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The Role of Caring

I just got back from a conference and the most powerful session I attended was entitled “The Role of Care in Faculty Development.” Based on the work of Nell Nodding, the session focused on how in addition to caring for our students, we have to care for each other as faculty. Not surprisingly, the presenters were counselor types who exuded a calm and caring aura. We sat in a large square, looking at each other and talking. The session focused initially on looking at the role of care in working with other faculty, but our conversation ended up ranging much further–to the care of students, our staff colleagues, and ourselves. During the discussion, someone said, “We need to take time to get together and be human.”

That sentence really hit me. I mulled it over and ended up thinking most about two crucial words in that line: time and together. First off, we need to take time for each other. Of course, we are all busy–there is grading and prepping and going to meetings and talking with students and on and on–but if we don’t take time to stop and just be with others then we don’t have the chance to show our caring or to feel the care of others. Similarly, if we don’t spend time together–meeting in small office groups or as departments, or meeting with others from across campus at Friday Forums or CIE Coffee Clubs then we also can’t feel that caring.

We live in a crazy world right now. Things are tumultuous at a local and national level. Now more than ever, we need to come together and take the time to really listen to each other, to try to understand, to care about those around us.

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