Letter from the Interim Dean

June 27, 2023

Dear Heller Community,

Interim Dean Maria Madison, ScD

As we celebrate the conclusion of another academic year together, we share in each other’s challenges and successes. I am humbled to have such exceptional colleagues. On behalf of the school and university, I am deeply grateful for your continued contributions to our beloved community.

This year we edged our way through the latest iteration of COVID-19. Many were excited to return in person, while others were cautious and hesitant. We learned to adapt and respect our differences. Wherever we found ourselves in the risk assessment of convening, we still embraced ways to learn, share, and move toward building a more just world.

Our recent graduates are re-entering a rapidly transforming world where social bonds and public trust have been increasingly challenged, where loneliness has become the newest epidemic, according to the country’s leading public health experts. The need for people to enter the fray of social policy armed with knowledge and skills guided by a moral and social justice compass has never been more critical and pressing.

To this, I encourage our new alums to stay focused, stay connected to each other, build bridges, put your oxygen mask on first, practice random acts of kindness, be grateful for your achievements, be humble, be forgiving, and make positive local, regional, and global changes.

The year offers ample opportunities to celebrate our past, present, and future. During the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years, Brandeis and Heller are recognizing their 75th and 65th anniversaries, respectively. As we approach these milestones, we are reminded why this institution exists as a “host at last” for populations traditionally left without access to high-quality education and careers.

Heller will continue strengthening its university family membership, partnering to promote a sustainable, rigorous, impactful institution. We embody the university’s mission and continue to adapt to improve its financial position and the Brandeis Framework for the Future. Through our campuswide partnerships, we further the mission of knowledge and empathy, advancing social justice.

This academic year has indeed been one in which we should all take great pride. I hope you all have a chance to refresh this summer. I look forward to seeing many of you again when we come together in the new academic year and for the anniversary celebrations.


Maria Madison, ScD

Interim Dean