Loneliness really got to many of us during the pandemic. But I think feeling unseen was a part of this as well. We started out in 2020 with a “let’s make this work for students” attitude. Let’s also find groceries and toilet paper. And let’s learn all these new skills we need to learn.
Then we did so much. We did the impossible. And we did it – from home… alone… where no one could see. We did so much and then we burned out from doing more and more and wondering, “is it working?” “What are other people doing?” “Does anyone see what I’m doing over here?” “Is it helping?”
In 2022, when I stepped onto the Guided Pathways team, I started meeting with people across disciplines and hearing how people had traversed the pandemic innovating to make learning meaningful online. What struck me most was how unseen this work had gone. We were doing our jobs, at our homes, and doing tons of professional learning. Trying to figure out how to deal with the problems we were facing: disengaged students, students needing extra support, knowing our students well in a nonideal online environment, students not turning in work, parenting students with kids at home, students dealing with significant trauma from the pandemic, learning loss, more and more things!
You are an innovator. Whether you see yourself as one or not. You have done things that may seem obvious, but you did them to solve the problems we were facing. And how many problems were we facing!? We are facing new challenges all the time. We have challenges in front of us now as a college that will require us not only to innovate at home in our spaces of influence, but across our teams as an institution.
Sharing something you have done or are planning to do at this Innovation Expo might feel vulnerable. What if your idea isn’t perfect? What if there’s other research you haven’t considered? What if not all of the data is there yet? Perfect examples are not the goal of this expo.
This is a time where we can be in process together. We are people who engage big problems like systemic racism and student isolation through our roles at this college. These problems are bigger than any one person’s ability to solve. We must be a college with a culture of innovation where we engage in messy questions and work out the next steps. That culture of innovation will bring us into a future that sees the transformation we want – to become a campus known for how we create belonging and transformational learning. This innovation expo is a step toward making sure we celebrate innovation together.
For everyone willing to share your ideas and experiences at this expo, THANK YOU! I am looking forward to celebrating how you have innovated in unseen ways.
You can still submit a poster idea!
(this form is just the idea! Not the finished poster!)
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