We are living through extraordinary times. Yet, as I reflect on this past year, and as we embark on what may be one of the most challenging academic years of recent memory, I remain optimistic, and I could not be prouder of our community.
I hope you will spend some time reading about our accomplishments and challenges overcome both prior to and since March 11, when we shifted to remote instruction. In our first fully online issue of Inside Grad Ed, you will see how the actions of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni demonstrate that “in service of others” is more than just a motto. It is our way of life and is always top of mind in all that we do.
For example, you will read about how GSE has met the needs of the larger New York City community throughout the pandemic. To date, we have: provided telehealth therapy and PPE to first responders and the public; created videos and offered countless webinars on mindfulness and emotion regulation for children and parents; written numerous articles and grant proposals on ways to better support our schools and communities as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and systemic racism; and worked tirelessly to incorporate best practices in inclusive, equitable online instruction into our courses. And, ever bothered by injustice, we have developed a robust action plan that will help us strengthen our anti-racist pedagogies and enhance student governance. I have also personally pledged to investigate and address the structural inequities that have disadvantaged some and advantaged others in our school, and to foster an environment where we all feel like we have the agency to make a difference with and for each other.
I know that this upcoming year will bring additional, unforeseen challenges. But I also know that in many ways, GSE is stronger than it has ever been. If close to 20 years of teaching in education has taught me anything, it is that we educators, leaders, counselors, and psychologists are a resilient and innovative group, and I know that our bold reaction to the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism will change our future for the better. Please spend some time catching up with us! I promise you will not be disappointed.
Akane Zusho, Ph.D., Interim Dean