by Renata Opoczynski, Assistant Dean for Student Success Assessment and Strategic Initiatives

As I reflect on this time of year, I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU!

THANK YOU to all of you have read any of the words I have written this year. I am still pleasantly surprised anytime someone emails me about my column or mentions something I wrote when meeting with me.

THANK YOU to everyone who feels exhausted after the last two years and wonders how much more they can take, yet still shows up to work and supports our students, faculty, and staff. I see you, I hear you, and I appreciate you!

THANK YOU to our landscaping, grounds, custodial, recycling, maintenance, and transportation staff. You keep our university running and looking beautiful.

THANK YOU to everyone who shared transparently over the last year. From frustrations, to tears, to anger, to happiness. As Kevin McClure notes in his article here, we often share the business side but not the feelings part. I appreciate that we have created a space where we can share the feelings part too. 

THANK YOU to my colleagues across campus who have challenged my thinking, supported my learning about areas of campus I am unfamiliar with, and pointed out my areas of growth. You have helped me grow into a better leader and administrator.

THANK YOU to everyone who put up with my excitement and distraction every time a pet comes across the Zoom screen. The happiness that all the barks, cat head butts, snake sniffs, and even bunny hops have brought me is immeasurable. And though I think it goes without saying, YES, of course I always want to see texts, Teams messages, emails, videos, etc. of your pets.

THANK YOU to everyone who reminded us of our strengths and abilities, supported and celebrated our accomplishments, and sent critically timed “you can do this!” messages. The collaboration, support, and encouragement we show each other is what lets us do challenging things.

THANK YOU to everyone who understood all the deadlines that were missed, apologies that were sent, and new deadlines that were also missed. This year has been challenging and we all need to give each other support and understanding. I am inspired by the kindness we have all shown each other this year. Your generosity and understanding have helped MSU to continue to function.

THANK YOU also to all those who gently nudged, politely reminded, and continued to “just ping to get this back to the top of your email.” You have helped keep us on track and continuing to make forward progress despite feeling overwhelmed and being inundated with projects and work.

Special THANK YOU to Greg Teachout from the Provost Office Communications Team, who always patiently reminded me that I still hadn’t gotten him this column and that the newsletter was going out soon.

THANK YOU to all who had brilliant ideas, pointed out needs, shared frustrations, and continued to highlight how we can be better. For MSU to be the best it can be, we need to be willing to be reflective on how we can grow and improve. I hope folks continue to feel empowered to share ideas for what we can do to be better.

THANK YOU to all who understood when we had to pause, delay, or adjust a project or priority. This year more than ever we were faced with competing priorities and limited capacities. Even if adjusted or paused, your work is important and matters.

Thank you to everyone at MSU for all you do every day to support each other, share and grow together, and help make MSU the best it can be.