Watson Chronicle



Message from the Dean

Friday, May 01, 2020

We are all living in challenging and uncertain times. 

Over the past few months, the world around us has changed dramatically, bringing major disruptions to our daily lives and uncertainty about the future. And yet, our Watson community has remained strong. I am immensely proud of the grit and resiliency our faculty, staff, students and partners have shown during this global pandemic, and the support you have all provided, and continue to provide, for each other. As we face the months ahead, I am confident the power of our collective spirit will remain strong as we continue to learn, lead, create and inspire together.

A Planning Team, convened by Chancellor Sartarelli and facilitated by Dean Charles Hardy of the College of Health and Human Services, has developed recommended guidelines for the re-opening of campus in a safe and effective way for our students, faculty and staff. The recommendations were presented to the Chancellor on May 28, and an implementation team has initiated work on an operational plan for the fall. The goal of the team is to make decisions to best position UNCW for student success in ways that prioritize health and safety for the entire UNCW campus and our interactions with the community. As more information becomes available once the Chancellor sets the course ahead, the WCE Leadership Team and I will begin coordinating and communicating that with you as quickly as possible.

I want to also acknowledge another crisis we are facing as a country, as a broader community, and as a college and university: continued acts of violence, racism and bigotry, particularly targeted at the African American community as most recently crystallized with the murder of George Floyd In Minneapolis. I recently shared an update with the College about this risk and existential challenge in which we find ourselves and I will send another message to that effect. I invite open dialogue as we engage the Watson College and all of our partners in being leading voices in how we confront those challenges and construct a better, more just and more democratic community.   

Despite the challenges we face during this unprecedented time, it is also important to remember that, as educators, we engage in the art of the possible. We support learners, learning, leaders and educators across the spectrum of learning contexts settings and institutions. What we do matters, perhaps now more than ever.

As you read the stories in the Watson Chronicle, please take a moment to remember that we can, in the midst of struggle and challenge, find hope and inspiration in the stories, and be confident in our ability to push into the world for the right causes and purposes. As is the case every day, our most important sources of excellence, resilience, inspiration and success are found in our students, staff, faculty and many community partners of the Watson College. We are, as a “we,” greater than the challenges ahead.

Van Dempsey
Dean, Watson College of Education