We are coming to you this year in our usual way but in a very unusual year. Like the rest of the world, we are doing the best we can under the strange new circumstances of COVID-19. You will read about how things in Germanic Studies have been both remarkably the same and remarkably different. We thought people would have a lot to say about the difficult tasks encountered in adapting teaching to virtual or hybrid. But I think you will agree that the message comes across loud and clear is that our academic and professional activities, whether real or virtual, are as productive and engaging as ever.
When we retreated to the safety of online teaching after spring break, we – faculty, students and staff alike – struggled a bit to adapt our teaching and our jobs quickly to this new mode. This fall at least we had time to learn more effective ways of operating online – and learn we did. All summer long the university showered its community with information and resources. Our fearless leader Ben Robinson kept us abreast of important developments and protocols, and in August, thanks to the organizational, pedagogical and technical prowess of current grad student Nina Morais and alumna Silja Weber (Ph.D. 2018 – now doing her fine work as Lecturer in the Columbia University Department of Germanic Languages) a series of "in-house" nuts and bolts meetings and workshops were held. These were a part of the usual week of orientation for new AI's, but special invitations were extended to all the faculty to join sessions devoted to learning how best to use – and survive -- Canvas and Zoom. Many, many thanks to Nina and Silja and to Susanne Even for the enormous effort behind and the effectiveness of these sessions. And so we carry on.
And as for me, I can say I'm happy in my adjunct status and am enjoying another semester of teaching German for musicians. I miss live concerts and performances terribly, but I am forever grateful that friends and family are healthy and looking forward to better days.
For everyone else, please have a happy New Year, do good work, and let us hear from you!
Mit herzlichen Grüßen,
M.A., '68, Ph.D., '80