Celebrating Small Steps in HE, HigherEd

Reflections on celebrating small steps in HE video series

It has been an eventful year for me, both professionally and in my private life. Although I had aimed to complete ten videos, I only managed to release five, while three are still in edits.

The Celebrating small steps in HE video series had been so far a very illuminating project for me. I got to e-meet several people on a one-to-one basis, and pick some projects that sounded good. When I started to do the videos, I realised that I needed to supplement the videos with blogs to add important information I felt were missing from the interviewees, and also to add my own perspectives based on my own experience and my own observations.

What I learned throughout the year was that:

  • It was clear that I needed to borrow the voice of White males to convey messages on antiracism because not only were they popular among White people, but also a lot of non-White people still unconciously hear only the White voices. This was made clearer to me after I became the Chair of the Antiracism & Learning Technology Special Interest Group under the Association for Learning Technologies.
  • A few female staff dropped out for fear of how their line managers and HR would react, but no male had refused to participate. Those women were at different stages in their careers, including one about to retire. But it is a known fact that female staff is more fearful of their line managers, because managers are in fact nastier to women in general, sometimes irrespective if the line manager is male or female. So far in my academic career, I have had three line managers who bullied me, two of whom (a male and a female) caused long-term trauma for which I needed professional help. In my case, while the male line manager was a narcissist, the subsequent line manager (the female) simply further victimised me for raising concerns about my previous male manager. I was not at all surprised that women are more reluctant to talk about discrimination in a video.
  • A few interviewees could not stop glorifying their institutions despite the fact that they were having a hard time at work.
  • A few could not separate teamwork from individual achievement, which is a disaster recipe for self-reflection for career progression.
  • A few said things that they should on video, so incorrect their HR could have sued them.

As I write this reflection, I have decided for 2023 to feature more students on my video series. Staff have a priviledge of visibility (if they wanted it), while students were less likely to have their voice heard. I look forward to some fantastic colloborations that will keep me learning.

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