Imad, a higher education advocate, delivered a passionate speech at a recent event focused on addressing burnout in institutions across the country. During his presentation, he urged attendees to explore potential solutions to this growing issue. A central theme of his talk was creating “resilient spaces” where colleagues and students, particularly those from historically underserved and marginalized backgrounds, can develop the necessary skills, resources, and support to navigate challenges they encounter and learn from their experiences.
At multiple points during the presentation, Imad paused and asked participants to break into small groups at their tables to discuss concepts such as intergenerational trauma and reparative humanism – which emphasizes healing historical harms caused by systemic oppression – and how they could implement these concepts in their work.
After each small group discussion, volunteers were invited to share takeaways with the entire room. Among the ideas brought up were ways to help students better access campus resources; challenging entrenched inequalities within higher education; and examining unspoken “agreements” in higher education that may be harmful.
In conclusion, participants left feeling empowered to make their courses more resilient against burnout by checking in with students about their feelings about the course and being willing to make adjustments, including reducing content if necessary while still meeting learning objectives. As Imad pointed out, “You can think of resilience as the opposite of burnout. Resilience is our ability to bounce back when we experience adversity or trauma. It’s really important to keep in mind that resilience is not one-size-fits-all.”
Future sessions will take place during Winter and Spring Quarters. Information regarding registration for future events will be posted on the Equity in Mental Health series website as details are finalized.