Dear Rackham Students,
From time to time, I write about the directions of the graduate school, and our activities that support the Rackham community as we pursue our important work of education, research, and scholarship. We pursue this work with our mission and values firmly in mind. We value intellectual exchange and free inquiry, inclusive excellence, innovation, and collaboration. We cultivate a culture of trust, integrity, transparency, accountability, and respect.
Intellectual exchange and free inquiry in our scholarship mean that we are willing to engage with ideas and opinions that conflict with our own. That exchange can lead to understanding and discovery. At the same time, we are proud of Rackham’s public mission, and take seriously our duty as members of a public university. One duty of a public institution is to recognize that our obligations to free speech may result in occasions in which individuals appear in our public square to engage in speech that is provocatively antagonistic to our goals.
In such cases, I believe in taking pride in the work we do, and in not being deterred by those who seek through their words to distract us from pursuing it. In that spirit, and with the belief that actions are stronger than words, I recall some of the concrete steps that the graduate school has recently taken in collaboration with the Rackham community to uphold our values. This includes work like discontinuing the use of the GRE in doctoral admissions; initiating changes to support the gender inclusivity of the Rackham application; growing our DEI Professional Development Certificate Program; and pursuing a statement of Rackham graduate faculty values, privileges, and responsibilities, to name just a few.
I write of these values and initiatives to clearly stake out where we stand with respect to speakers who take up our space with facile rhetoric. My focus remains on Rackham’s mission to advance excellence in graduate education, to cultivate a vibrant and diverse student community, and to impact the public good through scholarship and discovery.
I am proud to be a part of Rackham and to work with you in the pursuit of knowledge and change.