Hello from the express train to Beijing, China. Today I am traveling with a group of School of Education students on a short-term study abroad trip. We are currently heading to our final stop in Beijing. Trips abroad like this help us explore the intercultural differences that exist between nations and people, which are emerging as components of the School of Education. In the coming years, the School will have annual short-term study abroad trips to a new country each year. These trips will be open to students, faculty and our alumni. We wish to offer this opportunity to those who want to continue advancing their learning about education in new ways. The students sitting across from me on the train tell me that this trip has been "mind expanding, adventurous, and intense". As educators in the United States, we have a lot to share and learn from our international peers. Study abroad and study away are excellent ways to make this exploration a reality for the School.
Before departing for China, I participated in our annual graduation ceremony with over 250 graduates of the School of Education. I feel that Graduation is the best of traditions because we get to celebrate the accomplishments of students and recognize the family and friends that have been so central to supporting each student. This year we were lucky to have an inspiring student speaker, Joi Duffy, who challenged each of us to follow through in our commitments to serving all students. Dr. Lin, our commencement speaker, gave us a thoughtful discussion of School Districts in Southern California are how we are making efforts to truly serve the most challenged students. These speakers reminded me that Education is the very best of professions. We all know that there are hard days, like the recent violence in San Bernardino, but our collective work is meaningful in ways that are central to the individuals we touch and to ensure the long-term well being of society.
The School of Education at the University of Redlands continues to evolve. This evolution comes from many places in the form of study abroad, inspiring graduation speeches, and through the addition of our four new faculty. It is a tremendous time to be in education, where social challenges are real. While public policy is in a moment of ambiguity, I choose to embrace a perspective of hope for a better world I wish you all the best in your educational endeavors as we begin the summer, and a time of pause from the traditional academic year. Enjoy the time to reflect, rejuvenate and continue learning.