Sculptor Alexander Calder is well known for his mobiles , each consisting of a series of parts of different shapes, sizes, and colors. As Calder constructed these artworks, he found that when he changed one part, he would need to change all the others to create balance within the sculpture. The finished mobiles are sensitive to the conditions of their environment; they move as viewers passing nearby cause currents in the air.
This evocative metaphor has serious implications for educators as we strive to support students as whole people within our colleges and universities. As we argue below, an intersectional approach is essential to our ongoing efforts to create inclusive higher education environments that truly nurture the well-being of all students.
Our understanding of intersectionality and well-being is informed by our perspective as contributors to the Bringing Theory to Practice BTtoP project, now in its fifteenth year of supporting colleges and universities in exploring the connections among engaged learning, well-being, and civic engagement and development.
Initially focused on exploring possible connections between mental health and civic engagement, the project has expanded to examine the idea that wellness is the presence and even flourishing of mental health rather than simply the absence of mental illness Keyes ; that the wholeness of students as complex individuals in specific contextual environments matters; and that active student participation in the classroom, on campus, and in the community—including engagement with difference—is critical. But attention to the whole student has typically been siloed in student affairs contexts or in faith-based institutions, where it is often expressed directly in institutional missions.
Recently, however, many in higher education have turned their focus to well-being in specific campus contexts Harward , and governments across the world most notably in Bhutan are measuring well-being instead of gross domestic product Kelly —thus opening the door to holistic explorations of student well-being.
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We wanted to explore how to shape educational environments to support the well-being of increasingly diverse student bodies, campuses, and communities. We believe that intersectionality is a natural framework for understanding the conditions that foster wellness for broad groups of students in complex and dynamic situational contexts. BTtoP is committed to encouraging and supporting conversations that advance that understanding in the interest of supporting student well-being across higher education.
We hoped to design a conference that would engage people in conversations promoting a deeper understanding of relationships among social identities and well-being. We wanted to emphasize that administrators, educators, counselors, and others responsible for creating inclusive campus cultures have a moral obligation to mitigate against the unhealthy conditions that result when members of a community fail to recognize the power of intersectionality and how students, staff, and faculty experience it.
We therefore designed the conference as an intersection that, like the college or university campus, would have the potential to be a nexus of respectful engagement in which individuals could explore their own intersectional identities and those of others while developing the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in a complex society. Student affairs educators have long seen students as complex beings whose intellectual, interpersonal, identity, and intercultural development are deeply intertwined. The whole student was conceptualized as more than the sum of multiple identity aspects e.
In the mid-twentieth century, educators conceived of student development as occurring along a trajectory, with students forming an integrated identity out of a scattered sense of self. These society-wide implications were clear after World War II, when campuses took character development very seriously as a response to authoritarian regimes and their effects, and issues of wellness and mental health evolved into major movements.
In the s, student development scholars began to emphasize the study of student diversity, developing a significant body of scholarship on racial, ethnic, sexual, and other social identities—directly challenging a three-hundred-year history of campus cultures designed from and for a more dominant, privileged point of view.
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The theoretical scholarship of intersectionality and its practical implications for designing effective, empowering educational experiences are major resources for all members of a campus community. But to optimize these resources, we will need to integrate our knowledge of student development with new, multidisciplinary understandings of intersectionality. While we can separate and study each strand of the braid, we need to hold sight of the whole and its unique form. These scholars have also examined how systems of power and privilege oppress people whose intersecting identities have been devalued, with implications for who is allowed or empowered to participate in different roles in different settings.
The fields of intercultural communication and multicultural psychology have long made intersectionality foundational to their research and practice Cross ; Sue ; Ting-Toomey and Chung This is increasingly true of student development scholarship King and Kitchener ; Knefelkamp ; Pope, Reynolds, and Mueller Her article challenges us to think more inclusively and with more complexity about aspects of our daily work in higher education. Educational research provides a provocative example. Without complete data, campuses may not see the need to change current practices.
Worse, campus leaders who prevent complex data from being presented are avoiding the moral obligation to change the campus culture to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. Recently, the field of organizational development and change has adopted a focus on intersectionality. Scholars of organizational change have long been aware that efforts to change organizational climate must involve all aspects of the culture. Too often, organizations settle for the least amount of effort or a partial effort, but focusing on just one aspect of the culture does not lead to lasting organizational or cultural change.
See the article by Frank D. Golom in this issue. Scholars of intersectionality are always asking about how to effect larger organizational or structural change.
A VOICE AND A FORCE FOR LIBERAL EDUCATION
They dare us to touch the third rail of power and privilege. Another major area of scholarship centers on curriculum and effective pedagogy. Students need to be personally involved in the learning process. They need to see themselves reflected in the curriculum to actively participate with their peers in meaningful application of their knowledge through projects, and to engage in respectful dialogue—especially with those with whom they disagree.
The recurring questions of whose story is told, and by whom, are core to developing more inclusive course and program offerings. Students need the opportunity to tell their own stories, without being called upon to speak as sole representatives of their groups. Richard L.
Patrick Williams and Chrisman. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, How do we form as individuals? The self refers to the unique set of traits, behaviors, and attitudes that distinguishes one person from another Newman To distinguish between oneself from others, one must be able to recognize their unique traits and characteristics. Working With The Multi-Cultural Population Counseling is a field that can be very rewarding for both the client as well as the clinician.
Skin Feeling – The New Inquiry
Nevertheless, it can also offer great challenges. The benefits of counseling far outweigh the bad. Nonetheless, there is a certain population of individuals who some clinicians may have a difficult time counseling more than others. The recent concerns for gender and sexual orientation constantly are in the limelight, especially amongst the political forefront. Foucault is concerned with language because it is a mode by which we maintain order in the world, and according to his argument, what we should fear are heterotopias, which "undermine language," "make it impossible to name this and that," "shatter or tangle common names," and "destroy 'syntax' in advance" Foucault xviii.
When Foucault refers to 'syntax,' he is not just talking about our method of constructing sentences but "also that less apparent syntax which causes words. This course, taught by Dr. Bianca Williams, has enabled me to change my views on racism and race to a move correct outlook. Skryzynecki persona does not feel belonging and struggles to find belonging at St. Patrick's college. Despite the fact he has been there for eight years and grew with the school he still feels like a 'foreign tourist' in Australia.
I will also explore the representations of belonging in Australian poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal aboriginal poetry. Oodgeroo Noonuccal also has experienced racism. Featured Posts. Search By Tags. Follow Us. The Sapphires.
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