November update from the dean

CATEGORIES: Announcements

Dear LAS faculty, staff and graduate students,

It’s a beautiful time of year on campus, and as I see all the foot traffic outside, it reminds me of all your efforts to make the transition back to campus a positive experience for students. Thank you!

As you may already know, the general and emotional well-being of students is a significant concern this academic year. In a recent memo from the Provost and other campus leaders, several resources were outlined, accompanied by a call for all faculty, staff and graduate students to help support students – more than ever before.

The memo outlines three types of support – academics, wellness and crisis. I know we have talked about resources before, but it remains critical that we ensure that students, faculty and staff are aware of the options available.

The Division of Student Affairs created a comprehensive landing page for student resources. From there, undergraduate and graduate students can explore support like the Academic Success Center, supplemental instruction, peer-to-peer assistance, Student Counseling Services, crisis services, financial counseling, and legal services. A collection of resources was curated specifically for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. There is also a collection of resources specifically for graduate students.

As instructors and staff members, you can serve a critical role in your students’ wellbeing and success, and there are many tools available to help. Please consider the following:

  • Take a moment to view the Dean of Students’ faculty and staff guide for helping students connect with resources
  • Use language from CELT’s suggested student health and wellness text, any time of year
  • Encourage students to utilize faculty and TA office hours and study groups
  • Promote the use of study groups (Study Buddies, a feature in the Navigate app, helps students find peers to study with) and other peer support and interactions (Check out Open Spaces, an initiative organized by the Department of World Languages and Cultures!)
  • Practice compassion and empathy for students, offering flexibility and opportunities for support

And of course, it is just as important to be aware of resources for yourself. For graduate students, some of the resources outlined above may be helpful. For faculty and staff, the university’s Employee Assistance Program is a free benefit, and there are many low and no-cost programs available like faculty and staff associations and the ISU Exercise Clinic. There is also a collection of mental health resources available for faculty, staff and graduate students.

Upcoming changes

If you are a P&S or Merit staff member, you know that the university’s new Workflex program was introduced last month. We are now in the employee application window, which means you have until November 26 to submit an application for review.

Our LAS Representative Assembly is reviewing some potential changes to the LAS Governance Document, specifically about the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. When finalized, these changes will be available for review, and all LAS faculty will be invited to vote. If you are a faculty member, please watch for communication about the vote later this semester. You can find your department’s Representative Assembly member here. They, as well as your department chair, can give you more information about the upcoming vote.

I would like to congratulate LAS faculty and staff who were honored at an event last week for awards received from the university. You can find a collection of photos from the ceremony here.

I hope you will consider joining us for this fall’s LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture tomorrow night at 8pm. Amy J. Rutenberg, associate professor of history, LAS equity advisor and social studies education program coordinator for the Department of History will present “Uncle Sam Wants Who? Women, Men and the Meaning of American Selective Service.” This is especially timely, as the U.S. Senate is reviewing a bill that would change the country’s Selective Service. The lecture will be available in-person and via livestream.

As you may recall, last year’s inaugural winter session was a great success. This year I am proud to say LAS has a wide range of excellent course offerings once again. I look forward to hearing about student and teaching experiences from this new Iowa State experience.

Whether you’re preparing for the winter session or hard at work with the many other things that make LAS an incredible place, thank you for all your efforts.

Micah has not made an appearance in a while but she is well. Last week, she needed to have a small mass removed on her back (it was benign). You can probably see the spot in the photo. Here she is, relaxing on an LAS fleece jacket. Cardinal looks good on her!

Micah the cat

Best wishes for a smooth and productive end of the semester,