I sit here reflecting on the keynote presented by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and I am thankful that I had the wherewithal on Friday afternoon to jot down a few notes while participating in the webinar. Several of Dr. Fitzpatrick’s statements had meaning to me; having taken time to consider them in the context of PSU, my perspectives and understandings have been both challenged and solidified. I am completing my eleventh year at PSU and during this time, I have witnessed a great deal of change at the institution. While change is healthy and part of growth and evolution, to me, this change has felt fraught with pain, fear, and the undertone of desperation to keep the institution alive. I love PSU and hope to continue growing as a professional here for many years, but at times it feels personally destructive to dedicate my life to an institution that, as Kathleen says, “can’t love me, like I love it.” Her statement makes me consider the emotions I have had in response to the actions taken by the university over the years. I am certain that the decisions to let go of faculty and staff, and shut programs down, where not made lightly, but rather out of financial necessity. That said, it has created, what I see as an us vs. them mentality; everyone is on the defensive as we shuffle to gain traction and the momentum necessary to keep PSU alive. Internalizing Fitzpatrick’s, “unbalanced love” statement has brought me peace, and feelings of forgiveness for our beautiful little university tucked in NH’s White Mountains. I am hopeful that releasing the anger and sadness created by the past difficulties will free up mental space for me, so I’m more available to help create the changes needed at PSU.
- Does research pull us away from our work as a collective?
- Is merit associated with individualism?
- Do your accomplishments come at my expense?
- Why don’t all faculty and staff have the same rights and privileges that tenure track faculty have?
- Should the evaluative process of the tenure and promotion process be changed from, “you have done enough……” to, you are valued and “we want you forever?”
- What would happen if we changed from “more” to “better” (better =slowing down, engaging, sharing, time, connecting)
- How can we create change that builds equity and not continue to support privilege?
Modifying or changing the policy regarding these statements would likely result in a loss of members of the community who were not able to fully embrace the changes that were occurring. And while that is unfortunate, ultimately everyone would be happier in the end. New community members, willing to adopt a philosophy framed by unity and generous thinking, would be embraced and supported by students, staff and faculty that had institutional history. The necessary change would happen…