Space and Time for Reflecting on #2021wins
Looking Back at 2021 and Focusing on the Little Things
Assisted by My Year in Review 2021 playlist on Amazon music, Green Day, Panic! At The Disco, and Fall Out Boy are helping me try to focus on little wins against the backdrop of the nightmare of the year.
The end of the calendar year and the beginning of the next is definitely an interesting time. Particularly after the collective trauma of 2021, reflection can be a carefully calculated torture.
While I extol the virtues of regular reflection for my trainees and students, deep reflection can be a challenge. Designing and facilitating true reflection activities are a topic for another day. After the nightmare of 2021, I’m highlighting a bit of the year in review with just a surface-level dive. More deep reflection than that isn’t worth it right now. Or maybe ever.
So here’s my snapshot of a few little #2021wins.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Through 2021, I have been leading my organization’s DEI efforts. Particularly following the waning enthusiasm of 2020 DEI efforts, 2021 DEI work is a very different landscape throughout the country. Particularly considering this nationwide trend, I’m proud to highlight several major accomplishments:
Searching for new colleagues is a well known as a complex process fraught with difficulties and biases. In working to counter these difficulties, I led the development of Pathways to an Equitable Search and the implementation of this in my organization. Looking ahead, I anticipate new developments in this space over the coming months.
Organization wide, the Fundamentals of IDEA Certificate launched this fall for employees. This training program is focused on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA). As the designer of this program and leader of several reflection sessions and workshops, I am enthusiastic about the future of this collaborative DEI program, particularly in its scalability.
The Keys to Success in the Health Sciences Program launched early in 2021. This cohort-based program for Black trainees in the health sciences provides community, mentoring, and learning opportunities for careers and professions across many different areas. As the co-director for this program, I’m delighted that this program has developed from an initial idea with an exceptional group of collaborators in fall 2020 to the implementation of the meetings throughout most of 2021.
2021 has been an interesting year. I decided to spend more time this year dedicated to specific professional development than I had recently. I became a Certified Diversity Professional through an incredible training program from the National Diversity Council. This was probably my most impactful professional development program of the year. I also completed a Certificate in Multicultural Mentoring and became a Certified Conflict Manager.
As the sun sets on 2021, I look back at a couple of awards that I received. Early in the year, I received a Rising Star Award from my organization. I also received an Exemplary Course Designation for a course I designed and taught, the highest course award in the statewide system. This course is “Climate Change, the Environment, and the Future of Public Health.”
With one of my colleagues, I presented “Reimagining Diversity and Inclusion in Public Health and the Health Professions” at the AAC&U Annual Meeting in January 2021. This meeting focused on Higher Education After COVID-19. I also presented at a conference that had been postponed from what should have been an in-person event in London in 2020 to a virtual conference in summer 2021. Though the interruptions didn’t stop there. One of my talks was on the day a tropical storm passed through my area. I presented “Developing Interdisciplinary Teaching Resources for Lexically Ambiguous Threshold Concepts” at TC2020: 8th Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference.” This was a holdover from a project from 2019-2020 from an award from the National Alliance for Broader Impacts: Advancing Research in Society fellowship.
What I’m most excited about for the year is this work - the development and first weeks of The Write Climate. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing!
This year, I also published The Framing of Privilege and Power in Academia: A Review of Jason Brennan’s Good Work If You Can Get It: How to Succeed in Academia book. I also contributed to a publication in Science about imagining a teaching utopia.
Interestingly, I had my first poem published this year! This haiku is in Science.
As we bid adieu to one of the most traumatic years in recent collective human history, I continue to wonder if there is hope for the future. We have been forced to become accustomed to mass deaths, failures of systems, and spiteful representation where the interests of the few outweigh the needs of the many. Perhaps now is the time to wonder if there can be a day where the need to produce and the need to pretend that all is fine will ever be outpaced by thoughtful reflection, collective care, and really any efforts to contain a deadly disease washing over the world. As House of Memories plays in my year in review playlist, I wonder more and more what is to come. Even the playlist is starting to sound pensive. That seems like enough reflection for now.
What were your #2021wins?