Thank You and Welcome Back

March 28, 2020

Dear Members of the Brown Faculty,

The last several weeks have been a whirlwind – on our campus and around the world. We have relocated students, transitioned to remote teaching and learning, ramped down research, and adjusted to new ways of operating while attending to pressing personal responsibilities, including caring for young children and other loved ones.

In the midst of all of this, faculty and staff at Brown have responded to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic with generosity of spirit, intellectual creativity, and an eagerness to excel in cultivating the ongoing educational and personal growth of undergraduate, graduate and medical students. I write simply to thank you for all that you have done to prepare for classes to resume on Monday, March 30, and to wish you great success with your courses.

Two weeks ago, a survey revealed the tools faculty were considering in delivering their courses. I admit that the task of moving the highly personalized Brown experience to one offered remotely seemed daunting at the time. Yet, through the hard work of so many across this campus, the deep commitment that faculty and staff bring to their sense of mission, and the innovative use of technology, progress has been nothing short of dramatic and inspiring.

I recognize that in many areas, we are exploring and experimenting, with students located around the globe and across time zones. And exciting things are transpiring. Faculty in a range of fields and disciplines are considering ways to rethink the content of their courses to reflect the existence and impact of COVID-19. Others are taking novel approaches to pursuing intellectual community that may actually be more conducive to the use of remote technology. Many have expressed enthusiasm for opportunities to engage differently with both course material and students, and to expand as teachers and scholars. We will continue to sharpen our approach and learn from one another.  

Just as Brown courses continue, so too does the vibrant programming that takes place in departments, schools, centers and institutes. There are also shifts in research. Even as we are scaling back in many areas, in others researchers are looking at opportunities to be part of the solution to the effects of COVID-19.

Admittedly, this was not the Spring Break we had anticipated, yet all of the work that has taken place to prepare us for the remainder of the semester has demonstrated, once again, that we are able to apply our knowledge, skills and commitment to community to transcend moments of crises.

I look forward to learning about your work and the work of your students, and to the contributions that we will make in the coming weeks and months.



Richard M. Locke