Letter to Faculty
I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting with you during my several recent visits to Wake Forest, and I look forward to our more extensive conversations come July 1, when I arrive on campus permanently.
As Julie and I anticipate our move to North Carolina this summer, I thought it would be useful to give you a sense of my current and upcoming activities. In fact, please consider this the first in a continuing series of letters, marked as much by candor as by collegiality, that I intend to be part of an on-going dialogue with you about issues related to our collective work as teachers and scholars. Along with these frequent missives, I also look forward to our face-to-face encounters as we work together to dream boldly about our future.
First off, Julie and I are delighted to be joining Wake Forest, and we thank all of you for your more than gracious welcome. Everyone at Wake Forest has been immensely generous and helpful in so many ways.
This spring I continue to carry out my responsibilities in South Bend, but Notre Dame has allowed me to take a number of trips to Winston-Salem. In addition to the formal announcement on January 21, I have already made five visits to Wake Forest and plan three others before July 1.
On these occasions, I have tried to meet with a broad spectrum of the Wake Forest community. It has been a pleasure to meet with you, my faculty colleagues, at the receptions sponsored by the College and the professional schools. Dean Debbie Best was also kind enough to take me on an extensive walking tour of many of the College’s academic facilities.
I have also begun to educate myself about current priorities and concerns through meetings with the University Senate, the department chairs of the College, a variety of student groups, and volunteer members of the Wake Forest Society and the Alumni Council. The Board of Trustees included me in their February and April meetings, and I have also had dinner with a number of Trustees, athletic coaches, and community leaders. As well, I recently spent a full day at the Wake Forest University Medical School, meeting a wide range of researchers, clinical physicians, and administrators.
Equally important has been my significant interaction with President Hearn, with Provost Gordon, and with other members of the President’s Cabinet, who have provided extensive reading material on their respective areas. Several meetings have also been held about the transition process in general, which is being overseen by Wayne Smith. He and I have framed a set of questions about the future of Wake Forest, and a broad range of academic administrators have been asked to respond to these open-ended queries.
In coming days, I will attend the retirement celebration for President Hearn, will speak to the Downtown Rotary Club of Winston-Salem, and will participate in at least a portion of a student leadership retreat.
To date, the process of listening has been energizing and has reinforced my convictions about the talent and dedication of Wake Forest’s people, the strength of her traditions, and the scope of her ambitions. I am eager to learn more, and I look forward to my conversations with each and every one of you.
Nathan O. Hatch