As the new president of the POD Network, I have been reflecting on the best way to welcome you to the upcoming year as a member of the POD Network. I may have set my sights on the impossible — a perfect welcome.

I want a welcome that is genuine and supportive in ways that embrace each one of you and your personal and professional identities. And a welcome that provides a glimpse into the work we are doing to become a more inclusive and welcoming organization. And finally, a welcome that imparts my excitement to be a part of this amazing organization with each one of you. To accomplish all of these goals, I offer three welcome messages, hoping that each one creates a stitch that knits us closer together, strengthening the belonging we are building with each other, our collective work, and this organization.

First, I virtually embrace and welcome YOU to the POD community. YOU matter, YOUR work matters, and YOUR ideas matter. I look forward to the ways each of you will contribute to our collective work elevating educational development and creating meaningful and impactful experiences for the members of our institutional communities. Our values of collaboration and equity are centered on you and the ways each of you will help our network grow and improve. We still have much to learn about ourselves and hope that in the coming year we can engage with each other in ways that are supportive, reflective, and respectful of our diverse backgrounds, views, and professional identities.

I also welcome you into a multi-year process to support the POD Network’s Strategic Goals and Priorities to become a more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible multicultural organization. The first phase of this work involved a thorough review of our policies and practices. This phase also invited POD members, who represent a range of identities and experiences with POD, to share their lived experiences in our organization with the consulting group, Think Again Training and Consulting, selected to guide us through this important work. In my next message, I will share the findings from this work and the ways we will use these findings to support your needs, your work, and our growth as a multicultural organization. 

Finally, I share a welcome I received when I joined the advisory council for a local science education organization here in Maine. This community-based organization routinely welcomes school-aged students, their parents, and community members to their programs and events with a simple message that I found compelling and heart-warming. I extend this welcome to you.

Dear Humans, We will get through this day, this year, together. We will respect and learn from one another. You are a beloved part of this community. — You are loved.

Feel free to reach out to me with your questions, comments, or concerns.

With warm regards,


Carol A. Hurney, Ph.D.
President, The POD Network
Associate Provost, Faculty Development & Diversity
Founding Director, Center for Teaching & Learning
Colby College