The Year of Engagement

April 14, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that 2020-21 will be the Year of Engagement at the University of Pittsburgh. Engagement with each other—whether civic, community, or campus—allows us to create new possibilities for humanity, for fellowship, and for innovation and discovery. Engagement is fundamental to community building, to deepening the connections between us, and to critical self-discovery. A focus on engagement is ideal for a university setting because here we learn and teach about communities, while coming together to create new ones.

The current Year of Creativity has been an extraordinary success, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the creative spark so vital to our University. From PARK(ing) Day to dancing the Time Warp on Bigelow Boulevard before it closed, the Year of Creativity boasted a wealth of activity, including some events planned for the spring that, unfortunately, have had to be cancelled. But even as I write this, events continue virtually, with open mic nights and Creative Cafes. I encourage you to participate—to engage!

Attention to how we engage is especially important now, during a time when we are living and working in a disaggregated Pitt community, with students, faculty, and staff interacting with each other from afar using a range of digital platforms. One thing I have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we do not necessarily need physical proximity to stay connected to each other and with our campus communities.

Of special note, Dr. Kathy Humphrey, Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement, has embraced our virtual environment, launching Pittwire Live. Drawing on a terrific student proposal, Dr. Humphrey and her office will lead next year’s Year of Engagement.

As in previous years, a committee of faculty, staff, and students will be formed to coordinate the Year of Engagement.  More information—and a web site—will be coming later. As in years past, the Office of the Provost will provide matching funds (up to $5,000) to support events and projects related to engagement. Please start thinking of ways you, your department, or your school would like to get involved.

Please share this information with your faculty and staff and let them know to watch for more information about how to participate in the Year of Engagement. I look forward to a year devoted to fostering the spirit of engagement at Pitt. 


Ann E. Cudd
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
Professor of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh