There have been a lot of welcoming events and meetings that have occurred during the past month, but I will add another welcome back to GCC for those of you who are continuing your work here and, if you are new, a welcome to GCC and an invitation to join our faculty union, the Glendale College Guild. You can find an easy to fill out membership form here. My virtual door is always open so please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our theme for this month’s Chaparral is about the return to campus. There has been a lot of debate about what that should look like, but it is imperative that we pay attention to what students need without us telling them what we think is best for them or what is best for us, their instructors. Resist the urge to resort to paternalism. It doesn’t work when we are trying to foster a respectful relationship with our students who want us to be responsive to what they need.
I applaud our Board of Trustees and Administration for giving any student enrolled in a class on either the Verdugo and Garfield campuses the GCC GoPass which allows them to ride on various forms of public transportation for free. This is but one way we are showing our respect for the challenges they may face in trying to get to campus to take in-person classes. Last time I checked, gas prices were still very high which can be an impediment for many students and affects their decision-making regarding which kind of course modality to choose. But at least with the GCC GoPass, this takes some of that transportation burden away. I love these kinds of student-centered approaches to solving issues of trying to attract students back to our beautiful campus. More of this please! And I’ll just say, “TACO TUESDAY!” without further explanation.
I have been doing my best to be present on campus for many of the events that have been taking place. Many of you have heard from me about how wonderful it is to see the activity on campus and how much I’m enjoying seeing and talking with my colleagues in person. I’m an extrovert, so my tank is filled up after a day of being on campus, even if I lose my voice!
One of those events was Sarah McLemore’s Parker Award luncheon and presentation. For those of you could not attend, she spoke of the Ethics of Care. It resonated deeply with me, and I hope it resonated with those of you who attended.
An ethic of care is not a blast email diatribe. An ethic of care is not decision-making for other people, including your fellow colleagues and your students.
An ethic of care is about genuinely listening to what other people tell you and believing them when they tell you what their experiences are, no matter how different they are from your own. An ethic of care is trusting that people know what’s best for them.
This pandemic has been difficult for all of us. We need more empathy, more dialogue, more care. Let’s all strive to make this a goal this year as we transition out of this pandemic. A return to campus should not be solely about bodies in physical classrooms just because that’s how we always did things in the past. A return to campus is about listening to each other, solving problems creatively, and allowing for an abundance of choices and grace. We’re all a little battered and bruised right now. Let’s remember to be kind.
No matter where you are reading this, welcome back and have a great year!
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