July 1, 2020

Day 1 Greeting

It is with great pride that I send you this email as the current John A. Griffin Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce. You might be wondering: What kind of person takes on a role like this in the midst of a global pandemic? While perfection in a transition is highly coveted, it is rarely achieved, and few opportunities come wrapped in pretty boxes. When I was offered the opportunity to join McIntire, it was an easy “yes” for so many reasons. I look forward to being part of a community that is open to re-imagining the business school model, one that promotes a supportive and well-resourced research environment and that allows staff and faculty to do what they know to be right on behalf of our highly engaged students.

Over the last two months, Carl and I worked closely on crafting a smooth transition plan. I am grateful for the one-on-one and small group listening sessions with staff and faculty to prepare me for our work together. Next week, the associate deans and I will attend a two-day virtual retreat where we will discuss what I have learned from my early interactions and observations. The goal is to craft recommended near-term priorities to execute over the next 12 months. In July and August, everyone will be invited to share their reactions to this flexible plan. The updated version will be shared with you at the August 28 staff and faculty meeting. It is my hope that the uncertainty that exists at this moment will subside, and we can engage in a robust, long-term, School-wide planning process in academic year 2021-2022. In the interim we will use this year to set ourselves up for new successes.

Next week, my official greeting to the broader community will be sent via email and you will be cc’d. You will be invited to sign up for a variety of virtual meet and greets. I encourage all staff and faculty members to participate in one or more individual or mid-size group sessions. I want to hear your “Why McIntire” story and other thoughts that you would like to share.

We have been individually and collectively challenged over the last several months, with little respite in sight. When I think about what you have been through, I am hopeful that you are taking full advantage of the upcoming holiday weekend to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. Whether that occurs in the solitude of your home with a commitment to unplug, or with friends and family in your COVID bubble, or otherwise, please take more time than you think you need or deserve to renew and recharge. My family and I are heading off to a technology-free zone at a remote lake in Kentucky with our quarantine pod. Afterward, I will begin packing for my move to Charlottesville the week of July 13th.

Lastly, I want to express my deep gratitude to Carl, who was generous with his time, knowledge and expertise. I feel well prepared for what lies ahead and am confident that together—as the McIntire community—we are going to do big things!

This communication was sent to all McIntire staff and faculty. 

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