4.10.20: Week 4--Update With Appreciation from Provost Farrell

An update on remote teaching and learning

Dear Lehigh Faculty and Staff,

I figured at this point we could all use a little appreciation and maybe a little bit of laughter, too. 

If you have participated in the VISIONS workshops at Lehigh, you might remember learning a few seemingly modest ways to begin and end discussions that help emphasize the community nature of the work we do. One that comes to mind now is saving the last few minutes of a meeting or discussion to invite “regrets,” which tend to be starting points for next time, and “appreciations.” I particularly like the “appreciations” part because it serves as an invitation to the group to think about the discussion or meeting, and note specific positive contributions folks made to the conversation, such as a willingness to be honest about a difficult topic or particularly attentive listening. Saying these things out loud, to the entire group, is an important part of appreciating. 

These days we have many appreciations to go around: for all the health care workers putting their own health and safety at risk to care for others, for the folks at the grocery store who make it possible for us to get what we need for our families, for all the Lehigh people it takes to continue to teach, learn, support students, care for those still on campus, and so on. Try as I might, I don’t think I can make an accurate and comprehensive list. I can, however, voice my appreciation. I invite you to do the same. Identify someone whose efforts in this crisis you appreciate, and find a way to tell them. You might discover that you benefit from the telling just as much as they’ll benefit from hearing it. 

I’ll get us started: I appreciate all of you for the work you’re doing to support and encourage each other in these challenging times. Whatever your role, your positivity and dedication are what will sustain our Lehigh community as we continue to navigate these ever-changing circumstances. Thank you. 

The second part of my message today is a little less serious. To quote Monty Python, who knew a thing or two about levity, “And now for something completely different.” 

I’ve asked my colleagues in the Provost Office and the Deans to recommend short videos they have come across—or even made themselves—in the past few weeks that they’ve found to be fun or funny or inspirational. Below are links to some of these. Try them out and let me know which you like best. 

I expect many of you have come across or produced similar videos as well. If you’d like to share, send me the links and I’ll include them in my note next week. If I get lots of suggestions, I may need to pick a “10 Best” list (with no discernable selection criteria) and post the links to the others. Hopefully we can help add a little joy to one another’s stay-at-home existences. 

While the pandemic may seem to be unfolding in almost slow motion, I’m sure it is moving plenty fast for those in the middle of health care or supporting ill family or friends. We can all work at a human scale, a day at a time, one class at a time, one student at a time—and hopefully make the difference we always have. 

Have a good weekend. Stay healthy, and remember to notice and appreciate the good you encounter each day. 

Pat Farrell