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Friday, February 23, 2018 04:31 PM

A Letter to Members Post Creating Change 2018

Dear Members:
We hope this email finds you all well and settled into the routine of the semester! The beginning of a new year and new semester can bring with it an opportunity for change and growth. It is in this spirit that we want to share with you where we are as an organization, provide a recap of the Consortium’s time at Creating Change 2018, and inform our members of the work the Executive Board will be taking on as we move through 2018.

Creating Change 2018
Executive Board retreat & work with our consultants
In our early January email, we shared that the board has decided to hire consultants, Dr. Kai Green and Micah Hobbes-Frazier  to help align the organization’s leadership structure to best fit our mission. One phase of this work was an all-board retreat with Kai and Micah at Creating Change 2018. The retreat took place on Tuesday January 23rd and was really transformative. One of the immediate changes that took place from that retreat was the restructuring of our annual Creating Change Business Meeting. It became clear to us that framing the only time that our members and the executive board come together throughout the year around Business felt counter to our mission and values. We quickly changed the name to Community Gathering and worked on creating a space that centered the feedback and experiences of membership, rather than leadership. In that Community Gathering we asked for the following feedback:

  • how do you educate & push yourself in your practice? how can we help?
  • strategies for healing in this work/how do you keep yourself from burning out
  • how do you enact pipeline in your hiring, mentorship, and advocacy?
  • how could you operationalize racial justice in your work if there were no barriers

For those that could not make the Community Gathering and would like to provide us their feedback to these questions, please do so through this form. All of this feedback will be sent to our consultants as we continue the work of becoming a mission-driven organization.

Consortium Elections
As an update to members who were not at Creating Change, we wanted to give more information regarding elections. As a part of the work we are doing with the consultants, they are working with us to restructure the board and help us rethink positions to better align with our mission and vision. To that end we shared with membership at are community gathering that we will be postponing elections until the process with the consultants is completed. We have received initial guidance from the consultants that holding off on the board elections is the right next step as we work together to reimagine board structure. We expect to have a fuller update and report from the consultants toward the end of the semester.

Day-long institute: Recap from Education Committee Chairs, Juliann Hass and Cam Breither
When developing this year’s daylong institute, the Education Committee, to whom we are grateful for their work, actively worked to build an agenda that would provide space for education, connection, and transformation among and between colleagues engaging in LGBTQ work within higher education through intentional conversation. Our goal for the institute was to provide much needed space to discuss current tensions in the field and how they are impacted and shaped by identity and region. Throughout the day we saw both opportunities for further conversation and a need for healing, specifically at the intersections of race and queerness within the field.  The hurt in response to the panel reinforced the urgent need for more depth and intentionality within this community/coalition building work. When we stop seeing each other, even for a moment, the forces that seek to marginalize community members become painfully present.  As we look toward next year we welcome all interested voices to be involved directly, constructively, and tangibly in crafting the vision, mission, and content for the Consortium Daylong Institute at Creating Change 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.

During the Institute comments were made that included remarks that did not align with our mission to center racial justice in our work. As a board and panel members we came together to offer multiple ways for members to reflect as a community, to come together in QTPOC spaces, and to engage with the board regarding the panel. As we move forward in the actualization of our mission, we will continue to address situations like these while offering spaces for education and accountability in addressing how racism and white supremacy show up in our work. Though we might not do it perfectly, we are grateful for our members who can come together in community as we move through this messy but needed process.
If you had the opportunity to attend the Institute at Creating Change, please take a moment to fill out the Creating Change 2018 Daylong Institute Evaluation.
Summer Institute
As we mentioned in an earlier email, we will not be hosting a Summer Institute. We are hoping to use this intentional pause as an opportunity to invest our time and energy as a board to the work with the consultants toward aligning our organizational structure with our mission. This spring and summer the board will take a deep look into our work, both philosophically and operationally. We will regularly update members as we continue this process.

We thank you for your continued patience and trust in the executive board as we attempt to make changes to an organization so many of us care deeply about and believe in. Our goal is to better the organization to best serve the needs of our members, to better serve you all as you do the work to liberate LGBTQ people, in all our intersecting identities, in higher education. There is no better way to capture the sentiments of this work than the video, our Research and Assessment Award recipient, DL Stewart shared with participants at the Creating Change conference. Please watch DL’s video here.

Dr. Adriana di Bartolo, Dr. Van Bailey, and LB Hannahs