Summer of COVID-19

Like many academics this year, the Summer of COVID-19 has been one for the history books. Each of us has been challenged personally and professionally in ways we never expected. We are at a crossroads of many, forging ahead and yet blind to the precise path before us. This journey’s highs and lows, particularly regarding social justice, remain essential to the work we do in the classroom. It is an exciting and scary time, but we forge on, committed to the task of creating a better world for our students and communities.

For those working in communication and design, this is a crucial moment to use our skills to address xenophobia, systemic racism, and other areas of inequity. For these reasons, I have been working closely with my research partner, Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, to share a vision for positive social change that places intercultural learning at its core.

Throughout the summer, we have presented our research at several (virtual) conferences, including NAFSA, DRS, and IAMCR. We have also led workshops for Culture Source and the University of Michigan in support of global collaborations between academics and professionals. These opportunities have been instrumental in expanding our work to organizations that are dedicated to inclusivity beyond borders (and screens).

As we enter the Fall semester, I am filled with gratitude and excited to work with my talented students at VCUarts Qatar.

“We are a strong, creative force, and we will do amazing things as a collective over this coming year. As creative people, we thrive in adversity, and the outcomes and innovations from the past few months have certainly proven that we are up to the task.” — Dean Amir Berbic