Writing Ecologies

In our project, we plan to propose that faculty attends an annual, mandatory seminar or workshop. It would be very easy to judge how successful our project will be if we thought our success exists in terms of whether Dean Bryan says “yes” or “no,” but that’s not how we’re judging our success. However, we see it as a success that students are bringing this issue to the face of administration at all. We’ve also succeeded in that many people have heard about the accommodations we’ve learned about and plan on asking for them next semester. Like the article says, “…we need to acknowledge effectiveness as a quality that is retroactivity assigned to the ecology as a whole and not to any particular actor or idea within it” (63). That is, we should not just base success on how much gets done on campus by our project, because there are other ways to measure success.

We tend to base success on what happens as a result of our actions. For example, if one has a goal to raise $200, but only raises $150, the entirety may be seen as a failure even though a lot of money was raised nonetheless. This does not work with many real-life examples, though, as it is not accurate. While one is practicing, they may not be doing things perfectly, but that does not mean they are not being successful. They are still achieving a lot. Like the article reads, success measured in the results is not a great scale, since success and failure are typically seen as a failure or success with no in-betweens or nuances.

I also think it’s very interesting that epidemics are used as a comparison for successful writing. This is so creative. Both require social networking. Neither writings for change nor epidemics can spread without social systems in place. If there is no connections between people, then there is no way for information or diseases to spread. This is really important for our project, and this is why we have spent so much time collecting data from others on campus and discussing mental health issues with others. It’s very important to have other people who are interested in and affected by whatever one is wanting to change. If we didn’t have these connections with other people then there would be no way for our project to change anybody’s ways of thinking.

Also, both writings and epidemics are noted to be affected by weather and timing. They have to be executed at just the right time for them to change anything at all.  This is also very interesting for our project since we are doing this when there is less push for change on campus since the school year is ending. However, we are also reaching out early enough before the next school year so that things can change. Also, we are asking for changes just weeks after one woman on our campus committed suicide, so administration has a very clear example of the mental health problems facing so many students. It will be interesting to see which side has the most push behind it.

In all, this article is a great way to see how success can be measured. It takes off a lot of pressure to perform perfectly. Since I personally have anxiety and OCD, it helps me to continue moving forward if I learn to be okay with not reaching every goal but still making a difference. It’s great that there are so many different ways to be successful and how many factors go into whether or not end goals will be achieved based on things other than just us having a bad idea or presentation. There can be many reasons for this not happening.

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Questions for Teddy

  1. I know you have experience with disability accommodations. What kind of push back should we expect to receive on our project?
  2. Earnhardt states “tactics tend to be more resonant when they cultivate disruption” (45). I fear that if we disrupt things on campus the administration will nullify our points and ignore our requests. How can we be sure that we are being disruptive enough to make change but controlled enough to prevent administration from not listening to us?
  3. Following that, in your opinion is it more effective to inform students about an issue then take it to the administration once it’s clear many people have strong feelings about it, or is it better to take it to administration with little controversy?
  4. What has been your most successful way of making administration see that a change you pointed out would benefit them as well as students?

Stakeholder Investigation

Many people on campus claim to care about mental health. Some may say so because it is their job, but many others are personally impacted by mental illnesses and neurodivergent or care about somebody who is. The two groups to target in this activism are administers/faculty and students. Getting them involved works very differently for each group.

With administrators and faculty, there are many different individuals to get in touch with. We should try to get the support of those in charge of mental health issues on campus, meaning Erin Foglesong, the three counselors, Ashley Hill, Ashley Hinton, and Amber Morgan. All of these people work one-on-one with people who are reaching out for help. They make it clear that people can talk to them about illnesses and struggles they are facing.

Erin works tirelessly to reach out to mentally ill and traumatized students around campus. She has a ton of pull in the school’s mental health community, as she has all the ties. She doesn’t do too much contact with professors, though, which explains why she hasn’t done the part of our project that deals with them one-on-one. She will be a great help to us, and won’t receive backlash for helping us. The only problem is that she is due in a few days and may not be on campus.

The counselors will help, especially if Erin isn’t here. They have the information that Erin has, just not the same hours. They can’t talk to us about individual needs of specific students, but they can help guide us. They also interact with teachers a lot and can probably help us identify teachers students have the most trouble with so we can talk to them. They have a ton of autonomy and don’t really report to anybody.

I don’t know too much about what the two Ashleys do, but I know they work with students to help them with problems they’re having in their personal and academic lives. I know Ashley Hill is very cooperative, and she doesn’t mind to make a fuss when something needs to be done.

Amber Morgan works as the disabilities office’s lone coordinator. She definitely cares about people’s mental illnesses and struggles. Her work is limited to those receiving formal aid through the school, however. She won’t be able to help us much with the ground level activism we have on our agenda, but she can help guide us in a direction that prepares us for talking to administration. She has autonomy, but I’m not sure how much she can actually do because I’m not sure what all is in her area of expertise.

We also need to talk to professors. If the heads of departments are on campus, we should meant with them individually to ask how they make their departments and classes accessible to disabled students. They will have a ton of autonomy and power in how much our project impacts how classes function. We should also meet with the “problem” teachers (aka those who disabled students have the most trouble with) one-on-one to find out what can be done to make them more attentive to disabled students’ needs.

When it comes to students, we should try to make an anonymous survey. Even if a lot of people don’t answer, we can still get an idea about what they think about the issues. They have infinite autonomy when it comes to answering while they’re anonymous. They will be a lot of help in understanding what they think needs to be done.

Pitch Proposal: Alleviating Chronic Ableism

Our campus has some serious problems with general ableism, but those who have chronic conditions that may flare up or affect them daily get the worst end of this. They’re easy to spot as they typically have lower GPAs due to the struggles that come with missing classes and having difficulty finishing projects in the expected timely manner.

A lot of teachers think they need to be strict on these students and not make “too many” accommodations, but this is very detrimental for disabled students and does not prep them for real life at all. Many other professors don’t provide accommodations because they simply don’t understand how many different and easy ways there are to help these students.

We can make change happen in this short span of time. I am proposing that we speak to administration about having an annual faculty seminar on how to make classrooms and this college accessible to disabled students. The faculty should also be provided with a way to hear feedback from disabled students about what does and doesn’t work.

I also think it would be great to make a booklet for professors to keep that states specific accommodations for different disorders and the basic do’s and don’ts of accessible education. It would also be beneficial to provide this information to students, as they may not know there are ways to make their life with their disability easier.

The issue of ableism is prevalent on our campus. We may not have the money to make better elevators and dorms for physically disabled students at the moment, but we can start here with vocality. This is a sure way to be heard and to make the Transy experience accessible to everybody, with and without disabilities.