Dear SML Community,

I spotted one! The tip of a tulip coming up in my yard. I planted a TON of tulips last fall. I have a lot of squirrels here on the coast of Maine – it is a serious victory to get a tulip to this stage. Planting and caring for seeds, waiting for the flowers to bloom…this is a lot like directing a marine lab.  
The strategic plan that many of you helped write in 2017-18 are the bulbs we purposely planted for the future of SML. It is the chart by which I try to navigate this lab because it is filled with the ideas and goals our alumni, staff, faculty, researchers, university leadership, and donors felt were valuable to the future of SML. This approach to developing the strategic plan does not represent any singular voice and I am so grateful for that. A marine lab is an institution that serves so many purposes and people. I am proud that this community deeply values learning, and as a result of growing awareness over the last few years, we are addressing new challenges together that were not heavily highlighted in our strategic plan. 
New modes of teaching and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at SML have become some of our top priorities. The class I teach at the lab includes the topic of adaptive management which is exactly how we manage SML – act, measure, learn, adapt. It is an iterative lifelong process by design and I frankly believe it is the most sustainable way to keep SML vibrant and relevant. You will soon see our annual Impact Report in your inboxes. This report represents one way we measure our ongoing progress toward carrying out our living strategic plan and meeting our mission every year. 

SML should be a place that teaches us how to better understand one another, encourages new growth, and governs itself in an iterative, adaptive manner positioning the lab for great success and innovation. From here, we emerge from the winter’s frozen soil with new ideas and refreshed goals that will help SML meet the needs of our community and fulfill our mission in order to better understand and serve the world around us.