“. . . they can imagine being successful when they see people like them succeeding.”
- Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall
I’m not sure what led me to do it but, for the first time in ages, I took a quick electronic stroll through my past 5 years of blog entries (http://linnbentonpresidentsblog.blogspot.com/) and saw something in retrospect that, while obvious to me now, was not so obvious back when I wrote them. What I saw was that my current belief in the essential role of real human beings in real relationship with each other has deep roots.
It seems to me that what we need to rediscover, and share with, and be to each other is “necessary.” (Sept 2016)
…so we can more clearly see the ways in which our lives connect and collide with each other in both damaging and healing ways, so we might choose to heal and love as much as we can. (January 2106)
…at the core of our students’ success will be the relationships we are willing to share with them. (October 2014)
Each of our actions has consequences that spread out and forward and even backward such that present and future and past are all interwoven into a “fabric” that spreads across time and space and beyond our individual births and deaths. While each of us acts individually, none of our consequences are individual. (November 2012)
…the change we hope for in our students doesn't come through their connection with a program, a course, or a subject matter. It comes through their connection with us. Every one of us at LBCC has the potential of being this catalyst for change in a student... and of being changed ourselves in the process. (April 2012)
Earlier this month I had the privilege of making a presentation at the OCCA Annual Conference entitled “Self-Acceptance as a Pathway toward Equity and Inclusion” which, among other things, introduced those in attendance to the “Bring All of Yourselves to Work” initiative on our campus.
Why bring all of ourselves to work when for years we’ve been taught to “leave all of that personal stuff at home”? Well, the research indicates that employees are more satisfied and productive in their work when the feel like they can be themselves at work – and this is especially true of the “new” generation of workers that are now beginning to fill our offices and teach in our classrooms. And perhaps even more important is the research that indicates that one of the critical factors in our students’ success is their sense of belonging with us and belief that they can succeed with us (part of what we call a “Growth Mindset”). By being ourselves at work, we create greater opportunities for our students to find the role models among us that make their belonging and believing more likely. As Bill Summerskill states (specifically in reference to LGBT), “. . . they can imagine being successful when they see people like them succeeding.”
Our increasingly diverse population of students have the best chance of succeeding when we provide them with the possibility of making a real human connection with the diverse range of people that we are, and are working to become.