak of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, they are less clear on ways in which to enact these core values. Approaching each other with generosity, collaborative spirit, respect, and a willingness to share our own challenges goes a long way in building the trust and mutual benefit that helps us move forward together.

As we each watch for sure signs of spring, may we also find connection with each other in meaningful ways. And if you are seeking connections and perhaps not yet finding them, please reach out! Happy March!