headshot of Lisa Garcia BedollaDear Graduate Student Community,

Happy New Year and welcome back! Amidst the challenges and uncertainty we’ve been steeped in this winter, I hope you were able to do the things you enjoy most and connect with friends and loved ones.

These past two years have taught us to live with the unexpected every day. We’ve learned to be nimble, to change course with barely a moment’s notice. As we quickly pivoted to remote instruction this month — though an unwelcome launch to a semester where we hoped to reconnect in person — it has shown us that we’re well-prepared to weather these bumps. I know the last few weeks have been challenging, and hope you are staying as well as you can be. I applaud your grace, resilience, and flexibility.

Spring is about renewal; we have a lot to be grateful for and look forward to this semester. Year-end giving to graduate student support was generous. This increase in annual fund investment directly strengthens the support scaffolding for students across campus, positively impacting things like our professional development programs, graduate student experience, affinity group activities, and campus partners such as the D-Lab where graduate students learn data-intensive research design. We are working hard to improve graduate student funding, housing, and support overall and many of our programs are engaged in innovative efforts to improve graduate education writ large.

I want to underscore the Graduate Division’s commitment to your academic success, future professional success, and especially your well-being. Know that we are here to listen to your concerns, and want to do what we can to help you. You may sign up for a 15-minute appointment with me. For assistance navigating resources, you can schedule a 15-minute virtual appointment with Graduate Student Life Director Larissa Charnsangavej or one of our campus Graduate Peer Support Providers.

So that we can bring our campus community back together in person safely, and for your own health, I urge you to please heed the current campus access guidelines around COVID-19 protocols. The campus COVID-19 Resources website should be your initial go-to resource for current info, and GradDiv has updated Return to Campus Spring 2022 and COVID-19 pages with information specifically for graduate students.

As we move through this semester and encounter inevitable surprises, let me share some inspiration excerpted from Amanda Gorman’s most recent poem, “New Day’s Lyric”:

Even if we never get back to normal,
Someday we can venture beyond it,
To leave the known and take the first steps.
So let us not return to what was normal,
But reach toward what is next.

May that “next” be a better, more supportive, and more equitable new normal. Wishing you much success this semester as we forge ahead together. Fiat lux!

Lisa García Bedolla

Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division