A Durable Mission For The Twenty-First Century

By: Julie Fissinger
Reading Group Participant
Executive Director of the President’s Council
Development and University Relations

As a member of Fordham’s development team for many years, I have had the privilege of meeting with generations of Fordham alumni, who have told a now familiar story of their lives being transformed by their Jesuit education. Often the first in their family to graduate from college, their Fordham diploma opened the world to them, and in turn, to their children. It is because of these compelling stories and witnessing the power of this same transformative education in the students I encounter today, that I am invested more than ever in Fordham’s enduring mission; a mission that retains relevance, appeal, and imperative.    

Founded in 1841 to educate immigrants who were not welcome elsewhere, Fordham has been committed to access and empowerment of the marginalized since its inception. While access and marginalized may be more modern descriptions, Fordham has, nonetheless, held these values close for 175 years. It is this continued commitment, combined with intellectual rigor grounded in the humanities and an emphasis on service, reflection and justice, that arguably make Fordham a modern-day university ahead of its time. 

Furthermore, Fordham’s location in the Bronx, one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, doesn’t afford an “ivory tower-ish” approach to social justice, but rather it provides opportunity. The poor and oppressed are right outside of our gates. I think we all agree that we can and we should do more to ensure equity, including more outreach to our immediate community, reforming curriculum and teaching, and addressing cost. Whether studying science, business, or the humanities, student formation is at its best and the most powerful when rooted in the cause of the human family. Thankfully, the building blocks, beginning with Catholic social teaching on the dignity of the human person and the paramount of the common good, are in our toolbox.   

This past semester I had the privilege of being a member of the ReIMAGINE Reading Group, which caused me to think more deeply about our mission, how it connects to equity and how we must continue to hold Fordham to its mission. It also made me more observant and mindful of the wider higher education landscape, especially during this most recent and challenging chapter. Would students thrive in online learning? Would faculty and administrators remain focused on their work?

I believe many would agree that if Fordham has a “super power” it is our sense of community; a community that is immediately tangible to visitors and newcomers. However, if community is our super power, how does that strength translate in a pandemic? As it turns out, we learned that community is also our saving grace. Certainly our students missed gathering for class, as well as for senior week and commencement, and faculty and staff missed waving hello to one another on campus, grabbing coffee and having lunch together. Yet, it is the sense of community that sustained us, gave us the will to move on, and find a way forward. Fordham’s community is a product of its mission, a notion that we are companions with a higher purpose. In fact, new mental health research on wellness and happiness reveals the importance of gratitude and generosity, two staples of a Fordham education, leaving other institutions trying to emulate and catch-up to where we’ve always been.

As we look ahead, let’s challenge each other to fortify that Fordham difference, leaning into mission, rather than away from it, and allowing it to propel the University into the future; a future that hungers for a deep and purposeful education infused with Ignatian values, and with a goal of making the world a more just, equal and loving place. At this moment in time, what more could we need and ask for?

The Virus Is Not The Crisis

By: Diane Detournay
Reading Group Participant
Lecturer, English and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

In a semester marked by the radical unsettling of higher education’s foundational infrastructure, members of the ReIMAGINE Reading Group reflected at the last meeting on how the reading and discussions it shared together, prepared everyone for the immense challenges of this time in unexpected ways. While we could not have anticipated the abrupt closure of our classrooms and the loss of the familiar conditions that structure teaching and learning, our efforts to expansively “reimagine” undergraduate education to better serve our students suddenly and urgently needed to be put into practice. As one member of our group eloquently put it, “all of a sudden the future we were talking and reading about was here.”

Although conversations about the current state of higher education tend to cast the coronavirus as the source of the crisis and as the principal force to contend with, the work of the Reading Group points us towards a different framing, which I also see opening up spaces of possibility. Along these lines, the pandemic is best understood not as a discrete event that precipitates marginalization or as itself the agent of harm, but rather as that which exposes and amplifies a set of already existing crises at the site of the university. For example, we grappled with a range of issues prior to the online transition ranging from the student debt crisis, the inadequate support for universal design, the deprofessionalization of teaching, the casualization of academic labor, the disjuncture between disciplinary training and the demands of the job market, issues pertaining to diversity, and the intensification of inequalities pertaining to college preparedness.

The Reading Group also reflected on how the stories that we share regarding the founding and mission of the university deeply shape the ways in which we apprehend these problems and our potential imagining of the future.  The words of Katheryn Yusoff resonate here: “…nothing that can be found in the end is not already prefigured in the origin. Origins configure and prefigure the possibility of narratives of the present.”

As a result, I return to the collective insights from the Reading Group at this critical juncture when we are working to creatively stretch the potentialities contained within the hybrid flex model as far as they can possibly go. Amidst the ongoing tragedy and its ruins, the pandemic has also provided a clearing to seize these struggles as the defining condition of higher education. The ReIMAGINE Reading Group has compelled me to challenge the predominant framing of the pandemic as a crisis that has disrupted a status quo and as one that primarily demands medical, technological, and scientific management. Rather, perhaps we understand this moment as one that offers us the opening and opportunity to imagine a future world from an origin marked by crisis.  

Compassion, Cura Personalis, and COVID-19

By: Tori Mack
Incubator Participant
Academic Skills Administrator
Higher Education Opportunity Program

It’s common to see an outpouring of compassion for one another following a tragedy. Support for those who need it most and acts of kindness made in good faith to strangers, simply because we are united by a common bond. However, what is uncommon is sustained compassion following the passing of tragedy. Where does this widespread unity go when we move on, when loss and struggle are no longer at the forefront of our minds? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on all aspects of life as we know it, especially higher education. Students and professors have struggled with adapting to this new normal, and asynchronous classes,  Zoom meetings, and last minute syllabus changes, in the wake of processing fear and turmoil, have taken a toll on our community. While the adjustment has been strenuous and the process not ideal, the outcome has been remarkable in many ways. For example, colleges and universities of all sizes have discovered that they can do what once may have seemed impossible. We discovered that in many cases, we can run classes online, and we can increase student access to free educational materials. Perhaps most importantly, we can put students’ needs first. 

In response to the national pandemic, there has been an overwhelming increase in holistic support for students. At Fordham, we know support of the whole being is necessary for students to thrive, which is the true definition of Cura Personalis. Sustainable aid, access, and outreach is, admittedly, easier said than done, but it must not be written off as impossible or unattainable. We have already proven that we can do better. 

This past spring I was fortunate enough to participate in the ReIMAGINE Higher Education Incubator. In my opinion, the most meaningful part of contributing to such a diverse team was navigating our personal interests, along with our ties to Fordham and relationships within the university, in order to forge ahead toward a common goal. Our unique skills, perspectives, and connections inspired and challenged us to think in new ways each time we met, and because of this, we were able to produce five tangible and pilotable projects. However, the major takeaway for me is that accessible spaces where all voices are celebrated and heard, create unity and foster the growth needed for change. 

The future of what higher education will look like after this pandemic is uncertain, but much can be learned from the time and space we presently share. Instead of settling for a temporary new normal that may be forgotten later on, let us work toward creating novel standards for higher education; standards that promote access and support for all who need it and standards that hold onto the compassion we have led with these past few months.

Spirituality, Gratitude, and Love: Potent Healers In Uncertain Times

By: Carol Gibney, LMSW
Reading Group Participant
Associate Director of Campus Ministry for Spiritual and Pastoral Ministries
Director of Spiritual Life, Leadership and Service
Ignatian Yoga Teacher

Deemed once again Ground Zero, New York has experienced tremendous hardship and pain as a result of the pandemic. The effects – mentally, physically and emotionally – have been devastating, as we hear reports from those on the front lines of unimaginable suffering and death. COVID-19 has indiscriminately destroyed and disrupted lives, and the shock and trauma has impacted all of us in so many ways. However, despite the disruption and emotional distress, our Fordham community has continued to move forward, quickly integrating into zoom classrooms, blackboard postings, and other modes of communicating and connecting, that prior to March, we never imagined we would be offering. 

In this time of social distancing caused by COVID-19, I have been re-reading the book, The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola, by Dean Brackley, SJ, which has had a tremendous impact on me and the work that I do as a campus minister at Fordham. This book has offered sage and wise offerings throughout the years, and suggests the importance and necessity of daily spiritual practices, while belonging to a community that not only supports us and challenges us to stay faithful, but also nourishes us in our alternative vision and practice.

Since lock down, I have been contributing to a text message chain every morning with a group of women. We call ourselves the Soul Sisters and our friendship has spanned over thirty years. The day begins with messages that include three things that we are grateful for each day, and this simple practice has helped me dive deeper into the attitude of gratitude that I try to integrate into my work as a campus minister.

With that being said, when I joined the ReIMAGINE Reading Group in January, I was grateful for the opportunity and viewed it as a way to collaborate with colleagues from across the university who were dedicated to their work as educators, committed to the mission of our university, and guided by Ignatian values. What I didn’t know at the time was that this initiative would be a gateway and a stepping stone for the entire university to immerse itself in reimagining higher education once the pandemic hit. 

Throughout the spring semester, the Reading Group discussed the history of education, as well as explored the privilege and inequity in higher education. I believe it is our job as a university to open the eyes and hearts of students to the reality of inequity and inequality, and in the world of a pandemic, I think it is even more important to study and reflect on these issues, causes and potential solutions, especially since New York is our campus.

As a result, I intend to continue reimagining my work as a campus minister in the 21st century, in addition to dreaming, brainstorming, and creating meaningful pathways for students, faculty and staff to connect with the Ignatian heritage and principles. I envision the post-quarantine world will crave deeper relationships with community, spirituality, and love, and in spite of the suffering and instability caused by the pandemic, it is an exciting time with many possibilities that were not even on the horizon or possible just a few months ago. New Yorkers are strong. We recognize and value diversity, creativity, and inclusion, and we come together in tough times with an unstoppable sense of hope and community. Us Rams are tough, just look at our Fordham educated Governor.

In the meantime, stay healthy, stay strong, stay in love, stay home and stay grounded. I look forward to connecting in the future. Namaste. 

Disruptive Forces Trigger Productivity

By: Sharif Mowlabocus
Reading Group Participant
Associate Professor, Communication & Media Studies

Health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are (to say the least) disruptive forces. The eerie silence of Times Square and Lincoln Center masks the chaos that the virus has brought to daily life in New York. Meanwhile, the human and economic cost of the Coronavirus will not be fully known for months, if not years. But crises of any kind are also productive. They produce new forms of social control; they produce new social norms and cultural practices; and they can even produce new ways of thinking, including how we learn, teach and train.

Set against the human impact of the virus, it might feel wrong to contemplate how we might benefit from this global pandemic. At the same time, requests for things to ‘go back to normal’ ignore what the pandemic has exposed, not to mention the social, economic and health inequities many students and staff face.

For example, when Fordham suspended face-to-face instruction, some students shifted seamlessly to asynchronous learning, Zoom classes and the more atomized educational experience that remote teaching invariably produces. Yet, others struggled to balance their studies with caring for siblings and relatives (some possibly in the healthcare industry), supplementing their household’s income, or even living with abusive or substance-dependent parents. The pandemic did not create student inequality, but it has underscored the emotional, financial and psychological burden some students carry on their shoulders as they attend classes, work on assignments and do the various other things that students are expected to do.

As a member of the ReIMAGINE Reading Group, we spent the first half of the spring semester sharpening our understanding of these burdens, while exploring the latest scholarship on diversity and inequality in higher education. Collectively, this work explored three distinct but interrelated challenges:

  • the economic and social challenges that some students face coming into higher education,
  • the challenges of updating higher education for the 21st century,
  • the challenges that students face upon graduation as they enter the world of work.

In the second half of the semester, the pandemic prompted us to test our learning and to reimagine higher education. Responding to the Provost’s call for ‘creative and resilient approaches to delivering a Fordham education’, the group collaborated on a suite of proposals designed to support learning in a post-COVID environment. Our previous engagement with scholars such as Cathy Davidson, Anthony Abraham Jack and Jeffrey J. Selingo, meant we rejected the ‘return to normal’ mindset. Instead, we saw this as an opportunity to design new modes of learning that challenge normative methods of instruction and advising, which can often be methods that privilege the mainstream at the expense of more vulnerable and marginalized students – and faculty.

From team-teaching and new community-focused core courses, to a re-fashioned advising program and regional Fordham ‘meet-ups’, the ReIMAGINE Reading Group embraced the chaos caused by COVID-19 and used it as a chance to prioritize the kinds of changes Davidson and others have been calling for. In doing so, we were able to re-invest in the Jesuit principle of Cura Personalis and reimagine how Fordham can continue to invest – but also bring the out the best – in its students, its faculty and in its staff in the 21st century.

The ReIMAGINE Reading Group has been a transformative experience for me, irrespective of the global pandemic. This has been my first year at Fordham and the Reading Group has connected me with colleagues from across the university; people who I might otherwise not have met for a long time, if ever. Through my interactions with the rest of the group, I have been able to gain a deeper understanding of the values upon which Fordham is built, its philosophy and its mission. I have also witnessed the genuine commitment many at Fordham have to ensuring that we continue to evolve and challenge ourselves as we work to deliver a meaningful, equitable and ethically-focused educational experience to our diverse body of students.

Finding Community Where You Least Expect It

By: Kaylee Wong
Incubator Participant
Undergraduate Student, FCRH, Class of 2020
United Student Government, Executive President

Community. Nearly every Fordham student I have ever spoken with mentions this word when they are describing why they love Fordham; the community. When I was looking at colleges as a junior in high school, I toured over 35 schools before making my decision. The one thing I remember when I think back to this process was the way in which Fordham students interacted and cared about one another.

The moment I saw hundreds of students sitting on Edward’s Parade during my tour one spring day, was when I experienced that indescribable feeling high school seniors talk about when they believe they have found “their place.” Once I became a student at Fordham, it was this community that got me through the tough times and was also there for me through all the fun times. I found community in my friends, who became like family; I found community in the clubs and organizations I joined, especially in Student Government; I found community in the classroom with my peers and professors. This community remains a vital part of my Fordham experience, as I am now a senior. 

When I joined the ReIMAGINE Incubator earlier this year, I was expecting a group of hardworking individuals who would work together once a week for a semester and then move on. Instead, I found, once again, a community. A community of passionate individuals, with amazing ideas and perspectives to share and a phenomenal ability to make everyone in the group feel heard.

As we moved into our new world filled with online learning, Zoom calls, and lots of uncertainty, many of our communities were tested. Would we be able to maintain the same level of connection even though we were all so far apart? For me, even though we must all remain at home, I have witnessed people coming together in amazing ways during these trying times. Through Zoom calls, shared recipes, blackboard discussions, and more, we are remaining connected, and I think that the Fordham community continues to thrive. 

The ReIMAGINE Higher Education Incubator has been an indescribable experience filled with growth, learning, and experimentation. Zoom calls with the Incubator were actually one of the few things that I would look forward to each week. The Incubator gave me the opportunity to meet a group of phenomenal individuals, who when placed in teams, created inspiring and goal-driven projects. In addition, it allowed me to be a part of a community that has a deep love and passion for Fordham and would do everything it could to enhance and improve it for others. Despite the health crisis, the Incubator pushed forward, and for that, I am incredibly proud and grateful. 

In conclusion, this Incubator is exactly what Fordham needs to be looking at during these uncertain times because it’s initiatives such as this that will push boundaries and make waves. Now more than ever we must keep striving to be the best university we can be, and we must also continue to provide opportunities, like the Incubator, so the Fordham community can come together, because without these connections we will never survive. 

Celebrating the Achievements, Embracing the Passion

By: Usha Sankar, Ph.D.
Incubator Participant
Advanced Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences
Academic Advisor, Senior Class

Each year, my students and I look forward to the Fordham University Undergraduate Research Symposium (FUURS), where my students present their research and project proposals. However, this year, it was going to be even more special as my students had produced original, hypotheses driven research and collected data on the correlations between air quality and health outcomes.

We started with reading articles on air quality and asthma in January. I had my students come up with different ideas to access air quality and respiratory health using data from the city and the state databases, and brainstorm novel hypotheses. I even bought hand held air quality monitors so that some of my students could make their own measurements of air quality in their dorm rooms and common areas, in addition to off campus locations.

We discussed this during my regular lab session last week and the students (and I) expressed our disappointment about having to abruptly terminate the research. The saving grace has been that I had given them deadlines to compile and submit preliminary data before spring break and present their research to the entire class. Usually, I have the students present their research at the end of the semester, but something made me schedule an earlier presentation this time. In retrospect, I am so glad I did that, as the students had preliminary data, and conclusions, as well as a presentation. They could now use this as the basis for submitting abstracts to the FUURS. Needless to say, now more than ever, I am looking forward to seeing the abstracts in the symposium proceedings.

This semester has been extraordinary in every sense, and very stressful. We have all been focused on going above and beyond for our students and providing them with the best possible learning opportunities under these unprecedented circumstances. Although my class did take a moment last week to mourn what would have been this year’s FUURS, I do want to celebrate and cheer for all the original ideas and efforts from my students. It is moments like these, along with the time I have spent with the ReIMAGINE Higher Ed Incubator, that have provided me with the optimism and the feeling that there is a bright future ahead for higher education. When all of us – faculty, staff, administrators, and students – work together, we can expect our students to become scientists, innovators, and leaders who will create positive change!

Facing the Future

By: Samir Haddad
Reading Group Participant
Associate Professor, Philosophy

One of the lessons we’re already drawing from the COVID-19 crisis, is that as an institution and a society we need to be better prepared for the future. The rapid and positive response of students, faculty, staff, and administrators to completely change the way that Fordham operates has been truly impressive, but we’ve also learned that we were woefully unprepared for this event. We’re now all under pressure to plan and be ready for what lies ahead us, even as so much of the future remains so uncertain.

I believe that this planning and preparation is absolutely essential, but I worry about the effects it may have on all of us engaged in the mission of education. We are understandably afraid of what the future of the pandemic holds, and we need to do our best to make sure that the worst possibilities in that future are held at bay. We need to change our policies and actions so that we are protected against the damage that the pandemic can do – damage to our bodies, to Fordham, to our community, to the economy, to our democracy, to the very fabric of our society. But I worry that this fear of the future of the pandemic becomes a fear of the future as such. I worry that in our fear we will become focused on being in total control of everything in the future, on trying to anticipate every possible event and every eventuality.

I worry about this because fear of the future is fundamentally an anti-educational attitude. Everyone involved in education – students, teachers, staff, and administrators – must love the future and welcome it with open arms. And central to this love is a willingness to be surprised. The best educational experiences occur when something happens in the classroom that we had no idea was coming, when someone says something completely unpredictable, so that everyone in the room, the teacher included, learns something new. Education is all about preparing students for the future, but without all of the protections, so that they will chase it and embrace it. An education that does not love the future and is afraid to be surprised by it, is hard to imagine as an education at all.

So as we continue to reimagine higher education – something the crisis is forcing us all to do – I hope that we can balance the fear in our minds with an equal measure of love. 

Taking A Seat at the Grown-Ups’ Table

By: Andrew Souther
Incubator Participant
Undergraduate Student, FCRH, Class of 2021

Growing up in New Orleans, I am very familiar with “hurricane parties.” When the power first goes out, neighbors gather to share generators and gas stoves. As a little kid, you’re just excited to be out of school. There is an eerie sense that things will be “different” for a while, but the reality may not set in until later.

When Fordham University decided to cancel in-person classes on March 9, I felt a bit of déjà vu. The temperature was in the 70s for the first time in a while, and social-distancing standards were still an abstract idea, so students spread out across the lawns celebrating a few unexpected days off. This “hurricane party” felt a bit different though. It’s odd to look at this kind of situation from the perspective of a “grown-up” for the first time—or at least an “almost-grown-up.” I grew anxious as I felt my plans and responsibilities being thrown off course.

After flying home a week later, I realized I had to cut back and focus on the important things. I emailed a few friends and professors sadly, discussing plans for ongoing projects: “Thanks for all of the help with research on this, but I’ve decided not to submit for that essay contest this year…” Then on March 19, Professor Anne Fernald emailed members of the Incubator, offering us the option to leave if we felt the need to prioritize other matters. I thought about the offer, but it became clear that this group was something I should hold on to.

The ReIMAGINE Higher Ed Leadership Team was clearly putting in so much effort to transition our work online, and I felt compelled to match that effort with whatever I could manage. In fact, only one day after in-person classes were cancelled, the Incubator met online, and I saw all the faces I was familiar with on Tuesday evenings. As other classes and clubs struggled to transition, these meetings became a consistent and comforting presence in my week. Despite life obstacles that may not be visible to me, fellow participants have brought understanding, optimism, and funny costumes to our Zoom calls.

However, that does not mean continuing with the Incubator has been easy. This work was difficult even before moving online. I imagine it’s always challenging—and occasionally frustrating—trying to solve serious problems or building something valuable. My group has designed a first-year course focused on advocacy skills for students from under-represented or disadvantaged populations on campus. In the past few weeks, we have faced deadlines for project proposals and videos, and it has been hectic. In a certain sense, it’s a powerful coincidence that my time in the Incubator has aligned with these stressful few months. Just as I’ve unfortunately realized what it feels like to be a “grown-up” at a “hurricane party” facing an uncertain future, Fordham has given me this opportunity to work as a grown-up with other real grown-ups. I do not feel nearly as experienced as fellow participants from the faculty, staff, graduate schools, or local community, but I am glad I stayed at the table and have a place in the Incubator.

A Turning Point For Higher Education

By: Stephanie Adomavicius
Director of Communications and Events, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

A crisis can be defined as “an unstable or crucial time in which a decisive change is impending” (Merriam-Webster). In this case, companies and organizations, as well as political and government figures, are encouraged to be as prepared as possible by having a trained spokesperson appointed, a communications plan ready to roll out and a detailed course of action. A crisis can also be described as a turning point for better or worse. It can be a defining moment for an organization where its leaders take control of the situation and shine, thus allowing positive, unplanned awareness to be spread, or conversely, it can be the downfall of a brand name. Yet, no matter how prepared and groomed an organization may be, sometimes it is difficult to anticipate the worst case scenario.

As a communications professional, I’ve been watching the coronavirus pandemic play out with a watchful eye, remembering all the important lessons that were instilled in me during my graduate courses; the importance of having a crisis communications plan, the impact of being transparent and accountable and the power of knowing your audience. While every crisis can be a learning opportunity for what not to do, this health crisis has brought certain issues to the forefront and has cast them center stage while the world is watching; one of which is higher education and topics of teaching and learning. Although it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole, only seeing the “what could have been” for the spring semester and focusing on all the challenges everyone is experiencing while social distancing, I for one choose not to go down that path and see this as a turning point for higher education.

The ReIMAGINE Higher Education Initiative calls upon participants in the Reading Group and the Incubator to create an innovative and connected culture at Fordham, equipped to reimagine the Ignatian University for the 21st Century, and it aims to prepare faculty, staff, students, and community members for “a world in flux.” A world in flux….this statement has never been as applicable and as relevant as it is today. Now more than ever those in higher education – administrators, faculty and students – need to approach each challenge as an opportunity, each task with an innovative eye and each question with an inquisitive and creative mindset. In this case, we all have become true participants of the ReIMAGINE Higher Education Initiative.

Furthermore, this health crisis has thrown the laggards and those slow to adapt new methodologies into the deep end of the technology and innovation pool. Is it a scary feeling? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Of course and this is okay. However, as we are several weeks into this virtual setting, some faculty, administrators and students are starting to catch their breath, and are finding different ways to keep themselves afloat, as they are juggling new responsibilities in different locations around the world. It can then be argued that each member of the Fordham community is operating his/her own authentic Incubator/maker lab space, conceptualizing ideas revolving around the accessibility and the operation of technology, novel ideas on how to study, learn new material, and complete assignments, and even groundbreaking ways to complete processes and deadlines within departments that may have been paper-based. We are all learning from each other and adjusting, which is a beautiful thing, and the answers to many complex and important questions will soon reveal and uncover themselves down the line. In my opinion, some questions include:

  • How will the issue of tuition be addressed as the unemployment rate remains high?
  • How has the college experience shifted?
  • Will students want to stay closer to home?
  • How do we define a classroom?
  • Will all classes have a greater online component going forward?
  • How can we further assist students with disabilities and make things more accessible in an online format?
  • How will degree requirements need to be adjusted for undergraduate and graduate programs, and do older requirements even apply moving forward in this new world?
  • How will admission requirements adjust for incoming students?
  • How will international student enrollment differ?

We all hold the answers to some of these questions, and as the Fordham community continues to grow together during this turbulent time, sharing feedback and being there for one another, we are all making a difference and are altering the course of higher education one block at a time; the ultimate goal of the ReIMAGINE Higher Education Initiative.

In conclusion, putting both my communications and higher education leader hat on, watching the Fordham community come together and rise to the challenge during this health crisis has been a humbling and inspiring presentation filled with empathy, trust and kindness. While this is no doubt an emotionally grueling and unprecedented time in our personal and professional lives, we need to count our blessings and embrace the resilient, supportive community that Fordham is comprised of. Although some believe this new normal will forever change the way the world interacts and operates, I think it will make us more appreciative and grateful for the people and resources that we have, while simultaneously molding each of us to think big and be bold. This is our turning point in higher education. Let’s embrace our moment and welcome it.

Stay well and be safe!