August 31: Off To A Great Start!
As we begin our second week of the new semester, I wanted to take a moment to offer my sincerest thanks to each of you for your efforts in helping us safely reopen our campus. While the last several months have been challenging for our nation, I am constantly amazed at the resilience and perseverance of our Blue Raider community.
Although this semester will certainly be remembered in our history books, I was pleased that last week had a somewhat familiar feel to it. In thinking about our typical opening, I was reminded that, among a person’s educational experiences, time spent on a college campus is unique in that significant time is dedicated to learning how to identify and solve problems, and to thinking creatively, instead of simply memorizing answers. These past few months have proven that these life skills are among the most important to our society and, as a result of the pandemic, we have seen them put into action, as we developed and implemented our campus plans.
While walking around campus last week, I saw students and faculty working in their classrooms and laboratories – yes they were masked and appropriately distanced, but they were engaged in active learning and exploration. Even though, in some cases, we saw whiteboards and team projects replaced with Zoom and virtual activities, throughout campus, I found that we were effectively adapting to these new learning styles and tools.
We are succeeding because, as I reminded faculty in our annual convocation, we have chosen to succeed! We have not allowed ourselves to be victimized by the coronavirus.
I am truly proud of everyone’s efforts to date, but our early success does not mean that we can rest on our laurels – we must continue to follow our campus plans and health guidelines – if we are to successfully maintain an on-ground learning environment. While we have seen a few lapses in our community, as a general rule, we are complying with our masking and social distancing policies. There is universal agreement that these are two of the most effective deterrents to the spread of the virus. This must continue for the near future.
And I do want to thank Rutherford County Mayor, Bill Ketron, for his leadership in extending the county-wide mandate for all of us to continue to wear face coverings. We are an integral part of the overall health of our community and working together, we are contributing to the well-being of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.
There is still work to be done and we must make every effort to avoid falling victim to this virus. We must not allow it to disrupt the progress we have made.
With your continued support, I feel confident that we can be successful. But know this: I will not hesitate to act if this virus, or our collective response, causes a significant loss in the ground we have gained in our fight.
Be thoughtful, be careful and always be True Blue.
Sidney A. McPhee