Dear Students, Alumni, Colleagues, and Friends of the Graduate School,
I am writing to share our Spring, 2020 newsletter and invite you to connect with us. In times like these, it seems more important than ever to reach out and hear how you are doing.
For me, the cover photo for this season’s newsletter, with the squirrel on a bench in the Grove conjures up the feelings of a warm spring day on campus. When I consider this reaction in the context of the current global emergency, it is hard not to feel a sense of sadness as the empty Grove represents the current health risks, loss of loved ones, and economic hardship faced by the UM Graduate School community and friends. The UM community has experienced loss due to COVID-19 and we know many who are away from campus have also lost loved ones as we fight this pandemic. My heart goes out to each of you who have lost someone you hold dear and I am concerned for our students, alumni, colleagues and friends who are struggling financially and emotionally with the effects of physical isolation. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that this is a difficult time. Asking for help can be an important strategy in adjusting to our current circumstances. I hope each of you is taking time to engage in self-care during the pandemic that has forced our work, school, and personal lives to collide so forcefully.
Just as many units on campus are doing, we are working to support our students as COVID-19 roils their studies and research/scholarship. You can read about what we are doing in our opening article. As my own doctoral students have so eloquently shared with me, our current graduate students are experiencing something that most of us have not directly endured ourselves—COVID-19 will inevitably be part of the story they tell of their graduate studies. And for some, the ability to celebrate the culmination of their graduate studies is now disrupted. With the rest of campus, we look forward to celebrating with our 2019-2020 graduates once it is safe to do so.
In addition to the article explaining how we are working to support our students, we wanted to take time to celebrate some of our current graduate students. UM graduate students do amazing work! In this issue, you can read about four student leaders. In an era where some question the value of funding science and scholarship, the ability to communicate about our research and insights from scholarly work with anyone, regardless of background, is critical for demonstrating the value of this investment. Our stories are about students who are taking what they learn in the classroom or lab and sharing the gift with the world. I hope that you find their stories as meaningful as I have, highlighting the importance of our work in educating the next generation of scholars, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and artists.
I hope that someday soon, I can return to inviting you to visit us in the Graduate School. Until then, we invite our alumni and friends to connect with us remotely. Beginning in the fall, we will have a section of each newsletter where we can highlight professional/personal accomplishments and updates of our graduates. Please share these exciting “grad notes,” including your degree, area of study, and year of graduation so that we can share them with our readers.
We appreciate your support of the Graduate School and our graduate students at the University of Mississippi.
Wishing you safety and health.
Annette S. Kluck, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate School
Professor of Leadership and Counselor Education