A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Welcome Back for the Spring 2018 Semester

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I hope you had a restorative holiday break and winter interim and are as excited as I am for another semester of exploration and inquiry. In my welcome message from August, I wrote about the pursuit of the question, a practice necessary for our interdisciplinary education. Our collective capacity to ask compelling questions helps us work toward a campus that is as open-minded, diverse, and filled with mutual concern, as we want our shared society to be. As we pass the midpoint in the academic year, I have been thinking about the dispositions artists, designers, and scholars use to pursue questions in the classroom, studio, and world.

Pursuing the question takes curiosity—a desire to joyfully and playfully seek new knowledge—and tenacity—a willingness to learn from failure and a resilience in the face of adversity. The ceaseless curiosity of questioning challenges our beliefs and embraces intellectual freedom. An inquisitive tenacity allows us to pursue perspectives different than our own, leaving us open to learning and growth and encouraging a more inclusive campus for all. I see these qualities in our artistic and intellectual activity. This pursuit of the question helps us negotiate a better world in which to live more than an unwavering certainty ever could.

Below, I have highlighted a few events and undertakings that will inspire the questions that will make up our spring. I look forward to pursuing them with you. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will rely upon the curiosity and tenacity of its students, faculty, and staff this semester as we continue to steward our first-ever major fundraising campaign to a successful completion, articulate our vision for a new strategic plan, and continue our more than a century-and-a-half tradition of excellence in art and design education.

With tenacious curiosity,

Elissa Tenny