The good people at D2L Brightspace are offering a webinar on the use of contemplative pedagogy in an online course. No cost. Details below.
From Mitchell Deleplanque of D2L Brightspace:
According to the Contemplative Pedagogy Network, students can form deeper relationships with their peers, their communities, and the world around them when they are encouraged to connect learning to their own values and sense of meaning.
Don’t miss out! Join us on December 10, 2019, for a webinar featuring Karen Nichols and Bart Everson from Xavier University of Louisiana. Our presenters will share how they are integrating contemplative exercises in their mentor-training program.
Participants will receive a link to exercises, resources, and a bibliography.
Let me be the first to wish you a happy IPD. That's right, it's International Pronouns Day!
It’s become a custom, recently, to let other people know your pronouns by way of introduction. You might see them in an email signature, for example. Sometimes people label them as “gender pronouns” or “preferred pronouns” or simply “pronouns.” Or they might just be sitting there next to the person’s name.
This might seem odd or unnecessary the first time you see it, but in practice it’s actually very helpful. If you’ve ever experienced confusion over what pronoun to use with a new acquaintance, well, it can be embarrassing for all parties involved.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Calling somebody by the wrong pronoun can be downright harmful. It can even be a form of disrespect, harassment and abuse.
For some of us, this has never been an issue. Some of us are more or less unambiguously located in one gender or another — whether we want to be or not — and we rarely give it a second thought. No one ever questions our pronouns, not even ourselves. This has been my personal experience.
But it’s a great big world out there, and a great spectrum of humanity. There are plenty of people for whom gender is more nuanced, or complicated, or subtle. These folks may experience discrimination or persecution in a society that has codified every aspect of life into rigid binary codes.
Hopefully, that is changing, but we all need to do our part to make that change real.
It’s a good thing, then, to let people know your pronouns. It’s a good new norm to establish as we work to build a more just and humane society. It’s in this spirit that I’m opting to add my pronouns to my email signature. It’s a little thing, but in some ways it represents something big: the erosion of certain forms of gender privilege, which run deep.
So: He, him, his. These are my pronouns.
What are yours?
For a good pronoun primer on inclusive teaching, check out this resource from the University of Michigan.
CAT+FD endorses International Pronouns Day, which seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities. We encourage colleges, schools, workplaces, and local organizations to hold educational and empowering events on International Pronouns Day.
Note: This post written by Dr. Elizabeth Manley (Department of History).
Do you need a quiet space to write on campus? Looking to take a writing lunch? Have some planned writing time but keep getting distracted? Come by CAT+FD and take advantage of our new writing room!
Over the summer, we repurposed an old office in CAT+FD as a dedicated faculty writing room. The room, located just off the reception area, is a space solely for scholarly writing and research. It is an email-, social media-, and grading-free zone, where you can get away for an hour (or six!) for some focused research and/or writing time. Sit in an armchair and do some reading, spread out on the big farm table to get some words on the page, or simply contemplate a new (or old) project.
It’s totally up to you! Here’s what one visitor has to say:
The writing room was the perfect place for me to go and shut myself off from the world to get my conference presentation completed. The room is comfortable and the staff was very attentive offering drinks and snacks as I worked. I will definitely use this space again when I just simply need to get
work done without disruptions!!
Celeste R. Parker, SLP.D., CCC-SLP
Director of Clinical Education, Department of Speech Pathology
Further, we are building a library on writing productivity (for online suggestions see the new Writing and Research Productivity resources on our wiki), as well as working to fill the space with plants and nurturing vibes.
We have refreshments, quiet, and (hopefully) writing inspiration. Come by, grab a coffee and a snack, and get down to writing! We look forward to seeing you soon!
I'm joining the Bike Easy Challenge to get more Xavier faculty and staff riding bikes in New Orleans. Riding a bike can make you happier, healthier and wealthier. That's what I call professional development!
Did you know that New Orleans ranks #7 (among cities with over a quarter-million residents) for the percentage of people who bike to work?
And yet we could certainly do better by our bike riders, our transit riders, and our pedestrians. As I've argued elsewhere, safe transport is an issue of social justice and aligned with Xavier's mission.
Plus there are awesome prizes for riding and encouraging others throughout the month of April. Find out more and register at lovetoride.net/bikeeasy
It only takes a minute. It doesn't matter if you ride every day, or if you haven't been on a bike in years. Everyone is invited!
Be sure to join the Xavier team. Last year I think I was the lone participant, but this year we've got nine people and counting. We've been duking it out with UNO for second rank in the education sector, but Tulane is looking tough to beat.
Holler at me if you need any technical assistance or have any questions.
PS: April 10th is National Bike to Work Day, and the forecast is lovely.
Are you encrypting your texts? You should be — now more than ever.
Before the 2016 election, writing for TechCrunch, Steven Renderos and Mark Tseng Putterman observed that "for activists and people of color, strong encryption is essential."
Here in New Orleans, in the interim between the election and the inauguration, local firebrand Jules Bentley published a treatise on strategies for strengthening the resistance. In passing, he mentioned "using Signal for texting" as an easy starting place, even for people who don't think they're in a targeted group.
Bentley wasn't alone in recommending Signal for sending encrypted texts at that time. Trump's ascendancy led to a surge of downloads for the Signal app, leading Recode magazine to opine that "encrypted messaging is the new regular messaging."
I feel compelled to write to you, as you have written to me, in your letter, "Dear White America." We read your letter and your book, Backlash, in a book club here at the university where I work in New Orleans. I found your letter moving, and I want to thank you for your gift. I want to thank you for crystallizing issues with which I've been wrestling over the past months and years, complex issues of race and racism in America, of whiteness and white supremacy. Your book, and particularly your letter, distill some of these issues to their essence in a pointed and poignant manner. For this, I am grateful. ...continue reading "Dear Professor Yancy"
Every time you visit a website, information is flowing between your device and a server out there somewhere. In the early days of the internet, most all that information was transmitted "in the clear," also known as "cleartext," meaning unencrypted. Cleartext, if intercepted, can be easily read. That means a third party could monitor the content you're accessing. That's kind of like someone knowing what books you've checked out of the library, and even what chapters you've specifically looked at. Creepy! Ain't nobody's business but your own. If that doesn't concern you, consider what happens when the data transmitted includes sensitive information like usernames and passwords.
That's why, in recent years, we've seen more and more sites serving content over a secure connection. The mechanics of these transactions are quite fascinating, but the important point is that the information flowing between you and the server is encrypted. If it's intercepted, it's going to be difficult for that mysterious third party to figure out exactly what content was being transmitted. In short, encrypted sites are much more secure.
Encryption is so easy and so valuable, in fact, that it's becoming the rule rather than the exception. Google (the most popular search engine) gives preference in its search results to sites that serve their content securely. Chrome (the most popular web browser) flags insecure sites. The web is in transition. Truly pervasive encryption is not here yet, but it looks like the way of the future.
CAT+FD got with the program last year. With some help from our friends in ITC, we started encrypting all content from cat.xula.edu. You probably never noticed, but that makes our site a little more secure than it was.
In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, I'm launching a series of posts on the subject of encryption in service of social justice.
I've long been fascinated with encryption. As a kid, I thought codes were cool. As an adult, I see the value encryption offers for keeping my personal data secure.
But what, if anything, does encryption have to do with social justice?
I got my first inkling in 2016, just after the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land. Under the prior administration, the apparatus of the surveillance state was developed to levels previously unimaginable. Obama handed that system to Trump.
Of course, if you're not concerned about our own government spying on us, perhaps you're concerned about foreign powers. There's no denying that international cyberwarfare is real. There are also hackers and straight-up cyber criminals. Not to mention those big corporations.
Whoever's doing the snooping, the harm is felt disproportionately by marginalized communities — as is typically the case when power relations are manifestly unequal.
Rights must be understood and exercised in order to afford us any protection. That holds as true for privacy rights in the digital realm as it did in the analog era of the civil rights movement.
Furthermore, scholars have a special interest in freedom of inquiry, germane to all those working in the field of education. Educating on these issues is aligned with Xavier's mission, and it's vitally important that our faculty and staff understand what's at stake.
Encryption and anonymity, today's leading vehicles for online security, provide individuals with a means to protect their privacy, empowering them to browse, read, develop and share opinions and information without interference and enabling journalists, civil society organizations, members of ethnic or religious groups, those persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, activists, scholars, artists and others to exercise the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
Encryption is simply the practice of putting your data into a secret code so other people can't read it. It's an important tool for maintaining privacy and security online. Before the 2016 election, writing for TechCrunch, Steven Renderos and Mark Tseng Putterman observed that "for activists and people of color, strong encryption is essential."
In the days and weeks ahead, I'll be publishing a series of simple tips to help you get started using encryption more frequently. I'm far from expert myself, so I'll be learning as I go. If you have any questions or suggestions, don't hesitate to let me know.