Dear GSOLE colleagues,
My time as GSOLE President is in the past. My two-year term ended June 30. I took a vacation. I then took a few weeks to work on some big projects. But I wanted to send you a brief note of thanks and to say how proud I am of what the people of GSOLE have accomplished since 2016, when a group of us led by Beth Hewett hatched an idea for a professional organization that became GSOLE.
The GSOLE website shows what we are and what we have accomplished. On this (just recently improved!) site, a visitor sees our many OLI resources, such as our two journals, webinar series, research support, conference, certification courses, affiliates, and of course principles and tenets.
It may be less apparent to see who we are. Behind that site and those resources are volunteers who say “yes” over and over again to project and task requests, who carve out time to attend monthly executive board meetings, and who help those in our field. I think the extraordinary spring Just-In-Time response to the international COVID crisis demonstrated well who we are. People inundated with work on their local campuses, who were being called on during long weeks as resident/local online learning experts, somehow found time to create resources and provide support to colleagues for the good of the overall education mission. That is who the people of GSOLE are.
Challenges lie ahead. We will refine and develop our resources. We must continue to grow our membership, a task that will take ongoing, steady work. Part of this membership goal is the specific aim to diversify the organization. People across the United States are seeing our culture, again, at a crossroads in terms of race, and, like many of those people, I am hopeful that this time we may finally, collectively get it right: Black Lives Matter. I believe our organization has articulated concrete ways that we will contribute to that collective choice for good, and the organization is in great hands to meet these challenges with the core leadership of Dan Seward as President, Cat Mahaffey as Vice President, Tess Evans as Treasurer, and Jennifer Burke Reifman as Secretary.
It has been an honor and pleasure to work with all of you as President. I want to thank you for taking my many calls and answering my emails. You have worked so hard for the good of the organization and the good of online learning—which means, ultimately, you are working for students.
While I suppose part of me wishes that my role as Immediate Past President entailed merely wearing a sash and showing up to cut virtual ribbons, I know that is not the nature of GSOLE. I will continue to work hard for the good of the organization. After all, I’ll be in good company.
See you in cyberspace,