Director’s Letter

CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses

Dear all,

Lesley Erin Bartlett (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

 My most recent comfort show is The West Wing. Do you have comfort shows? You know, the programs you return to because the characters and storylines are familiar and hit whatever emotional note you need at a given time? The West Wing is comforting to me now because it’s full of smart people in challenging situations who are trying their best to do the right thing—and the “right thing” is rarely obvious, uncomplicated, or the same for all parties involved.  

If you watch anything involving American government (fictional or not), you know it’s hard to get people excited about [funding] infrastructure. If pressed, everyone generally agrees that infrastructure is essential, but it’s not sexy or cutting-edge. We depend on roads and bridges, but most of us don’t think much about roads and bridges—as long as they work.  

ISUComm Foundation Courses are part of the infrastructure of students’ Iowa State adventure. We are rarely flashy, but we are as essential as roads and bridges. The relationships we cultivate between ourselves and students, students and each other, and students and the curriculum are invaluable. I don’t know who chose the name for our courses, but foundation is such a fitting word for the work we do. Students need sound roads and bridges to take them on their Iowa State adventures. 

We are entering a challenging stretch of a challenging semester in a challenging span of years. I know you are working hard. Soon, I’m going to ask one more thing of you: please answer some survey questions about teaching ISUComm Foundation Courses. Amy and I want to hear from you about how we can make our part of students’ infrastructure as sound as it can be. You already know the answers to our questions, and we will keep the survey as short as possible. Keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks. Maybe you can turn on your own comfort show and spend a few minutes sharing your insights with us. 

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. Thank you for the work you do. 

All best,