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Learning, Teaching, and Working During a Pandemic: President Crossman Reflects on the Last Year

University News | 03.12.21

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic and the transition of Adler University’s Chicago and Vancouver campuses to remote learning. Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., acknowledges the changes, challenges, and losses of the last year and commends the dedication of the Adler community in a message to students, faculty, and staff.

“While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we can weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.”

I’m sharing these words from the amazing poet Amanda Gorman on today’s anniversary.  One year ago today, we transitioned our Chicago Campus to operate remotely, followed a few days later by our Vancouver Campus – changing the way we learn, teach, and work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in countless ways.  Vaccines are becoming increasingly available in both our countries, but we continue to witness the growing cost of this terrible disease.  As of today, over 530,000 people in the United States and over 22,000 people in Canada have lost their lives to COVID-19.

As students, faculty, and staff, you have explored – in our classrooms, during Common Hours, at the Social Justice Summit, and in other learning opportunities – how the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing inequity and oppression in the U.S. and Canada.  You have examined innumerable examples:  the lack of resources and opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and people of color; the disposal and mistreatment of people in prisons and detention centers in the U.S.; state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the U.S.; health disparities for people marginalized in manifold ways; the recent surge of xenophobia and anti-Asian violence in both our countries.  You have and will continue to catalogue and address these and many other injustices.  You have also – in the context of the past year – challenged Adler University to better meet our mission.

As I reflect upon the last year, my heart is buoyed with appreciation for the students, staff, and faculty of Adler University.  You continued to advance the unique and specific mission of the University in our virtual classrooms, our virtual offices, and our communities across these past four semesters – and I know many of you are exhausted.  I’m grateful for your dedication and strength, for your courage as Adlerians, and for our collaboration.  I’m thankful too for the myriad ways you’ve worked to support each other over the past year.

If you haven’t watched Ms. Gorman perform her poem that I referenced above, please take a moment to watch and listen to her inspirational charge to us, which I hope you’ll experience as a small vaccine for your heart, as much as I did myself, on this anniversary.

The past year has felt so much longer than a year.  Together, we’ve experienced losses and pain, we’ve learned, we’ve created, we’ve cried, we’ve seen each other in new ways, we’ve grown, we’ve shined.  I am grateful that we continue to pull together and navigate the unknown with gemeinschaftsgefϋehl – investment in one another.  Please continue to take care of yourself and each other in our journey ahead.

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