Dear Wake Forest faculty, staff and students: After several months’ informal conversations, we write to launch a campus-wide planning effort to culminate in a yearlong Rethinking Community series of conferences, dialogues, national speakers, performances, and much else. Beginning with a pair of planning forums later this week, we hope to engage many of you in helping shape and execute this vital effort, which will run across the 2017-18 academic year. Our animating inspiration: Wake Forest graduates, across all our schools, enter a society that is more virtual, diverse, polarized, and global than ever before. At a time when meaningful communal bonds are both desperately needed and increasingly frayed, rethinking what it means to be in community—on our campus, in Winston-Salem and the many other cities and towns where our students settle, as a nation—is essential. Wake Forest’s recent history includes both ‘theme years,’ many of which engaged us campus-wide from the late 1990s forward, and a pair of national conferences—Rethinking Admissions and Rethinking Success. Taken as a group, these provide valuable precedents for our Rethinking Community effort. As significant, a hallmark of Wake Forest’s culture is a willingness to revisit core practices in order to ensure that our graduates are best prepared to navigate and lead dramatic shifts in our world – we look forward to establishing Wake Forest as a national convener and facilitator of these important conversations. If these general details pique your curiosity, please attend an initial campus-wide forum meant to elicit ideas, avoid wrong paths, and otherwise spark discussions about what a successful Rethinking Community year will look like. Two sessions are scheduled for this week:
We also welcome every member of our community to submit proposals for events, speakers and programs that will engage us on these important topics across disciplines, industries and experiences. A call for proposals will be circulated on March 3. Finally, we want to ensure that students are engaged in this important work. If you would like to nominate a student to serve on our steering committee, please email Matt Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org and Sam Perrotta Turner at email@example.com by Friday, March 3, at 5 p.m. with your nomination. We look forward to your ideas and proposals in the spirit of strengthening the communities engaging current and future Wake Foresters.
Rethinking Community Steering Committee