In her presentation, Imad urged attendees to explore potential solutions to the burnout epidemic plaguing higher education institutions across the country. She advocated for a culture change in higher education and emphasized the importance of creating “resilient spaces” where colleagues and students, especially those from historically underserved and marginalized backgrounds, can equip themselves with the necessary skills, resources, and support to navigate the various challenges they face and learn from these experiences.
At several points during her presentation, Imad paused and asked attendees to form small groups at their tables to discuss concepts such as intergenerational trauma and reparative humanism – which emphasizes the importance of healing damage caused by historical injustices and systemic oppression – and how they can be addressed or implemented in their work.
After each small group discussion, Imad asked for volunteers willing to share takeouts with the entire room. Among the ideas presented were finding ways to help students better navigate the resources available to them on campus; working to challenge entrenched inequalities that may still be present in the higher education system; and examining what unspoken “agreements” in higher education can be harmful.
Ultimately, participants left the event with a collective sense of empowerment to make their courses more “burnout-proof,” to check in with students on their feelings about the course, and to be prepared to make adjustments, including reducing content if necessary while still meeting learning objectives. “You can think of resilience as the opposite of burnout,” Imad told them. “Resilience is our ability to bounce back when we experience adversity or experience trauma. It’s really important to remember that resilience is not one-size-fits-all.”
Future sessions will be held in winter and spring quarters. Registration information for future events will be posted on Equity in Mental Health series website as details are finalized.