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My Journey as a CCESL Engaging Onward Participant

By: Gloria Miller, Morgridge College Of Education

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Having the opportunity to spend time this last year as a CCESL engaging onward scholar had far reaching personal and professional consequences.  Spending time during this “final” year of my very full career at DU connecting with faculty from across campus who are engaged in community-driven work was extremely rewarding and invigorating. The topics generated during our monthly meetings by either the CCESL staff or a co-participant achieved a level of generative sharing that led to important insights about how I can contribute to advance learning at “a great private university dedicated to the public good”. 

I have benefitted greatly from having a monthly time and space to actively listen, inquire, and share current and hoped for ideas for innovation with colleagues from different professional fields than my own and at different career stages. This meeting time became a place removed from distractions that provided opportunities to co-learn without the typical expectation of producing something or deciding on a solution. It is rare that faculty have time to just be with others where the topics and ideas can flow freely, without judgement or a preconceived expectation of a specific “end product”.   

I was originally drawn to DU due to its mission to advance community engaged scholarship.  

However, I quickly learned that faculty are rarely given the needed place and time to actualize a desire to foster cross-pollination of ideas that can lead to collaborative projects locally, nationally, or globally. Unfortunately, such outcomes do not happen by chance but rather by having dedicated time and a safe space for authentic interactions with others who have different professional training and expertise.   

This year’s CCESL COP experience has refueled my desire to focus on such endeavors as an integral aspect of my “rewiring” as an emeritus professor. This opportunity helped me reflect and further hone ideas for interprofessional collaboration and research with students, colleagues, and community members. The issue of interprofessional learning and collaboration has been a critical aspect of my scholarship and passion over my entire academic and educational career and is integral to my personal values and practice as an educator and psychologist. My participation in this CCESL initiative not only allowed me to build connections with faculty and staff across campus that I otherwise would not have had time to get to know, it was instrumental in revamping a course that was offered in the Spring quarter and in the generation of two internal grants that were subsequently funded.  

I have a strong desire to continue to facilitate and support faculty and staff who are interested in the promotion of interprofessional efforts that merge vastly different ideas, values, and passions. This can only occur when people from diverse backgrounds come together to share ideas for collaboration that also overcome perceived ‘conflicts’ of interest. One modality to accomplish this aim is to focus on relationship building and sharing of personal stories that recognize our shared humanity and move us to action. For me, this COP was essential for the incubation of new thinking and initiatives which in my own experience, came to fruition. 

In our last session we discussed how we might create a dramatically and radically different “community of care” to overcome personal attitudes and structural barriers that align with rigid, discipline-specific teaching, learning, and scholarship. I am convinced this will be further achieved by continuing this COP effort and finding new ways to ensure such efforts are viewed as having significant ‘scholarship value’.   

 

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