Message from the Faculty Director of Community Engaged Scholarship & Learning

Fall/Winter 2020

Picture of Nina Roberts

The year 2020 might as well disappear and let us start over.  What the heck just hit us?  Globally, the chaos and devastation of this incredulous year has caused so much destruction, loss of life, demoralization, depression and more.  Yet somehow, our communities manage to support one another as best as we know how.  Every year in our society, there are a whirlwind of defining moments, but 2020 has consisted of so many world-changing, paradigm-shifts that it’s hard to believe we’re not in a simulation creating every possible life scenario all at once.

Regardless, there is no time to be shattered so with this insidious pandemic still raging, whitecaps of social change swelling around our planet, and a vital election this year, there’s still time to make a whole lot of history in 2020!  This year, as always, we’ve also lost so many icons and legends that such new gaps create holes in our lives and our spirits.  So in 2020 we also say farewell and rest in power to John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek and others.  On a positive note, our nation has begun to right the ship with a new president and first woman V.P. ever!  Congrats to the #BidenHarris ticket and the U.S.A. will regain our democracy as the autocratic leadership is finally exiting our federal government operations!

Although SF State is experiencing continued turbulence—like many agencies and organizations globally—the layoffs and reduced opportunities, for example, have not constrained our leadership from maintaining a positive and affirming vision for our future.  Similarly, while ICCE has also been undergoing staff shortage and work overload, our team maintains optimism and continues to be available for our faculty, staff, and students as best as humanly possible!  Many instructors have stepped into a world of innovation as they move community service learning to a virtual forum and their engaged research has not wavered but rather some have shifted into more of a remote scholarship realm.  We are proud of our students for enduring, applaud our faculty for their perseverance, and remain grateful for staff campus-wide for their dedication.

As a new year is soon upon us we hope 2021 brings new hope, a sustained vision for our future, and a solution to this pandemic so we can all stay healthy and sane.  We look forward to the current work-from-home orders to be relaxed and that events, travel and industry conferences will no longer be halted.  A new year is time to hit the reset button of our lives and seek answers to new questions.  For instance, ponder these and discuss with your team:  ·     What decisions or actions will put us back on the path to success?  What will be our biggest barriers to change?  How will we successfully overcome those barriers?  What exactly will compel us to make necessary changes?  Who will be the driving force for those changes?  How will we get buy-in for the changes we make?  And, what will happened if we just maintain the status quo?

Next year is an opportunity to be a trailblazer! Whether you’re leading a small team or a global empire, engaging in forward-thinking techniques will help diffuse uncertainty about the future by providing a roadmap for victory. Imagine your department or division 12 months from now can also provide a crucial first step toward a future that rewards your vision and foresight.  As stated by the late, great Congressman John Lewis: "Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet."

Be brave, be bold, be a warrior- 

Nina S. Roberts, Ph.D.
Faculty Director of Community Engaged Scholarship & Learning 
SF State, Institute for Civic & Community Engagement