March 20, 2020
As our spring break draws to a close, I write today for two reasons. One is to highlight some of this week’s major announcements from both Tuck and Dartmouth. The second is to give voice to two important sentiments coursing through our community: regret and resolve.
This week, I shared with you the decision to move all MBA courses to remote-only learning for the entire spring term, with no option for you to attend in person. To the extent possible, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities will also be delivered remotely this spring. Deans Jaeger and Hall have shared with you some context for what campus and the Upper Valley will be like in the time ahead. Remember that you can consult Tuck’s COVID-19 website to serve as a source for Tuck-specific news and information, along with an archive of all community-wide announcements from Tuck and Dartmouth. And, later next week I plan to host a virtual town hall to connect with all of you live (we will provide details ahead of time).
Turning to my second topic, there is no question our base camp is markedly different today from what it was last week in my first update to you – let alone when our spring break began. I want to acknowledge that the scope and speed of change confronting you students is immense. This is true whether or not you will be returning to the Upper Valley. If you plan to be elsewhere in the world this term, then your Tuck classes and other activities will be situated all in a context very different from our cherished campus. If you plan to return to the Upper Valley, then you must fully appreciate the need to undertake your Tuck classes and other activities while following all Dartmouth, state and federal guidelines – both on campus and off-campus.
These changes are for one purpose and one purpose only: to help safeguard public health. Before classes start, I encourage you to reflect on one question. How does this change make you feel?
Let me help spark your reflection by honoring your regret and by encouraging your resolve.
Part of you may feel a sense of loss or disappointment over what is not to be this spring term – not being able to do all the different things inside and outside the classroom like you did in earlier terms. I want to respect and honor whatever regret you may be feeling. And, I want to say that please do know you are not alone in this regret. Even as so many faculty and staff have been scrambling the past two weeks to prepare for us to learn together in new ways, we on campus have also had our own moments of regret and longing for what could have been.
One of my favorite spring rituals has long been admiring the collective accomplishment, joy, and aspiration on the steps of Tuck Hall for class photo. I am confident that we will somehow create a unique photograph of the T20s that will stand out on the first floor of Tuck Hall for all to behold. But, yes, it will be different, and part of me wishes that were not the case.
It is at these times of regret when resolve can be especially empowering. At Tuck, we define leadership as the ability to craft a compelling vision for the future and then to guide the execution of that vision with and through others. Those compelling visions so often spring from a firm determination to try to achieve greatness or to overcome hardships. To put a man on the moon. To not give up your bus seat. Whether that something seems large or small in the moment, when done in concert with others and over time, the actions sparked by resolve are what better our world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed thousands and, sadly, many more may lose their lives to this terrible disease. Amidst this global tragedy, Tuck faculty and staff have been working tirelessly to set aside their regret and to summon their resolve to achieve our academic mission while also doing all that we can to preserve the health and well-being of our community.
My deepest hope right now is that each and every one of you bring to our spring term a similar spirit of resolve and determination.
Travel safely in the next few days, wherever your destination may be. We look forward to seeing you in our virtual classrooms next week.
Matthew J. Slaughter
Dean of the Tuck School of Business
Dartmouth has formed a high-level task force to plan for and manage possible disruptions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, monitor federal and state recommendations, implement guidance, and communicate with our community.