Start of the new academic year

Posted on November 02, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I know it’s a busy summer for most of you, but I do hope you have had the opportunity to recharge your batteries by spending time with your families, pursuing your passions or simply relaxing and gearing up for another eventful year. Though hard to believe, with the 4th of July holiday just behind us, it’s not too early to start looking ahead to the beginning of the new academic year.

In that spirit, I would like to share with you some new thinking about how we will kick off academic year 2018-19.

Typically, I would deliver a State of the Campus speech followed by an all-staff/faculty lunch. Frankly, speeches of this nature are fine for delivering information, but they can limit meaningful, positive interaction. I think we can find a better way.

First, let me answer the question I’m sure you’re already thinking about: Lunch is definitely a GO! We will still come together for food and fellowship at the Fountain View Café, with an official invite to come later. I’m looking forward to saying hello to many of you there. Plus, we will use this event to unveil our refreshed look at the UNCG story as well as our visual identity – including a brand new Spartan. Many of you have participated in discussions, focus groups and feedback sessions related to this work, so I hope you’ll join us as we unveil the finished product.

Now, about that speech… We are at an important point in the development of our campus. Our basic assumption must be that we don’t want to rest solely on “this is the way we have always done things” as a reason for our actions.

Following this logic, I will hold a series of town halls sometime in the early fall so we can talk, in a direct and authentic way, about the plans, opportunities and challenges facing our campus and our community. We’re well on our way to taking Giant Steps in many areas, but now it’s time to take stock and think about what’s next. This is better done through dialogue, not monologue.

The added benefit is that we can all more readily get through those busy first few weeks – preparing campus for move-in, finalizing syllabi, addressing students’ last-minute needs, executing our “NAV1GATE” new student convocation day on August 13th, and generally getting a feel for the rhythm of the new year.

I look forward to seeing you at the lunch and hearing from you at the town halls as we start the new academic year. We’ll be in touch soon with more details. And if you see me riding around campus in the G-Whip, stop me and say hello; you never know – you might just become the next YouTube sensation!

Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.