It is a sweltering June day when we drive through the Bears Ears National Monument. The dry desert scrub oak of the western slope gives way to ponderosa, grassland, and aspen groves. Flowers line the curving dirt road and the car thermometer shows a 10 °F dip. We begin our backpacking trip at the top of Woodenshoe Canyon and will end near the bottom of Dark Canyon. Accompanied by five of our student athletes and my sister, my partner and I begin our trek in the deep shade of hundred-year-old aspens and ponderosas. The cicadas sing and, with their transparent wings, alight on our backpacks.
While I aim to be fully present in this precious space, my mind still lingers on a faculty development program that I led the week before. Gathered in a circle, eight female-identifying college educators pondered the question, “When do you feel belonging?” Their answers rarely included “in science” or “in my department.” These scholars are nationally recognized contributors to disciplines ranging from machine learning to the study of the age of distant galaxies, and yet belonging is not something that they associate with science. This had piqued my interest in “belonging” as a metric for inclusion even as we had confidently shared the “Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia.” Principle I reads, “Establish and support a class climate that fosters belonging for all students.”1
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This blog is a compilation of thoughts, essays, class projects, recipes, etc. from SNOW Athletes.
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