Essay Presidential Election

11, three days after the election, HERS Institute participants -- women leaders in higher education from across the country -- gathered for our fall session on the Wellesley College campus.

We may expect stronger opposition to many of the ideas and activities we have been working for, but that cannot change our goals.

Right now, we need to stay focused on our work and the people who depend on us.

At HERS, we also work frequently with programs of the American Council on Education, as well as NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and ACPA: College Student Educators International -- both of which focus on student affairs and campus climate.

At first, checking them out may feel like an addition to your to-do list.

Working locally while connecting to larger national efforts.

Taking on the work of institutional change is never easy.We have to be ready to rally against bias on our campuses and in favor of programs that support a diverse population and inclusive environment.Those goals are even more important after this election.I realize that “reconceptualizing programs” may not sound like a rallying cry.But these efforts could be an important way to support the students, faculty members, administrators and community members who have been targeted for harassment since the election.National groups can provide us inspiration, resources and support.They also give us the opportunity to work with others who bring different institutional perspectives to the process of crafting strategies and developing a common language for complicated work.Given the potential denigrations of so many of our values -- diversity, inclusion and intellectual excellence, to name only a few -- how should we think about our work as leaders in higher education in the future? Regardless of the election results, our responsibility as higher education leaders has not changed.We must keep envisioning a world in which higher education is part of creating a fairer and better place for all of us.If you are interested in finding intellectual and practical partners for institutional change, I recommend their annual conference and their network for academic renewal.The work of many other organizations can also expand your horizons and buoy your spirits.


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