A Message for the New Academic Year

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The following message from Dean Josef Sorett was shared with Columbia College students at the start of the 2023 Fall Term —

Dear Columbia College Students,

Welcome to the start of the Fall term. Over the past few weeks it has been energizing to watch campus fill again with students, and to consider the promise of another academic year. I encourage you to take time to do the same — not in the interest of deciding on any firm plans, but to imagine the many paths and possibilities that might unfold, and to begin to articulate the questions that will guide your experience over the next two terms.

The start of the year is also an opportune moment to remember and renew our commitments. As College students that includes, importantly, your commitment to one another as members of a shared community. We are defined by certain unchanging values: We revel in difference, celebrate the power of new ideas and recognize each person’s unique contributions. Within that framework, how you engage with each other is crucial — be it in the classroom or residence hall, through an extracurricular activity, or in moments both everyday and unexpected. I urge you to always extend patience, empathy and respect to your peers, as befitting the intellectual and personal journeys you are all on.

My renewed commitment at the start of the year — along with that of faculty, your advisors and other leaders — is to hold fast to the College’s mission of facilitating your holistic education. No one can navigate or get the most out of their College experience alone. We are here to ensure that you have the space and language to voice your perspective and to query others; that you are empowered to take risks and make mistakes; and that you recognize your value to yourself, to one another and to the larger community.

I look forward to seeing you around campus, and to meeting and speaking with many of you in the weeks and months ahead. Wishing you the best of luck this Fall.

Dean Sorett

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