September 27, 2021
It's been nearly a month since I officially made CIIS and San Francisco my home. When I first wrote to you, I mentioned how honored I am to be part of a university that is so committed to transformative education. In getting to know the community better, through meaningful listening sessions with faculty, staff, students, and the Board of Trustees, I can't tell you how encouraged I am by the energy and ideas I have heard on how we can make CIIS even stronger, more equitable, and resilient.
These listening sessions have been immensely helpful. Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. Know that I have heard you and am working arduously to synthetize and incorporate them into our strategic plan. To this end, I'd like to share a few thoughts of my own.
Acknowledging the Times
The last 18 months have been unlike anything our modern society has known. We all, both individually and collectively, have felt the weight of the health, economic, environmental, and political hardships brought on by the pandemic and social unrest. While I wasn't at CIIS to witness these effects on our community, the stories shared with me have shown just how much so many of you have had to endure, yet also how you all continue to come together in remarkable and creative ways. I am inspired, and I commit to you that I will ensure this spirit of support endures.
One way to do this is to help you thrive, not just survive. I'll address how CIIS can help with this.
Restoration and Reinvestment
We recognize that the University's success is only possible because of you—our faculty and staff. We also understand that you need resources to thrive. To this end, we are working with the Board of Trustees to make a significant restoration and reinvestment in CIIS over the next three years. This will include addressing equity needs, such as salary adjustments and staffing, process inefficiencies, new technologies, and faculty and staff wellness. Stay tuned for more details after the Board meeting, which takes place on October 8 and 9.
You are our greatest asset. I firmly believe this. Our community cannot afford to lose you. Know that this issue takes precedence for me and is presently being addressed.
The University is also working to address the issue of recent gaps in staffing in some areas. To be sure, there are real consequences when any office or department is lacking the resources it requires to run efficiently. To those of you who have had to shoulder burdens and take on more work, please also know that I, in coordination with the HR and Finance and Administration teams, am taking steps to bridge these gaps in a timely way.
This restoration and reinvestment is long overdue. We understand the urgent need to provide new and better resources to our community. Look for more information about all these efforts in October.
Only by continued conversation can we, together, make the necessary changes that will enable each of us and the broader CIIS community to thrive. In an effort to continue this conversation, I'll be hosting lunchtime "Talks with Brock" every month, as well as video chats in answer to your questions.
I am excited to take this journey together. I write to you today even more grateful and humbled than when I crafted my first community message. Thank you for such a warm welcome. I look forward to continued dialog sessions and advancing our strategic plan grounded in CIIS' Seven Commitments.
September 1, 2021
Dear CIIS Community,
I am humbled and honored to be writing this letter to you on my first day as President of CIIS. This community has built a University and culture that is reflective of your mission and core values. The individuals that I have spoken with tell a collective story about the need to continue to provide a transformative education and doing so through a commitment to serving individuals, communities, and the Earth. CIIS is a special place to be, and I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to share my time with you.
Over the next several months, I have a lot of listening and learning to do. During this time, I’m going to ask for your patience and support as I begin my journey to officially get to know the University and each of you. There will be some challenges along the way, as we’ll be navigating together during pandemic times, but with your grace and support, we’ll arrive together.
Before I close, I want to say a few words about my predecessor, Judie Wexler. I am grateful for Judie’s service and leadership at CIIS over the past 19 years. She’s been instrumental in helping to shape the University into what it is today, and without her service, CIIS is an undoubtedly different place. We have been in touch over the past several weeks, and I wish Judie every happiness as she continues her life’s journey.
In closing, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to speak with me and provide background and insight. I am here because I believe in the mission of CIIS, and together I know we will continue to deliver an innovative and transformative educational experience. I look forward to meeting and collaborating with each of you.
S. Brock Blomberg