As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to take time to express gratitude for our colleagues and opportunities that make our work in the CITL so rewarding.
Before I do that, however, I want to acknowledge that not everyone celebrates this day as a holiday, particularly many Native Americans who mark this as a National Day of Mourning that commemorates the start of their peoples’ genocide and forced relocation. To learn more about the myths around Thanksgiving and its impact on native peoples, see this short video called Don’t Forget Indigenous Struggles on Thanksgiving or this article, “What you learned about the ‘first Thanksgiving’ isn’t true. Here’s the real story.” For more information about IUB’s work with indigenous people, see the First Nations Educational & Cultural Center’s site.
In the broader spirit of thanksgiving that stretches beyond the problematic Pilgrim narrative, I want to take a moment to express gratitude for the many opportunities, collaborations, and friendships that infuse our work in the CITL.
My thanks to our faculty colleagues who co-presented in summer webinars and our fall symposium. These individuals generously shared their expertise and experiences at a time when they were hustling to keep up with their own work. We always work better when they are by our sides, and that has never been truer than now. Thanks to them for the partnerships, guidance, and friendships that have sustained us over these challenging months.
I am grateful, too, to the many students who work with us. Not only do we have marvelous co-workers in the center—I am talking about you, Charmian, Nzzy, and Daphne—but we also have many fantastic tutors at Writing Tutorial Services who have learned to tutor remotely, and whose dedication to their work and peers deserves our collective thanks. And our Advocates for Community Engagement, while not actively working with us this fall, continue to learn and prepare themselves for the return of on-site service-learning. I am truly grateful to all these students who continue to work with us while managing their own most challenging semesters ever.
Speaking of service-learning, I am thankful for all our community partner agencies. Their ongoing work for their clients—particularly our Bloomington neighbors who are most in need during this pandemic—is both heroic and desperately needed right now, particularly as they work without the influx of volunteers IUB provides. Many agencies continue to work with us, arranging virtual and project-based service opportunities for IUB students, as they also explore the unknowns of the next several months. I am grateful for their work, and we hope to return to our full partnerships soon.
Thanks, also, to our partners across campus who have collaborated with us and supported our work. I cannot name them all, but want to particularly acknowledge our colleagues in OVPUE (Kurt Zorn and Martha Oakley), UITS Learning Technologies (Stacy Morrone, Julie Johnston, Justin Zemlyak, Michele Kelmer, Randy Newbrough… and even John Gosney, who recently left us for Purdue), OVPFAA (Eliza Pavalko, Kim Geeslin, and Beth Gazley), OVPDEMA (Monica Johnson), the College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (Carmen Henne-Ochoa), FACET (Michael Morrone), and Eric Metzler in Kelley. I truly appreciate their incredible leadership and willingness to partner with us on so many initiatives.
Finally, I want to express my deepest gratitude to my staff colleagues in the CITL. Despite the personal and professional challenges they have faced during the pandemic, they have stepped up when the campus needed them the most. And they have done it with professionalism, grace, and dedication. I am so very grateful to:
- Anita, who keeps the (virtual) lights on and tutors paid at WTS;
- Cordah, whose grace and tenacity in the face of challenging technical problems is appreciated by frustrated instructors across IUB;
- Jeanne, whose organizational skills and problem-solving keep us on track, and whose good nature makes us all smile;
- Jennifer, whose technical skills are only matched only by her creativity and her generosity on projects;
- Jessica, whose insights and truth-telling bring us back to our core values;
- Jo Ann, whose sharp wit entertains us all, and whose incredible dedication to the tutors in WTS will be sorely missed when she retires in December;
- Joan, whose belief in the transformative power of our work shows in her deep-dive projects with faculty across campus;
- John Paul, whose talents as a leader show in both his strategic insights and generosity of spirit;
- Kate, whose quiet strength is wonderfully balanced by her desire to always look around the corner for what’s next;
- Leslie, whose depth of knowledge, curiosity, and attention to detail make her the perfect member of any team;
- Lisa, whose commitment to the greater good of the center and campus guide her work, and whose biggest flaw is her inability to say “no” when she knows she can help;
- Madeleine, whose dedication and drive are balanced well with her humility and heart-warming laugh;
- Matt, whose quiet work behind the scenes never goes unnoticed or unappreciated, as he keeps the wheels on and the bytes flowing;
- Megan, whose commitment to equity and justice act as a touchstone for our work and help us push our limits and expectations;
- Michael, whose thoughtfulness, compassion, and empathy keep us attentive to each other’s needs;
- Sue, whose quiet guidance and years of experience with online learning have given us confidence and expertise in a challenging time of transition; and
- Shannon, whose long view toward community-building has transformed our SoTL program and anchored our work in evidence-based practice.
Oh, and an extra helping of gratitude for everyone’s children, dogs, and cats that have made our countless Zoom calls more enjoyable.
My heartfelt thanks to all these people, and to all the IUB instructors who have worked tirelessly to help our students succeed in a tumultuous semester. I hope you all get a chance to visit with friends and family—if only virtually to keep each other safe—and to recharge a bit for the final push of the semester. Oh, and make sure there’s pie…, you’ve earned it.