While as a season fall marks a waning cycle, in higher education fall marks the beginning of the academic year: complete with new horizons, beginnings, and opportunities. Our campus has been energized by the the start of an academic year, which has been especially rewarding. This fall, we see a full return to student presence on campus, and the familiar buzz of student, faculty, and staff activity. For our part, the College – faculty, staff, and student leaders – have worked hard to create engaging and meaningful face-to-face and virtual learning experiences designed to support our student’s educational journey.
I am thankful for the ingenuity, dedication, and hard work that has allowed us to continue the College’s mission of teaching, research, and engagement with the business community during a global pandemic. I’m also excited about the return to in-person instruction as higher education remains a quintessentially interpersonal activity.
As I walked around campus during the Buff Nation and First Friday events during the first week of classes, seeing students’ faces and hearing their voices resonate in the campus environment brings me the satisfaction that goals and dreams are being pursued and fulfilled.
We continue to draw inspiration and courage from the resilience and optimism of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni and acknowledge the positive aspects of our return to campus, even in these challenging times. For this reason, in the 2021-2022 school year, the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business will continue to pursue a wide range of initiatives and activities to refocus and rekindle our strategic planning. We refer to this reinvigoration as Building Opportunities for Excellence. I am very excited to share these initiatives as they unfold throughout the coming year, and I am confident that you will be pleased.
A return to regular campus activity also provides additional avenues to reinvigorate student organizations and provide resources for these vital avenues for student growth, learning, and discovery. These sorts of co-curricular learning often catalyzes long-standing relationships and cements the lessons of higher education in ways that the classroom can augment, but not replace. Therefore, I will strongly advocate for extensive student enrichment as a priority for our resilient and robust student organizations.
Strength in student organizations and development stems from the College encouraging greatness from our students, and the recruitment, retention, and development of qualified faculty. On that note, I am pleased to welcome seven new colleagues to the college and hope you will enjoy learning more about them in our feature article in this issue.
While few can predict the future, the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business has certainly learned, and continues to learn, vital lessons from our experiences coping with COVID-19 and its impacts on personal lives, higher education, and society. Principle among the lessons learned is that enjoining and connecting faculty and students in a nurturing environment is paramount to the health and success of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business and West Texas A&M University.
Looking back at the difficulties we have faced collectively, and continue to meet in the coming months, I remain confident about a brighter future ahead. As always, I look forward to sharing a successful year with all of you.
Dr. Amjad Abdullat
Dean and CIS Professor
Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business
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