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Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda: Moving Beyond Personal Failure and Actively Cultivating a More Equitable Academy

November 18, 2020, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST

Systems of higher education in the United States create differential advantage and disadvantage for the people who work and learn in them. When individuals move through these systems—as administrators, instructors, or learners—they make choices to participate in the perpetuation or the disruption of these inequities. While some perpetuation of inequity can be attributed to ignorance, it is often true that individuals who do understand the harmful impacts of unjust behavior, processes, and structures often fail to address them. This session centers around an embodied case study depicting one man’s meditation on a personal failure and the choices he made afterward that defined his path as an educator. Through session activities, participants will reflect on what failures of this kind indicate about the educational environments in which they occur and how such reflection might prime them to reshape the spaces in which they have responsibilities.

In this session, participants will:

  • Reflect on their personal failures to act for justice.
  • Consider how their lived relationship to social inequities within and outside of their educational environment shape their willingness and ability to act.
  • Explore the tension between risk and responsibility when disrupting the status quo.
  • Practice identifying opportunities for proactive justice work in their spheres of influence in the academy.

This workshop is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. For faculty and staff, please contact to see if we can accommodate your attendance.

Registration is required at

We want to ensure full and equitable participation in our events. If an accommodation would promote your full participation in this event, please follow the registration link to indicate your accommodation requirements. Please let us know as soon as possible in order to have adequate time (one week preferred) to arrange for your requested accommodation(s) or an effective alternative.


November 18, 2020
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST
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Livestream / Virtual