Dean's Message

2021 College Theme: Resolve

From the Dean: January 2021

As we start a new semester in the face of the ongoing pandemics of COVID and of systemic racism, all of us still raw from the White nationalist attack on the U.S. Capitol that we witnessed on January 6, I encourage us to focus this calendar year on the theme of “resolve,” which means strong determination to action.

First, we must resolve to continue building up our democratic society, which has been the mission of this College since its founding more than 30 years ago. Lest there be any doubt, let’s be clear that the democracy we’re envisioning here is one that is multiracial and multicultural, in which people of every background can participate equitably in both the rights and the responsibilities of democratic society.

True democracy must support diversity, because – ultimately – diversity strengthens democracy. For the College, this means that enacting our mission toward our vision requires our firm resolve to continue improving ourselves – individually and collectively – in anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion. American democracy has yet to live up to its full potential, to embrace the ideal that “we the people” means all the people, including the ones who seem different from us, who may disagree with us, and who quite possibly even dislike us.

Second, we must resolve to offer each other support and strength, to give each other hope and help, and to encourage resilience and regrowth. Building up each other necessarily includes resolving to continue making anti-racist choices, both individually and collectively, so that we strengthen the diversity that undergirds true democracy in a multiracial society. And building up ourselves, i.e., strengthening our own resilience, means giving ourselves permission to learn, to fail, to self-correct, to rebuild, and to grow anew.

We must face the challenges before us with resolve — with determination and discipline, with grit and grace. I invite y’all to join me in resolving to continue this year our actions in support of democracy and of each other.

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR

Dean