August 28, 2020
Dear Tuck Students,
Hello at the end of what I hope was a productive week for you. T’22s, congratulations on completing your first full week of Tuck classes. As an economist, let me say how especially pleased I am about your new expertise regarding the cost structure of Littleton Bottleworks. T’21s, I hope that your transition from summer internships to the fall term continues to go smoothly.
For us faculty and staff, it was another week of preparing for and launching into this new school year with you. For me, this preparation even involved a bit of time with my syllabus for Leadership in the Global Economy, my elective in the second half of the fall term. To help keep you students apprised of relevant information, yesterday Dean Jaeger and the MBA Program Office kicked off their new weekly newsletter to you. And, following up on last week’s Town Halls, as was flagged in the newsletter, I look forward to joining our first Community Conversation next Thursday.
Last week, I shared with you my hope that this new academic year will be one of the most meaningful and impactful in the 120-year history of our School. This past spring we learned a lot, and we are continuing to expand our skills in successfully delivering our courses online – while also preparing for the transition to hybrid learning. For you T21s, we will start the fall term with our Hybrid Phase One, the structure of which was announced last week – and about which you heard more from Dean Hall earlier today.
But this week, even as the momentum of this new year builds, I want to pause for a moment. I want to pause to honor the regret that I think many of you students are feeling – even as you hold hope for a great year.
You may be feeling a sense of loss or disappointment over what is not to be this fall term. For so many of you T’22s, when you were learning about our School and working on your Tuck applications, COVID-19 was unknown. And I think that many of you T’21s, like many of us faculty and staff, had hoped last spring that our dramatic shift online would largely be over by now. Indeed, in March when I first announced that Tuck courses would move online, I said that we would do so for the first two weeks of the term and then reassess.
But unfortunately, here we are, not able to be together in and out of the classrooms as we had imagined and/or as we had once done. The year you were envisioning at some earlier time is not the year upon us right now. I completely understand that and want to honor whatever emotions you may be feeling about that.
Let me also offer two reflections on regret, in an attempt to help us – individually and collectively – build past it.
First, please know you are not alone in feeling regret. Even as so many faculty and staff have been investing immense time and talent to prepare for us to learn together in new ways, we, too, have had our own moments of regret and longing for what will not be.
One of my favorite fall happenings has long been the crackle of energy in a packed Georgiopoulos when students are cross-examining each other in LGE. That can’t happen this fall, and this week I was missing that. But what can happen this fall is Zooming guest experts into LGE, thanks to learning this spring from Dean Joe Hall and other terrific Tuck faculty how to successfully integrate guests into our online classrooms. So, yesterday I contacted my friend Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky; she is all set to join LGE on the day we address the U.S.-China trade war.
Second, please know that my optimism for this new year springs from knowing the power that comes from transforming regret into resolve. 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 determination to transform the hardship of loss into the beauty and strength of new opportunity.
Last spring as the pandemic was emerging, the Tuck community rallied to set aside our regret and to summon our resolve to achieve our academic mission in new and meaningful ways while also supporting the health and well-being of our community. I am confident that this fall, we can again transform our regret into resolve.
So, in what time you set aside this weekend for reflection, please take a bit of that time to note any regret – and then to channel that regret into resolve to envision what great things we can create together this year.
Thanks very much. Enjoy the weekend.
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.