Listening to you and learning from you

July 6, 2021

To:  University Community
From:  Krista L. Newkirk, Incoming President
Subject:  Listening to You and Learning from You

In fewer than two short weeks, I will step onto the University of Redlands campus for the first time as your 12th president. I am both honored and filled with anticipation to be joining your wonderful University community on Monday, July 19.

In the video message I shared with you last week, I shared my enthusiasm about joining Redlands and partnering with you to further realize the University’s tremendous potential. My focus in my first few months will be listening to you, hearing your ideas, and learning how to be the best leader I can for you and U of R. Learning what matters most to students, faculty, and staff will help me more fully craft a shared vision for our bright future.

With this commitment in mind, I write to you today to highlight opportunities for us to connect in many ways over the coming weeks and months. You can view and register for many of these events.

Connecting with Faculty and Staff

My team is currently scheduling conversations early in the fall with divisions, departments, and working groups that will include every member of our staff and faculty. I look forward to engaging in these more personal forums, and more information about these conversations will be forthcoming.

On Friday, August 13 at 1:00 p.m., I will be hosting a hybrid in-person/virtual Faculty and Staff Town Hall in Orton Center. All faculty and staff are invited, and I hope as many of you as possible will attend.

The President’s Cabinet, URSAA, and I are hosting an all-University lunch on Tuesday, August 24, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on the lawn outside Orton Center before we welcome College of Arts and Sciences students back for fall classes. This event is a thank you for employees’ dedicated service during this past most-challenging year and a chance for me to get to know the talented faculty and staff who help us realize our mission. Some students will have already arrived on campus (including orientation leaders, resident assistants, admissions ambassadors, and Bulldog student-athletes), and they are warmly invited to register and join us for the lunch as well.

Connecting with Students

What a joy it will be to welcome Bulldog students to campus this fall. You are the reason that all of us at the University of Redlands do what we do. To celebrate your return, we are preparing a festive welcome back to campus!

I am excited to share that I already have on my calendar more than 30 meetings and events with ASUR, leaders of other student groups (including graduate students), resident assistants, orientation leaders, and Bulldog student-athletes. Many additional student meetings and events are in the works.

On Friday, September 17 at 2:00 p.m., I will be hosting a hybrid in-person/virtual All-Student Town Hall in Orton Center. All students are welcome to attend, and I hope to hear from as many of you as possible at this event.

Be on the lookout for me at the Hunsaker Center or at The Table — I’ll be there often to visit with you! Don’t be surprised if I pull up a chair and join you at lunch one day.

Connecting with Everyone

The beauty of our main Redlands campus is second to none, except possibly U of R’s Marin campus, and I look forward to exploring and enjoying U of R’s treasured spaces with you.

All of the meetings and events I have mentioned will be in spaces where you live, work, meet, and gather across all of our campuses. That is intentional! I want to get to know you while I am getting to know the campus (and getting some exercise).  You will often see me in common spaces and outdoor places, and I hope you will always come over to say “hello.”

I am inviting all students, faculty, staff (and dog lovers!) to have Cookies with Cookie! Once a month, I will host everyone who registers to visit with my sweet dog, Cookie, and me for a casual conversation and a snack in various places on campus starting on Monday, August 9.

In addition to these opportunities, I am working closely with the Advancement team to hear from alumni and donors around the country, along with our friends within our local communities. I want to hear from them about their experiences and their thoughts on the future of the University and how it can further engage with our community and region.

A Heartfelt Thank You

During the next few weeks, as I prepare to transition into my role as your next president, I thank you for your willingness to work with my office and me to ensure that I have many opportunities to meet with all of you. Not only am I fully committed to doing this, but I am also very excited to do so.

You have been weathering difficult times, as so many have in higher education and other sectors affected by the pandemic. I applaud you for your dedication, and I hope that you are able to take some downtime this summer after so many months of tireless and meaningful work for Redlands.

For now, I hope you will mark your calendars and register to attend some of these meetings and events. I look forward to listening to you and learning from you as we embark on this next chapter together.

Thank you all for your warm welcome, your time, and your profound and ongoing contributions to the University.

I look forward to joining you as a Bulldog on July 19!