Dear Students, 


Welcome back! I hope you entered the new semester having had some time to rest and reset. With everything happening in the world, from spikes in the coronavirus to national unrest, it remains very important that you continue to take care of you as you also tend to your school work, research and life as a UT student. It may be a new semester, but earlier semesters' practices of self compassion and resilience remain as important ever. We care about you.


As for me, I am using 2021 to break with some traditions. Most weeks, at the beginning of these newsletters, you hear just from me. Now I will be inviting a lot of other voices to use this space.


First up is Dean Paul Goldbart, who has some news this week about a change in administration (maybe not the one you are already thinking about on Inauguration Day):


It is with a blend of emotions that I write to let you know that I have accepted a position to serve as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University, beginning March 22. To leave Texas and a community that is so accomplished, talented, optimistic, and adventurous was not an easy decision. Serving as dean of The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences has been one of the great privileges of my life. I am deeply grateful for your warm Texas welcome and for your dedicated partnership these last few years. I am also thankful to Senior Associate Dean David Vanden Bout, who has accepted Provost Daniel Jaffe's invitation to serve as interim dean.


We appreciate all that Dean Goldbart has done and wish him well. A lot of good work has happened in his time with UT, and my pledge to all of you is that it will continue. Many of you worked with Dean Goldbart and me to help make our college better – from improving our inclusion and equity efforts to paying attention to quality instruction amid COVID-19. Thank you to all of you who do so much to stay involved, and together, let's keep up the team effort.


Best,

Dr. Vanden Bout


Joke: What kind of notebook does a dendrochronologist bring to the first day of class? A tree-ring binder.