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Professional Development
Nov 12, 2021 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM(America/Chicago)
20211112T1000 20211112T1050 America/Chicago Empathy, Allyship, and Institutional Conversation: A Round Table

In 2021 the work of diversifying personnel and curricula seems more urgent than ever, but for many music departments progress is impeded by shrinking institutional resources, faculty burnout, and conflicting priorities. At many universities the upper administration may seem to be sending the message that arts and humanities departments must diversify, while also withholding new faculty positions. Calls to decolonize the ivory tower or to dismantle the hierarchical structures of academia sometimes clash with more moderate bids to work within and improve existing structures. 

This panel tackles these issues by focusing on the question of how departments can make better decisions by fostering a more inclusive culture, in which participants of all identities and from all positions within the institutional hierarchy and beyond it feel empowered to speak and feel heard. The range of forms and resources that exist to support this work is both encouraging and overwhelming, from online guides on developing community standards and informal discussion groups to campus-based training in implicit bias and anti-racist training offered by outside groups. 

Questions we will address include: 

What does equity look like and how do we close equity gaps within specific institutional contexts? What kinds of anti-racism training or professional facilitation are most helpful for the complex organisms that are music departments? What strategies work to dislodge communication scripts that have become habitual, both in meetings and in written communication? How can white, cisgender, able-bodied, and/or otherwise relatively privileged members of a community become effective allies for those whose positions are more precarious? 

Each speaker will giv ...

AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org

In 2021 the work of diversifying personnel and curricula seems more urgent than ever, but for many music departments progress is impeded by shrinking institutional resources, faculty burnout, and conflicting priorities. At many universities the upper administration may seem to be sending the message that arts and humanities departments must diversify, while also withholding new faculty positions. Calls to decolonize the ivory tower or to dismantle the hierarchical structures of academia sometimes clash with more moderate bids to work within and improve existing structures. 


This panel tackles these issues by focusing on the question of how departments can make better decisions by fostering a more inclusive culture, in which participants of all identities and from all positions within the institutional hierarchy and beyond it feel empowered to speak and feel heard. The range of forms and resources that exist to support this work is both encouraging and overwhelming, from online guides on developing community standards and informal discussion groups to campus-based training in implicit bias and anti-racist training offered by outside groups. 


Questions we will address include: 

  • What does equity look like and how do we close equity gaps within specific institutional contexts? 
  • What kinds of anti-racism training or professional facilitation are most helpful for the complex organisms that are music departments? 
  • What strategies work to dislodge communication scripts that have become habitual, both in meetings and in written communication? 
  • How can white, cisgender, able-bodied, and/or otherwise relatively privileged members of a community become effective allies for those whose positions are more precarious? 


Each speaker will give a short presentation highlighting a single area of emphasis or a strategy that has worked to improve communication, strengthen community, and facilitate change within their own working environments. Panelists Tekla Babyak, Heather Hadlock, Ryan Lambe, and Parkorn Wangpaiboonkit will present a range of perspectives on inclusion and empathic communication, including strategies for integrating independent scholars into departments, for creating less hierarchical relationships among various constituents of an academic community, and using tools from participatory pedagogy and compassionate critique to foster better communication and stronger communities.

University of California, Santa Cruz
Independent Scholar
Mount San Antonio College
Stanford University
University of California, Berkeley
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