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Emergency Notification

From the Dean

April 13, 2021

April 2021

Dear College of Arts & Letters Community:

As we approach the last month of the Spring 2021 semester, the third semester of the pandemic, I have been asking, “In these circumstances, how is it that students have managed to survive academically and, in many cases, to thrive?”

Education researcher Arthur Costa developed a framework for learning and achieving positive academic outcomes that delineated 16 Habits of Mind or ways of thinking and behaving. The first of these is particularly relevant to the current moment and to your ability to not only survive, but to thrive: “persistence.” “Persisting” is the ability to push through to get to completion.

Persistence is necessary but not sufficient for achieving academic success during the pandemic. Also required is resilience, the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. By pairing persistence with resilience, you can succeed in truly adverse circumstances.

Over the past year, in addition to learning the content of your courses, you have developed these habits of mind and action that will sustain you in your life after graduation. Even if you feel like it has been a struggle, or maybe your grades haven’t been as good as you had hoped, the persistence and resilience you have developed will support your success in creative endeavors, business, scholarship, and community service. You may not have realized along the way of this very hard year that you were learning these important skills, but rest assured that you have and you will be able to build upon them for decades.

Best wishes,
Linda Essig
Dr. Linda Essig, Dean

Dean Essig continues to hold drop-in office hours for students on Friday mornings from 10 a.m. -11 a.m. and for faculty and staff on Monday afternoons from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. at No appointment needed.

Associate Dean Weiss also has open office hours on Tuesday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at