Reflecting on 2020: Message from the Dean

Melissa Feuer wearing a coat with green bushes and snow on them and her
December 16, 2020

Dear colleagues (students, staff, faculty & friends of the college):

As 2020 draws to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect on our challenges and successes in 2020, a year like no other.

I want to start by thanking you all for your dedication, caring and support over the recent months. Stepping into the acting dean role in a pandemic has been a unique challenge, but one made doable by all of you. I am very grateful to be a part of this CPS community.

While 2020 required GW and CPS to face new, unimaginable complications brought on by the pandemic, it is also the year CPS rose to meet these challenges, changing many aspects of operations, continually readjusting plans and finding new meaning in the phrase “work-life-school” balance. For example…

  •   We embraced the expansion of online learning and built upon our existing strengths. Fortunately, CPS already had the in-house expertise and dedicated team in place to expand our online programs quickly.
     
  •   We created our one-of-a-kind 2020 Virtual Commencement Celebration to celebrate our graduates.
     
  •   We continued to provide our students with a preeminent education and an engaging experience despite the change in modality for some. I heard from many incoming students who were extremely excited to get started and I shared their enthusiasm.
     
  •   We mitigated stressful times, including budget cuts and belt-tightening.
     
  •   We endured senior leadership changes, saying goodbye to our highly respected and talented colleagues Adele Ashkar and Chris Deering, and mourning the loss of our beloved Jack Prostko.
     
  •   We celebrated the addition of senior staff members Suzanne Farrand as Assistant Dean of Students and Melanie Jonas as Finance Director.
     
  •   We navigated a new way of working, embracing Webex/Zoom and welcoming “co-workers” of many ages, breeds and noise levels into our meetings. We discovered ring lights, backdrops, blue light blockers and a variety of headsets. And we became very used to looking at ourselves on the screen all day long.

As we say a long-awaited “goodbye” to 2020, I am so grateful to the entire CPS community for working together to see us through this crazy year. I hope that you all have a restful, restorative winter break and that you enter 2021 with resilience, energy and excitement for the future.

Melissa R. Feuer
Acting Dean, College of Professional Studies at The George Washington University