NSights Blog

You Got This! Empowering the Pack

Humanize setbacks and empower your students by participating in this campaign and sharing your story

Hopefully, your semester is off to a great start, and you are on pace to cover everything in your syllabi.  I also hope that students have located the book and supply lists (and acquired those items).  Finally, I hope that students have made decisions to attend your classes since we know that, in general, those who attend classes perform at a higher level than those who do not attend classes.

Even though we know that this “formula” is not rocket science, the factors that impact student persistence and graduation rates can be a bit more complex than having the course outline, the books, and the location of the classroom. In keeping with the best practices of any excellent scholarly practitioner, I want to offer you a hypothesis and learning outcomes for this mini workshop (presented in the form of this blog post). I am writing today to request your help in implementing an initiative aimed at Empowering the Pack.

You Got This! #EmpoweringThePack logo with a cartoon cloud and explosion behind the words

It has been my experience that students who are surrounded by a supportive environment flourish at a higher rate than those who feel insecure about themselves and their spaces. I need you to digest the data herein and work with me to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1. An increased awareness of the nexus between demonstrations of humanity and student success.
  2. An increased awareness in the ability of humans to influence the sense of belonging of students.
  3. An increased understanding of how you can partner with the Division of Student Services to create brave spaces on campus for learning and engagement.

Your classrooms and offices around campus invite students who possess diversity in their lived experiences, expectations and needs.  Like all of us, students arrive on campus carrying the emotions that are attached to those experiences, expectations and needs. Unlike most of us, students have had less practice balancing those feelings and the rigor of college coursework. They are less likely to have learned to compartmentalize these feelings as they develop the adulting skills required of college students seeking degrees.

Learning to balance and compartmentalize feelings while delving into the methods and theories of their respective disciplines can be overwhelming at times.  While this is not the case for every student, in every class, every day, these challenges impact others at times you may not expect.

Your classrooms are places where you disseminate data and, perhaps, infuse human values into your work.  You empower students every day with knowledge to aid them on the journey to develop academically, socially and personally.

Students often communicate that they need community. In fact, their statements were confirmed in the Campus Climate Survey results. In order to meet the definition of community, we need communication and collaboration. My office is working in connection with University Counseling Services and the Office of Marketing & Communication on a campaign that uses vulnerability to help relate to students and normalize emotions, failure, missteps, pain and challenges as part of the human experience.

I invite you participate with me in the “You Got This! Empowering the Pack” campaign.

  1. Share a story of a time you failed or had a setback. Share it in your classrooms or one-on-one with your students.
  2. Those interested in sharing their story with a larger audience are invited to post about their setback on social media using the hashtag #EmpoweringThePack.
  3. If you are not on social media, you can email communications@unr.edu with your story and a photo of yourself. They are looking for stories like this to share on the University’s Instagram account.

It is my hope that through sharing real stories we humanize the occurrence of unexpected or uncomfortable emotions or events. Moreover, I hope that our students learn that they are not alone. If you have questions about this campaign or would like to get more involved, email me at kimberlythomas@unr.edu.

Thank you for all you do for our students. Go Pack!

Kim Thomas
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