January 1, 2012
Shaping the UW’s Future Together
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Student Colleagues:
The New Year has begun, and so has the new position. Thank you for the very warm welcome I’ve received as your new Provost. You’ve reminded me of how many people care deeply about the University. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead; the challenges are many — but so, too, are the opportunities. We will shape our future in the way we address both.
There are no simple answers, and I don’t even have complicated ones right now. I expect that it will take awhile just to learn the job. But I do have a general sense of what it will take to move ahead. As I noted in my presentation last quarter as a candidate for this position, I see the Provost’s Office, in partnership with that of the President’s, as a kind of university crossroads, where the various parts of our great university meet. It is the place where borders are crossed — between units, schools, and colleges, between teachers and students and staff. Progress comes from connecting the dots, from making the most of our great breadth and diversity to sustain and enrich our university, to solve the great challenges of our time, and to educate the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.
A key part of my job is to support, facilitate, and reward these connections, making sure that our intellectual, disciplinary, academic, and administrative borders remain porous so that good ideas can flow freely. It’s work that I find appealing and rewarding, both as an immigrant and as a person who has been fortunate enough to work in so many parts of this great university: in social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and health sciences and clinics. I will need — and welcome — your help in making this happen. But I know we can succeed.
I can still recall my first day on this campus as an assistant professor. Still in my twenties (barely) and on the west side of the Rockies for only the second time in my life, I stood on Red Square, caught my first glimpse of Rainier, and I was literally awestruck. Twenty-five years later, I am still inspired by this place, which has become my home. With granite and lava beneath us, and evergreens popping out from the white icy peaks above, we are in the very best place in the country, indeed in the world, to turn our tensions and contradictions into spaces for creative convergence.
My thanks to President Michael Young, and to all of you, for the warm welcome you have extended, and most of all, for your dedication to public education.
Ana Mari Cauce
Provost and Executive Vice President