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Thank You for a Great First Semester!

Dear Emersonians:

As 2023 draws to a close, I have been reflecting on my first semester here at the College. Meeting Emersonians and learning about our programs in Boston, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands has been an incredible experience. I’ve loved getting to know many students, staff, and faculty and have learned a great deal about what makes Emerson so special.

Thank you for your hard work this semester to ensure Emerson College continues to increase its impact on our students and society. We’ve accomplished a lot! For example, we established and launched the President’s Working Group on Artificial Intelligence to develop our initial plan for addressing AI in our teaching, assessment, curricula, requirements, academic programs, scholarship, and leadership. We implemented the College-wide Emerson360 survey to gather your input to inform strategies and actions that will strengthen our culture and climate. Also, we are nearing an agreement with the full-time faculty union that will support our outstanding faculty members for years to come.

Several important leadership searches have recently concluded, and we are making great progress on our other searches, including for Provost and General Counsel, with several more to come. I am thrilled that Allison Dawson joined us as Vice President for Institutional Advancement in September; she and her team are already off to a fantastic start. Melissa Richards will join us as Vice President and Chief of Staff in January.

I must acknowledge that we also have endured challenging moments, including traumatic world events that have sometimes divided our campus and community. We respect the rights of our community members to express their beliefs while also recognizing that our words and actions can adversely impact others within our community. During moments like these, we offer our hand of support to those in our community who are in need, and we emphasize our shared values that help hold us together as a community. 

Looking ahead to the Spring semester, I am optimistic about the opportunities before us. We will engage students, staff, and faculty to begin developing the College’s next Strategic Plan. We will hold our first Faculty/Staff Town Hall meeting in February and continue to strengthen our internal communications and community engagement. We will come together to “Celebrate Emerson” for several days in March, culminating with the inauguration ceremony on March 22. I cannot wait to experience our longstanding Emerson traditions, including the 43rd Evvys, the ERA Awards, Commencement, and Alumni Weekend.

These past few months have been exhilarating, inspiring, and occasionally exhausting, and I am incredibly proud to be part of this amazing community. Emersonians are thoughtful, creative, and passionate people who care deeply about our college and world. I am honored and humbled to lead and serve this extraordinary institution, and I thank you for your kindness and support.

I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing break.


Jay M. Bernhardt

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