The presentation by Imad focused on the issue of burnout in higher education and called for a shift in culture. Imad invited attendees to explore potential solutions to the epidemic that affects institutions across the country. During the session, a central theme emerged – creating “resilient spaces” where colleagues and students, particularly those from historically underserved and marginalized backgrounds, can develop the skills, resources and support needed to overcome challenges and learn from them.
Imad paused at multiple points during the presentation and asked participants to form small groups at their tables to discuss concepts such as intergenerational trauma and reparative humanism – which emphasizes healing historical harms caused by systemic oppression. After each group discussion, volunteers were called upon to share their takeaways with the entire room. Among the ideas discussed were ways to better help students navigate campus resources, challenge entrenched inequalities in higher education, and examine unspoken “agreements” in higher education that may be harmful.
The event concluded with participants feeling empowered to make their courses more “burnout-proof.” They were encouraged to check in with students about their feelings about the course, willing to make adjustments including reducing content if necessary while still meeting learning objectives. Imad explained that resilience is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s about our ability to bounce back from adversity or trauma. Future sessions will take place in Winter and Spring Quarters, with information on registration for future events posted on the Equity in Mental Health series website as details are finalized.