Facilitators: Robert, Avalon, Lillian
Note taker: Sam Coates-Finke
For this class, we’re going to focus on wrap-up. Talk about what we’ve learned, where higher ed should, could, might be going. Also, we’re going to talk about what we’re doing for our final projects.
First, we’ll do a reflection. Think about what we said on the first class when we said why we were interested in the class. What’s different now?
Students, staff, teachers
I came into this class because I didn’t like higher education and
I feel like there’s a lot to explore in what we already have here in higher ed. We don’t have to go far outside higher ed to find new ideas and inspiration.
The class has been very enlightening. I was particularly interested because of the alums as peers. I have just been so thrilled at how this has worked.
I was interested in this class because i wanted to historicize my field. What I got out of it was the devil in the details. I had observed some of the stuff, but now I see in the figures what a unique moment we’re in. I couldn’t have predicted how much I would have learned in this class.
I think I said something like I wanted to place my experience in history, what other marginalized people, POC have gotten from higher and ed and what they’ve been through. Now I’m still looking at how to make higher ed more accessible to POC.
My dad is a math ed researcher, so I grew up being critical of education. My best learning has had community engaged research, so I’ve been frustrated that tenured prof aren’t encouraged to do this. That’s why I came in. But I’ve been blown away by the interdisciplinary aspect of this class. It’s been a challenge but I’ve enjoyed it. Especially the economics and finances of the university and seeing how it is stuck in a dysfunctional system. I’m curious to see how we can change the system, interested in hybrids. Because those that talk about online ed don’t send their kids there. I don’t want this to become a two-tiered system.
I came to this class as someone interested in primary ed, and I was interested in what I was preparing them for. One thing I’ve thought about is collaboration and how much I’ve been trained to think individually, working away from collaboration with others. This class is more collective, and I want to bring that into younger classrooms. Also interested in bringing tech into those schools.
I’ve always known I wanted to be in education. I wanted to explore what distinguishes higher ed from K-12. Is it just a continuation? This class has helped me think about the value of higher ed and what it means. It’s also helped me think about whose values these are. So what I am taking away is that we have this thing called higher ed, but we all view it in a different way. We don’t talk about that.
On the first day, i said I had concerns about the higher ed in general and with higher ed as a parent figure. I have more faith in higher ed now. This class and this semester in the world has helped me understand what students are looking for, demanding of higher ed. This class has forced us to articulate our ideas and our backgrounds. It also brought us to some crazy breaking points, which was important. Also intergenerational dialogue is very important.
I wanted to take the class because I’m thinking about getting my foot back into the classroom. I was also missing the intellectual conversation. Some things I’ve taken from this is universal design implemented in the classroom. It’s great that we rotate the note-takers. At center for disabilities, we talk about this and here we do it. It gave me a new perspective. It’s very different to be in the classroom and see how much work students have to do every week. It made me read articles differently, made me read the news differently, and both broadened and narrowed what I want to do next. But then, I’m thinking about how i’m going to get to class in the future given how hard it is coming here and it’s just three blocks away.
I said something about being frustrated with my college experience. I always expected to go to college, so there’s a lot of expectation on me already, and being unsatisfied is strange. I’ve interrogated this in this class and on a committee, and it has really only complicated my understanding. But now I know generally what the arguments are in higher ed and I feel like I can take this info and use it in the future.
I think about student health and counseling a lot. Before this class, I didn’t have any interest in K-12 but now I do. I also think a lot now about democracy, and how in order to reach democratic decisions the process is very slow. I understand better why that is. The last thing, unreconciled, is that I can’t predict and don’t have the power to deal with the culture changes that are coming.
I don’t remember what I said, but it probably had something to do with my learning disabilities. College sucks with learning disabilities, you feel stupid and can’t learn even if you want to learn. This class was different. The community, the learning was much better and more satisfying.
I wanted to know more about how to make college more accessible. I was thinking about K-12 but now I think more about K-16. How education can be used to catalyze change in society. Ever class I’d leave and have such despair on where things are going. It’s not fixable in that there’s one solution. But we might be able to make a system that can adapt to changes that will come.
I had just come off taking a leave of absence, and wanting to be pretty intentional about coming back into the classroom. For me, learning a lot of history, the economics, reinforces just how pervasive systems of oppression are, and how they’re manifesting at every level. That’s hard to hold on to, but it’s necessary for the work I want to do.
On the first class, i was interested in technology and I’m doing the final on it so nothing’s changed. But all the other stuff has given me a lot more context for this.
I think I talked about being a high school teacher. I learned a lot from facilitating. Not making points just to make a point.
Some of my friends joke that I’ve peaked in high school because I really enjoyed high school. This class has informed my understanding of K-12, why this is how it is and what the institution of higher ed is. I’d also be interested in know how K-12 and higher ed have played off each other over time.
I wanted to know more about my field. Prepare a good defense of the Liberal Arts against all its attackers. We didn’t always talk about the good things, often critiques. But we got some. Also, I learned a lot about how universities exist in the great system and how that causes dysfunctional. Also an awareness of how college has become a way of producing workers in a knowledge economy. I also have started to question my own ideas about who should go to college and why. I question whether everyone should go to college. I also have a better understanding of what issues of sensitivity and what’s called PC-culture in mainstream media. Now I’m more on the side of students on these issue, often.
I took this class because Steve affected my undergrad experience so much. Also, I was in Paris recently and we were talking about how future generations will think about us. Maybe every generation thinks they’re on the cusp of change. But it warms my heart to know there’s a whole group of people thinking and working through this.
People at my school are always surprised when I say that I’ve learned a lot from this class. People don’t expect that from online learning. one thing I’m taking away is a sense of pressure for making the right decisions. Our decisions have a cumulative effect. My campus is facing serious enrollment challenges, and that’s scary think about. The only thing left to cut is people, and one of the things that I’ve taken away from this class is that people are the most important part of higher ed. But I do have a renewed sense of positivity because of you guys and because of my alums. You leave feeling that there’s no problem you can’t solve and this class has only underlined that.
I wanted perspective out of this class and I have gotten it, ten-thousandfold from the alums, the students, steve. Seeing how difficult it is to run a college these days, putting myself in those shoes. And to the students, thank you for your honesty. You’ve opened up and opened my eyes. The perspective I’ve gotten is invaluable.
I wanted to take the class as an opportunity to think about the issues I live on a day to day basis. I was very impressed with the historical parts early on. I was most surprised by some of that history and some of the readings about neoliberalism and the knowledge economy. That’s been very powerful for me. When we alums were talking on our own, one thing that jumped out was the role of an intellectual community. It’s easy, at Oberlin, to take for granted intellectual community. once you leave college, you can’t take that for granted. The alums have brought so much here. This class also has reminded me of my passion for learning. I also can’t express how impressed I have been with you students, with the facilitating and how students strive to connect ideas. It’s very sophisticated. Last, this class works to bring together practice and theory.
There’s a lot of reasons faculty teach courses. Often, it has to do with sharing expertise. That’s not always the best way to go about it. I organized this course as a way of organizing conversation about something i’m interested in but am not really qualified to teach. I have the luxury that I can organize a course like that. I can’t imagine better partners in this conversation then you all have been. (Now Steve begins to cry). When you talk to faculty, almost every faculty have that class that worked. Everyone will be able to be able to tell you their class. We call it chemistry because we don’t know why it works. That it’s at the end of my career makes it particularly special. (Several people are crying now).
How do we want to change things at Oberlin? What are we writing our papers on?
I’m doing a comparative of American higher ed to other types of higher ed. I’m also thinking about preparing higher ed for adaptability rather than finding one big change.
I’m also interested in hearing from faculty and staff about what you think about changes at Oberlin.
For me, I know trigger warnings and microaggressions much better than I used to. It’s all very reasonable in reality but how they’re picture off campus is very different. I can stand up for this better than before. Also how racism permeates everything from the beginning. I knew some of that but I know more now. And I know that I’m missing stuff still.
I’m so excited for you!
I was raised in a house that was anti-racist and my dad let a black minister stay in the house. So I feel like I was raised in a good liberal household. But boy, there’s so much I didn’t know and so much I needed to know.
I’m writing about one of the student demands: getting more faculty of color. But it’s more than just hiring. It’s getting them through high school and college and more and more. I’m also
Historically Black Colleges are worried about losing Black faculty to other schools because they have pools of ready faculty. That would be a cruel injustice.
There’s a lot of people at Oberlin that talk about the invisible work that faculty and staff of color do. People are excited about them being here, but they also have to be a caretaker of a community as well. That’s what makes work here good for my heart and my soul. It’s also a lot of invisible, unpaid work. So will there even be an exodus from a place like Oberlin because of that? “Adults” talk about where is the line between their commitment to students and community and the commitment to myself?
Even the ways of knowing that persist come from white christian ideals. Makes it hard for those from a different background to make it through. My paper is going to be about the culture of safety. About how once you open the door to other people besides white christian men, something needs to change. The culture of safety is part of that change.
For me, one thing that has become clear is that students, faculty, staff don’t know how the institution runs. Yet when you talk about it, you bring people into the conversation. We need transparency. Students often have demands that don’t seem reasonable because we need those conversations first. Part of what I got out of this class is that everyone around the table has contributed to our knowledge.
Is there even a pool of faculty of color to hire from. If we make demands, often they aren’t even possible. NOt even because of budgetary issues. There just aren’t people to hire. Think about pipelines here. The pay isn’t good in higher ed. All these things are so complex.
There was pressure at Berkeley to get more Black students at school. From the admin point of view, it wasn’t feasible if you looked at the numbers. But there was desire on the students’ part and that made it happen.