An Update from David and Chaka:
This is a graduation season unlike any we've experienced in our lives, but we are impressed by the myriad new ways educators have found to celebrate students' accomplishments—from virtual music performances to streaming and drive-thru processions. Nothing can replace an in-person ceremony, but given all we have gone through these past weeks, honoring these milestone moments shows that bright spots can still emerge. Our congratulations to all of those celebrating a graduation in your family, your community, or your school.
This week, Yale SOM Dean Kerwin Charles delivered congratulatory remarks to Yale SOM students, recognizing their graduation on May 18. He also shared his congratulations for the 2018-20 Residency cohort via email two weeks ago when the cohort would have gathered in New Orleans for their final session and graduation celebration. The virtual sessions held in place of that gathering demonstrated the resiliency of the Residency leaders who continue to support each other through this unprecedented time. The strength of this community is another bright spot.
In his note to graduating residents, Dean Charles acknowledged the widespread dislocations caused by COVID-19. “The emergence of COVID-19 this spring semester, my first as Dean, has presented me with challenges I could not remotely have anticipated when I started in July,” he wrote. "Only a short time ago, ideas about new directions for the school, building upon and solidifying gains over the past several years, were all that filled my head. I imagine many of you find yourselves in a similar re-evaluation and re-balancing to focus on the crisis at hand while protecting the gains you have made in your various plans and initiatives.”
It was in the spirit of such re-evaluation that our two organizations recently reassessed the start dates for the two new programs at The Broad Center at Yale SOM. Due to the uncertain nature of fall academic calendars across the United States, The Broad Center team in Los Angeles and Yale SOM have decided that convening the first cohort of fellows in October is no longer optimal. We simply do not want to take leaders away from students and the urgent tasks at hand during what will likely be a challenging year. Our plan is therefore to push back the Academy successor program launch until after the 2020-21 school year, with a new kick off date in June 2021, and the Residency successor program launch until the summer of 2022.
The dates for Forum 2021 in January have not changed, although we will certainly be planning for social distancing guidelines and virtual options. The launch team hopes to hear from TBC alumni via the Network Member Survey about your suggestions for Forum themes, and will be reaching out to alumni groups regarding planning affinity group gatherings, moderating discussions and gathering for the first time in New Haven.
David Bach, Senior Advisor to the Dean, Yale SOM & Chaka Booker, Managing Director, TBC Launch Team