A Change of Seasons

CWRU School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD

March has always been a time of transitions – from winter to spring, from the press of the academic year through spring break to its downhill slope toward commencement, from the promulgation of New Year’s resolutions to settling into what we are actually going to do.  

For the School, it’s been quite a month: our improvement in US News ranking, another excellent Match, the National Board of Medical Examiners annual report with faculty member Heidi Gullett on the cover and student DaShawn Hickman pictured within, several stellar papers published by our faculty that made news around the world, the 30th anniversary of our relationship with Makerere University in Uganda (celebrated there by no less than President Snyder herself!), an IPO on the Canadian stock exchange for Jerry Silver’s technology, and steady progress toward the opening of the Samson Pavilion. All of this – and much more besides – is indicative of the momentum we as a medical school have been generating.  

For me, it’s my wedding anniversary. Only six years, but what a time for us. My husband and I were musing that for our children this time span included one wedding and another engagement, three new children, two first days of school, two cross country moves, and two big new jobs. 

I bet it’s been the same for you. For our faculty, grants are scored, begin, or wind down. This year, as in every year about this time, we are completing the process for over 140 academic promotions and awards of tenure. We are also concluding recruitment of new faculty members for the next academic year and planning to cover the inevitable departures and retirements.  

Certainly transitions abound for our students. Each year, by March, a new crop completes the requirements for the PhD, another batch obtains master’s degrees, and our medical students in year two hit Step 1, while those in year 4 reap the fruits of their labors in The Match, and momentum builds. Our graduating students prepare to leave – a bittersweet time for those of us who encouraged them and cherished them, but we know they need to move on. Commencement looms. This year, we are making preparations for the move to the HEC – parking, office relocations, badges keyed, shuttles planned. And we are completing next year’s budget with all the new conditions and numbers provided by the central university. More about that later! 

So, if it seemed strange to awake on the last day of March to the scraping of the snow plows, it’s just part of the March transitions. By the time you read this, that will all be history. The natural order of things goes on. It won’t be long – really it won’t – ‘til spring stays sprung.