During her presentation, Imad emphasized the need for a culture shift in higher education and encouraged participants to explore potential solutions to the burnout epidemic affecting institutions across the country. A central theme was the creation of “resilient spaces” where colleagues and students, particularly those from historically underserved and marginalized backgrounds, can be equipped with the necessary skills, resources, and support to navigate challenges and learn from them.
Imad paused multiple times during her presentation to ask attendees to form small groups at their tables to discuss concepts such as intergenerational trauma and reparative humanism – which highlights the importance of healing historical harms caused by systemic oppression – and how they can implement these concepts in their work.
After each small group discussion, Imad asked for volunteers who were willing to share their takeaways with the entire room. Among the ideas brought up were ways to help students better navigate campus resources, challenging entrenched inequalities in higher education, and examining unspoken “agreements” in higher education that may be harmful.
Ultimately, participants left the event with a sense of empowerment to make their courses more “burnout-proof.” They were encouraged to check in with students about their feelings about the course and be willing to make adjustments, including reducing content if necessary, while still meeting learning objectives. As Imad put it, “You can think of resilience as the opposite of burnout. Resilience is our ability to bounce back when we experience adversity or trauma. It’s really important to keep in mind that resilience is not one-size-fits-all.”
Future sessions will occur during Winter and Spring Quarters. Information about registration for future events will be posted on the Equity in Mental Health series website as details are finalized.