Pre-session work (Campus climate)

Time to complete this module: 10-20 minutes

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • Describe what a "positive campus climate" means to you
  • Raise your own awareness of the ways you may already take student well being into account in your teaching role(s)

Campus is a complex and layered environment. Our environments often include particular norms and expectations about how we are to treat ourselves and each other, and those norms and expectations have a varied history. Some of those are grounded in good reasons; as graduate students, we are generally expected to have a good foundation of knowledge and expertise in our own discipline, because that background knowledge is necessary to begin to do our work as graduate students. But these expectations are not always clear (what counts as a "good" foundation?), nor are they always uncontested (we are supposed to be publishing in journals, learning our discipline, teaching/TAing, possibly working in the Lab, and somehow maintaining a "work life balance" all at once). Additionally, some of these expectations are lacking any real justification, they may be related to outdated models of how the world works, how people are, or may simply be expressions of the power of larger cultural or political forces that we may or may not agree with, if we are even conscious of them. As Instructors/TAs, we are also an integral part of creating the environments on campus that students and peers are impacted by, and in any teaching role, we have more influence over what our students experience.

Consider your own relationship to the campus environment, both the impact it has on you, and the impact you have on others, and answer the following: