by Chad Dull, MSC - SE VP of academic affairs
I shared last month that I grew up playing basketball. It led to several years as an adult coaching the game I loved. For those of you who know sports, you will know teams always have a theme when they break their huddle. It is usually a word or phrase everyone yells as the team breaks the huddle and heads back to the court or field.
For the last several years I coached, we always used the same one word when we went out to play. That word was “together.” It came to mean we did not win or lose alone, but we counted on each other. It meant that being on a team was about more than winning or losing, it was about caring as much or more for the person to your right or left than you did for yourself. I told my teams we would know we understood the meaning of “together” when we looked at one another and thought, “I will not let you down!”
The idea of “together” has been on my mind all summer as we prepare for Fall Semester at Minnesota State College Southeast. A technical and community college like ours is special because we are deeply rooted in our communities. That means the success of our college is tied to the success of the places we live and work, and vice versa. In other words, we succeed or fail … together.
This has never been more apparent than since the middle of March. I have shared before about the efforts we made — and our students made — to ensure that learning continued at MSC Southeast as we navigated these challenging times. We are a small school with close ties in the communities we serve. That means our staff and students aren’t strangers, they are friends and neighbors. That means we face these things together.
Our college understands the vital role we play in our students’ lives and in the vitality of southeastern Minnesota. That is why we have spent the summer bringing students back to campus to safely complete work which could not be done remotely this spring. Our sense of connectedness is why our staff and faculty have spent the summer finding the safest possible ways to offer classes this fall, particularly the kind of hands-on learning that make a place like MSC Southeast unique and special. We are doing this work together because we know it is important. We know a college like ours is a promise of opportunity and a chance for a different path in life.
So, as we prepare to welcome more students back to campus this fall, we know the success of this year will have everything to do with looking at one another and saying, “I will not let you down.” It means creating the safest places possible for learning. It means world class support for students inside and outside the classroom. It means all of us remembering we are in this together.
When the difficult times started this spring, we were all scared. One of my fears was that we would retreat from one another and forget we are stronger when we are connected. I have been so pleased to see the opposite happen at MSC Southeast. Since March we have been relentlessly focused on creating opportunities for our friends and neighbors in our communities.
Although we have never been closed, on Monday, August 24 we start a fall semester that will include safe hands-on learning, world class online learning, hybrid classes, and Hy-Flex classes along with academic support, personal support, and a culture of caring that reminds us to take care of one another. At Minnesota State College Southeast, we are excited about this fall and the future. We will do great things, together.