Message From the Chancellor (COVID-19 April 30, 2020 3:34 p.m.)

Failure Is Not an Option

Dear Texas Woman’s Community,

I hope this message finds you well on this final day of April 2020.

I am grateful today for the reminder that good news begets good news. I recently received several messages from faculty about the resilience of the Texas Woman’s community and this morning, Dr. Raisinghani, professor of business and economics in the College of Business, shared a story about the Apollo 13 mission that parallels our call to “boldly go!”

When failure, or giving up, is an option, it’s much easier to make and accept excuses for why something difficult can’t be done.
Gene didn’t know how to save the lives of the three astronauts. He left that assignment to the experts. His role was to continue to clarify the goal, stress why success was the only alternative and inspire individuals to keep giving their best effort to solve the next problem.

Leading with Questions April 30, 2020

I have held some of my deepest concerns for our students in the arts. Dr. Richard Shuster, professor of music and piano, recently confirmed the challenges they face but then also raised my quarantine spirits with his recounting of the semester and a montage of his students’ incredible artistry and talent:

Some of my piano students made a short video montage. In it, they are playing excerpts of pieces they learned this semester. Since the closure, I’ve been teaching them online from my home, using my piano, computer, phone, cables, and lighting. Students continued to have regular one-on-one lessons at their normal times via Skype, Google Meet, or Facetime, and we continued with our weekly group performance classes via Zoom. They have been practicing on whatever piano or keyboard they had in their apartments or parents’ homes. Some of these instruments don’t come close to capturing their full artistic capacity, but this did not deter them. The situation has been difficult, but they maintained their focus and continued to make great progress throughout the semester. For this, I’m overflowing with gratitude and pride.

One of the unique aspects of teaching music is that we can hear, usually instantly, if a student is engaged or not. Music teachers can detect intentions, moods, and attitudes in the interpretations of the pieces they are playing. I think that in this video montage, which was recorded last week, you will be able to sense a very high level of engagement and enthusiasm, despite the unfavorable conditions. To me, it is a sounding example of TWU’s pioneering spirit.

  1. Yurimar Santiago-Torres, undergraduate music therapy major, Souvenir de Porto Rico, Op. 31 by Maurice Gottschalk, performed in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  2. Kamila Swerdloff, graduate music therapy major, Sonata in C Major, K. 330 by W. A. Mozart, performed in Denton, TX
  3. Olivia Manghera, undergraduate liberal arts music major, Prelude in D Minor, from Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I by J.S. Bach, performed in Carrollton, TX.
  4. Alicia Smith, graduate music therapy major, Jeux d'eau, by Maurice Ravel, performed in Denton, TX
  5. Inja Kim, graduate piano pedagogy major, Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, #1 by Frederic Chopin, performed in Flower Mound, TX
  6. Clark Cavender, undergraduate liberal arts music major, Sonata in C Major, K. 332 by W. A. Mozart, performed in Sherman, TX
  7. Katya Chaniewicz, graduate music therapy major, El Choclo by Ángel Villoldo, arr. Uwe Korn, performed in Dallas, TX
  8. Cody Henry, undergraduate music therapy major, Liebesträume No. 3 by Franz Liszt, performed in Dallas, TX
  9. Cecilia Esparza, graduate music therapy major, Chaconne in D Minor by Bach-Busoni, performed in Dallas, TX

Produced by Alicia Smith
Edited by Clark Cavender and Rich Shuster

I am delighted beyond words! Teaching students as far away as San Juan. Though incredible, I do look forward to future performances back in Margo Jones.

Jordan Fuchs, professor, interim chair and coordinator of the MFA program in the Department of Dance, also shared inspiration from his department’s recent adjudicated concert.

The concert features a series of short 60-second dance solos choreographed by students in their living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, garages and backyards, using the limitations of social distancing and stay-at-home-orders to inspire new creative possibilities in dance.


1200 Seconds: a TWU Department of Dance virtual dance concert

Again, I am inspired not only by the resilience and vision of the dance faculty and students, but also by their artistry and seeing what is possible in dance.

I hope you, too—like me—are left inspired to keep believing in what we are becoming. With the support of dedicated staff and the guidance of virtuoso faculty, the students of Texas Woman’s are demonstrating, in the words of Dr. Shuster, “a sounding example of TWU’s pioneering spirit.” As Dr. Raisinghani conveyed: “Failure is not an option!”

With a renewed pioneering spirit,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President

P.S. For the latest information, check out the TWU COVID-19 webpage.

Page last updated 5:25 PM, April 30, 2020