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Washington State University

A note of appreciation

Dear friends and colleagues,

Apologies for writing you on a Saturday, but I want to take a moment to say thank you.  In so many ways, each of you has stepped up to help each other and design a plan so that our students can continue on successful learning paths.  As I contemplated sending a message today, I know that many of you are working today and tomorrow to make final preparations on how you will be administering retests on Monday and delivering your courses on Tuesday.  Your efforts “above and beyond” are noticed and appreciated.   As we look forward to next week, I would like to expand on a couple of perspectives:  face fear and do the right thing.

Face fear

Some of you have heard me talk about facing adversity head-on; this philosophy has guided me.  Once a situation is faced resulting in a decision and an action plan it is easier to move through and navigate whatever the circumstances are.  The more adversity, the “hotter the adversity,” the stronger  the inner steel in an individual.  Scott Wetzel is a colleague who speaks in our entrepreneurial class.  He describes facing fear this way:  “EAT fear like it is candy, or ice cream or anything else that you love!  Devour fear.  You will come out as a stronger person.” His messaging has resonated with our students for several years and I believe it can resonate with each of us now as we face uncertain times.

I had conversations with several students this week.  As they expressed sentiments of “being afraid,” I reiterated that I have every confidence that all of us will work through the final weeks of the semester together.  Might there be a glitch or two?  Yes, but we are problem solvers, good thinkers, and are committed to making sure that their learning is supported in quality ways.

Do the right thing

As many of you know, I am a fan of Jim Collins and believe his perspective on running effective businesses translates into guiding principles for individuals as well.  He has talked about the kinds of people who can face challenges and do the right thing.  I believe his words describe our staff and faculty in the college:

There are certain people, those special whatever-it-takes people, who almost regardless of the incentive system would still do the right thing because it’s the kind of people they are. They learned it from their mom and their dad or their military experience or the Boy Scouts or their friends in high school. I don’t know where they get it—maybe they’re born with it. But it’s just who they are.

I have seen first-hand how you are doing just this.  Our program and commitment to our students and research endeavors are a calling.  I have seen you create alternative methods of curricular delivery as the messaging over time has changed; the fact that you all have been innovative to provide the best learning environments for our students, beginning next week in light of a difficult situation, has astounded me.  I want to call out our staff as well – your support in this effort has been phenomenal.  Only a few weeks ago, I would not have known that advising could be done well remotely, that admissions and recruitment could be conducted virtually, that the experiential education team could be releasing assignments for the next year while at the same time handling disruptions with current PY4 APPE sites on a daily basis, that our graduate education team could have worked through providing remote classes, that our IT team could have outfitted so many for remote work and guided our successful active virtual classroom development, that our business services team could have planned and executed remote work while maintaining our business operations, that our two departments with input from all could have designed plans to keep students on the path to success with our students’ professional goals in mind, or that our research leadership could have planned so extensively for a myriad of “what if” situations.

Creativeness, flexibility, visionary thinking and problem solving, willingness to work hard, and an unparalleled dedication to our program and each other is what I see day in and day out.  So, as you prepare for next week, know that you are appreciated and remember that we will work through the bumps without trepidation.

With best regards and much respect,

Linda Garrelts MacLean, BPharm, RPh, FACA, FNAP
Interim Dean | Clinical Professor
Washington State University