Dear GPE community:
You are invited to a special meeting of GPE on Thursday, May 3 from 3:30 to 5:00. Invited to this meeting are all full-time faculty, all staff, all part-time professors who taught during this semester, and representatives of all student organizations (GUSS, UPA, & GEOGRADS). Between 5:00 and 6:00 there will be a wine and cheese to which ALL members of the GPE community are invited.
The purpose of the meeting is to continue a dialogue that has begun in small and informal meetings here and there, now and then, and in and around the department. This meeting is an attempt to multiply and strengthen the many ways that members of the department are already handling the challenges associated with the ongoing strike.
In the course of the meeting, we will discuss the following questions.
1. When in the context of the strike did you feel supported?
2. When in the context of the strike did you feel unsupported?
3. How would you like to see the department react if/when this crisis continues, and/or in the face of future crises?
We selected these questions based on our shared understanding of the mission of GPE: to support each other as we teach, learn and engage with the world. This fundamental mission is most difficult – and at the same time most important – to sustain in times of crisis. The meeting then is an opportunity to do some collective thinking about how the department – understood as the collective of students, faculty and staff – supported and failed to support its members during the strike.
In framing these questions in terms of “support” and in terms of GPE as a collective, we are conscious that each of us is differently situated within the power-geometries of the department and that “support” for one might feel like a lack of support to another. Differences in position as well as differences of opinion will influence how (and if) individuals answer the questions posed above. The objective of this meeting, then, is not to arrive at correct answers, but to exchange concerns and hopes, and in doing so, to recognize the positions of others in the department. Once we understand better our positions, it will be easier for us to communicate and to resolve challenges that remain.
While we cannot remove politics from a meeting of this sort, together we can make the space of the meeting as safe as possible. To accomplish this, those who attend the meeting will be asked to respect guidelines, for example:
· challenge the idea or the practice, not the person
· personalize your knowledge, don’t project it (i.e. use I statements)
· Actively listen
These guidelines will be expanded upon, clarified, and encouraged by an experienced facilitator, Gabrielle Bouchard, who will chair the meeting.
Finally, the logistics:
DATE:Thursday, May 3, 2012.
TIME:3:00 – 4:30
WHO:Full-time faculty, part-time faculty who taught this semester, staff, student reps of GUSS, UPA & GEOGRADS.
To be followed by WINE AND CHEESE
TIME4:30 – 5:30
WHO:All members of the department including all students, faculty (full-time and part-time) and staff.
We hope you will join us on Thursday.
Kevin Gould Tom McGurk Patricia Thornton