August 10, 2020

Both an End and a New Beginning

On Sunday, August 2, I participated in final exercises for the second cohort of the M.S. in Business Analytics Program. This is a particularly unique program in that it blends the expertise that resides in both McIntire and the Darden School of Business. The hybrid-format classes—a combination of online and in person—are co-designed and co-taught between the schools, representing the power of collaboration at the University of Virginia. The participants of the 2020 cohort have experienced many benefits of their academic experience immediately, as we have celebrated promotions and new job opportunities and recognized significant value-adds within current roles. Many of the students I heard from shared about the depth of connection they have with members of their cohort. I have no doubt that lifelong friendships have been made.

And, just like that, the circannual rhythm of academic life is upon us again. With the MSBA cohort, we have graduated our final class of 2020 and today we welcomed the 2020-2021 cohort of the M.S. in Commerce Program to Grounds. Other students will follow in phases in accordance with the University’s Return to Grounds plan.

For many, January 1—New Year’s Day—is a time to reflect and reset, but for those of us with lives governed by the academic calendar, we reflect over the summer and reset in August. For everyone on Grounds, this is an opportunity to be better than we were last year in so many ways. For me, it is another chance to be a better teacher and mentor to students and coach to staff and faculty, an opportunity to be a more engaged colleague, and a time to be more consistent with implementing work-life balance techniques, etc.

I am always hopeful that by late December, I will look back and consider recent months as “time well spent”—having accomplished at least a few of the goals I have set. I encourage all members of the McIntire community to reset this August, reflect upon your personal fall semester goals and seek out the common joys that come with starting the academic year anew.

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