Bailey McKeon ’22
This past Tuesday, the faculty assembled to hear the annual address on the state of academics, given by the Acting Dean of the Faculty Sonia Cardenas. In the address, Cardenas shared her thoughts about the year ahead, a year which she believes to be a genuine opportunity for reflection and growth. Cardenas emphasized how crucial it is that the faculty move forward together this year, despite the pandemic, so that they, and Trinity, may emerge from this time stronger and more prepared for the future.
Her presentation addressed an outline of six goals that serve to shape the faculty’s work in academic affairs this school year.
She credited and praised the faculty for their agility in the past few months, adopting a new academic calendar, revising academic policies, changing their schedules, and switching to remote learning, while she states the first goal: to “cultivate a culture of flexibility and support.” She encourages the faculty to continue this, approaching the year ahead with understanding and spirit.
Cardenas’ second goal is to “implement Trinity’s new curriculum… it defines a college and constitutes the essence of who we are as an academic institution,” Cardenas said. Therefore, it is crucial that the faculty do not wait to implement the new liberal arts curriculum that had been approved before the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 restrictions will bring in implementing this curriculum now, Cardenas hopes to make monumental strides in Trinity’s diversity by “accelerating faculty diversity and inclusion.”
Cardenas aims to diversify the faculty, noting that there are currently only nine black tenure line faculty members, including President Joanne Berger-Sweeney. “I feel a real sense of commitment by this faculty,” Cardenas said. “But what we’ve been doing, as important as it is, is not enough.” This goal urges the faculty “to do better providing a more inclusive climate for all,” Cardenas continued.
The fourth goal focuses on faculty compensation, most importantly on restoring faculty salaries that were reduced as a result of the pandemic. Further, she plans to review all faculty salaries and address equity issues, a task that she says is “long overdue.”
In stressing the importance of Trinity’s connection with Hartford and the world, the fifth goal of the year is centered around “collaboration to meet our urban and global strategic goals.” In order to do this, Trinity must “collaborate more fully and inclusively,” Cardenas noted.
The final goal Cardenas shared was the “expansion of Trinity’s innovative programs.” Cardenas stated that “we have to be willing to experiment at the margins so we can sustain the core.”
Cardenas ended the address by promising to support the faculty in all of their endeavors so long as they “maintain hope and forward momentum this year, plan ahead while caring for and supporting each other, let [themselves] be inspired by the primary mission of educating students and, no matter what, hold onto the belief that [they] will get through this together and come out better and stronger.”
The faculty will continue to meet in a remote capacity this semester because of the pandemic and will convene again in several weeks.