University of California, San Diego
September 24, 2001
ALL STUDENTS AT UCSD
SUBJECT: An Open Letter From Chancellor Dynes:
Each new academic year begins with a renewed sense of mission. This year begins with something more: a renewed sense of community. The tragedy of September 11 brought people together in a way few of us have ever experienced and none of us will ever forget. An affront to humanity that was once unimaginable has made us treasure humankind. Our ability to heal and carry on will depend upon our ability to remain united.
Six months ago, when I asked you to join me in launching a new campus dialogue for a new era of growth, my hope was that greater communication would help us chart our future path together. Your responses have done just that. Of the many thoughtful messages I've received, one particular letter has been resonating with me as we begin the new year.
This summer, student David Boadita wrote, "Students here do not feel a connection or love for UCSD. I urge you to explore ways in which UCSD can build a community and a pride in being associated with this university." Faculty and staff have expressed this same concern, especially as the campus grapples with the prospect of unprecedented growth.
I share that concern. I believe that, as we strive to manage growth wisely, we also must strive to build a stronger sense of community. This is not a top-down process. It will require all of us to step outside our routines and make the time to connect with one another, just as we have done in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy.
In his letter, Mr. Boadita cited a finding of the 1998 Boyer Commission Report, "Reinventing Undergraduate Education," that "shared rituals play a powerful role in creating the larger university community." These past two weeks, in campus memorial services and town hall meetings, we gathered to share our grief and our resolve. In the months to come, we must create other occasions to share our wisdom and our hopes. And, even more important, we must make every effort to show one another respect, courtesy, and cooperation.
One such shared ritual will take place on Saturday, October 20, when UCSD revives its annual tradition of an all-day, all-campus Open House. This culmination of UCSD's 40th anniversary year will encompass a kaleidoscopic variety of events, and it will celebrate Homecoming for alumni. I want to thank the Open House Committee and the hundreds of staff and faculty who are working on this event. I invite everyone to visit the Open House Website at: http://openhouse.ucsd.edu. I hope you will be able to attend the Open House and bring your family and friends along. I also hope you can participate in the Chancellor's Challenge 5K Run/Walk for Scholars on Friday, October 19. You can learn more about this UCSD community event at: http://www-er.ucsd.edu/5k/.
Let me end by reiterating my commitment to a campus enriched by diversity - of races and cultures, of viewpoints and ideas. I also want to underscore my determination to improve the work environment of our staff through specific actions that will focus on how we can best retain and develop our people and give them the tools, resources, and support to be successful. The Staff Retention and Support Committee will provide me with a proposed action plan in December. I am eager to review it and consider its recommendations.
As always, I invite you to visit my Website at:
Robert C. Dynes