2020 Coronavirus Pandemic -- Online Gatherings

Dear ARC Friends and Colleagues,
All of us are affected to some extent, personally and professionally, by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. This is clearly a time that calls for extraordinary resilience. The ARC Steering Committee sends you and your students courage and hope as we all navigate these new waters and create new ways to care for ourselves and others.
                                                                  - Abigail, Adina, Myrna, and Nic

Sample  Participant Feedback:  “This was very informative, and I have tangible ideas for how we can implement
some of the presentation components at [my own institution]. Thank you!”


There are no more gatherings scheduled for this academic term. 
In response to member feedback, additional opportunities for peer gatherings will be offered in future. 

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"Good Ideas" - Panel and Conversation
Thursday, May 7, 8:00am-9:30am (Pacific Time)

SUMMARY.  Gathering III provided an opportunity to share stories and ideas about how we can support resilience in our students, ourselves, and our institutions during this time.We heard directly from ARC members about their resilience work and discussed how these ideas might apply to our own unique institutions.  Four brief presentations were followed by large-group discussion:

·       Hilary Simon (Social and Emotional Learning Analyst, Western Governors University) described a multi-session program based on the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Program.

·       Viv Bell (Academic Skills Consultant, University of Salford, UK) described adapting an 8-topic academic resilience program to a webinar format.

·       Judit Török (Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Pratt Institute) described the value of unstructured agenda-less coffee hours for faculty to provide opportunities for reflection and support.

·       Kathy Takayama (Executive Director, Teaching and Learning Transformation Center, University of Maryland) described ways of promoting student metacognition and “small acts” that value intrapersonal reflection and interpersonal connection.

THEMES.  Emergent themes included: (a) increased appreciation in our communities for opportunities for unstructured interpersonal connection, such as coffee hours, check-ins, gatherings; (b) the ways in which resilience training/development is considered in different contexts to be an educational, clinical, or personal (i.e., non-clinical, non-educational) endeavor, with related differences in terms of who in the university structure is “responsible” for it; (c) the ways in which attention to resilience is considered either “extra” or “integral” to the college experience and to the mission of higher ed; and (d) the ways in which resources are provided to students which would also be helpful to faculty/staff, but are not available to them, and vice versa (that is, wonderful resources sometimes arise in HR, or Student Services, or Faculty Training, but might not cross these boundaries even within the same institution).

HELPFUL IDEAS/RESOURCES. During the presentations and in the accompanying chat, a number of links were shared, including:

Pheonix Flops, Elon University

Advice for Students YouTube Series, University of Minnesotahttps://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCxbV2kTqsxPPAmAz2Ul6Hned-WQiGSJ0

28-Day Challenge, Brooklyn Art Gallery

Small Acts: Simple self-questions to help students prepare, engage, be present, Kathy M. Takayama

Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania  


Coming Together to Support Resilience
Tuesday, April 14th, 8:00am - 9:30am (Pacific Time)

SUMMARY.  The gathering began with introductions to the facilitators and to the ARC.  The participants split into breakout rooms of 3-5 participants each, to discuss the challenges that they find are calling for resilience -- for themselves, their students, and their institutions/communities.  After coming together to share what emerged in those small-group conversations, the participants broke into their small groups for a second time, to discuss ideas and resources that they found were helpful in supporting resilience in their various contexts and roles.  Participants returned again to the large group again to share what emerged in their breakouts, and to gather these ideas together for dissemination to all participants after the meeting.  

THEMES.  Themes that emerged from the first breakout included, for example:
Values:  the struggles and importance of empathy, grace,  kindness, compassion, and self-compassion; and experiences of perseverance, adaptability/flexibility, and mindset.  
Challenges:  uncertainty, motivation, grief and loss, finding meaning, and recognizing limits.
Community/connection:   the importance of finding and building community in new ways; making efforts to reach out to one another; and supporting peer-to-peer networks
Administrative/logistic issues:  learning new technologies; creating online versions/approximations of campus activities; coping with work/family boundaries, and lack of privacy in home settings (especially for counseling and advising); working across departments and functions.
Diversity/equity/social justice:  recognizing the differential resources that students have once they leave campus vis a vis housing and food insecurity, travel restrictions, access to technology, access to disability support, access to quarantine spaces.  

HELPFUL IDEAS/RESOURCES.  Some of the ideas that were discussed in the second breakout included:
Meetings/connections:  weekly staff coffee hours; student drop-in hours; student  and staff social gatherings
Online trainings/workshops:  resilience skills, (for staff and faculty as well as students); "fail forward" modeling panels of faculty and staff; online peer tutoring and study groups.  Other ideas:  reaching out individually to students as much as possible; helping students redefine the narrative of what academic success means; providing opportunities for students to reflect and normalize what they are experiencing; and many links were shared to online resources and tools.


Managing Conflicting Expectations
Tuesday, April 28, 11:30am-1:00pm (Pacific Time)

SUMMARY.  The format for Gathering II was substantially the same as for Gathering I, however the questions that guided the two breakout sessions were:  How are we managing the tensions between rigor and grace, professional and personal? and What are we learning about our own concepts of resilience?  In addition, participants were able to opt for a general breakout group or a topic-focused group: faculty/teaching, equity & privilege, graduate/post-doc students, or mental health.

THEMES.  The themes that emerged during the breakout sessions included, for example: the importance of authenticity and acknowledging vulnerability; the longing for community and connections; unexpected opportunities for bravery and innovation; the costs and benefits of the blurring of boundaries between the professional and personal in online working and teaching; greater appreciation of social-emotional aspects of learning throughout our communities.  A range of challenges were also discussed, including coping with the threat of layoffs, the difficulties of rural students, and the mixed messages students (and others) get about maintaining rigor/achievement vs. honoring the reality of their current circumstances.

HELPFUL IDEAS/RESOURCES.  As a prompt for the first breakout, Adina Glickman read an excerpt from an Inside Higher Ed article by Catherine Denial:  https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/just-visiting/guest-post-complexities-certainty.  Participants encouraged one another to find ways to create community, take care of themselves and others, and look for opportunities in the midst of their great challenges.           

In response to these extraordinary times of uncertainty and challenge, The Academic Resilience Consortium invited our members to participate in a series of online gatherings.

The purpose of these gatherings was to connect with colleagues across student affairs, teaching, research, and health/wellness roles for mutual support and to share wisdom and stories of how we are all finding ways to support the academic resilience of our students, our colleagues, our communities, and ourselves. 

Gatherings were facilitated by Adina Glickman, ARC Co-Director, and Caroline Umeda, ARC member and Assistant Professor at Dominican University of California. 

Attendance was free, on a first-come basis.  

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