Personal Reflections | Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Personal Reflections

August 10, 2020

Welcome to the 2020-2021 Academic Year!

As we commence this new Academic Year, the word that comes to mind is: “strange.” We begin the year seeing others two-dimensionally, as flat images in Zoom screens. Yet, let’s remember that we are fully human with all the yearnings and desire to return to campus as soon as possible.

In March of this year, our lives changed in the blink of an eye. Since that time, IMSA has felt the same effects of this pandemic as so many other institutions. Yet, we have been resilient with each obstacle that has come our way. This COVID-19 global health crisis continues to evolve.

Our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off-campus, and our students’ intellectual and social engagement. It has been our priority since the day we had to leave the campus in March. We have taken thoughtful and decisive action with the best information available to limit the spread of the virus while ensuring the continuity of our educational mission. Nothing matters more to us than this: igniting and nurturing creative, ethical scientific minds that advance the human condition.

Our goal is for students and staff, including faculty, to return to campus when it is safe. For details on our IMSA fall 2020 plans, see our plan and website. As you know, there are unique challenges to reopening IMSA based on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We believe staunchly in the transformative power of IMSA’s living-learning environment. I want to have everyone back at IMSA. More than anything, I would love to welcome our new Class of 2023 and welcome back “home” our class of 2022 and 2021 face to face. I want all of us back on campus.

However, without proper health safeguards in our community that allow IMSA to return to campus for instruction and student life activities safely, we must maintain our physical distance. The coronavirus does not get tired of spreading.

Our Academy priorities as we begin the new Academic Year are:

  1. Equity and Excellence Plan: Year One of Action
  2. Beyond Surviving. Resolved to Thrive

You see, we do not believe it is enough to survive the pandemic. Let’s resolve to thrive. Let’s flourish in 2021.

Supporting our students and staff, including faculty, is central to our focus this year. We are here to guide you as you become the best version of yourself.

Make it a great year!


José M. Torres, Ph.D.