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“Ver llegar “ Stand and watch them come- then dance with the bulls!

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2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD)


Arlington, Virginia

Publication Date

February 25, 2024

Start Date

February 25, 2024

End Date

February 27, 2024

Conference Session

Ver Llegar - Stand and Watch Them Come- Then Dance with the Bulls.

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CoNECD Paper Sessions

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Karan Watson The Abura Group

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Karan L. Watson, Ph.D., P.E., is currently a semi-retired Regents Senior Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Emeritus Provost and Executive Vice President having joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 1983 as an Assistant Professor. She is a partner in the Abura Group.

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Kristi J. Shryock Texas A&M University

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Dr. Kristi J. Shryock is the Frank and Jean Raymond Foundation Inc. Endowed Associate Professor in Multidisciplinary Engineering and Affiliated Faculty in Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She also serves as Director of the Craig and Galen Brown Engineering Honors Program. She received her BS, MS, and PhD from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M. Kristi works to improve the undergraduate engineering experience through evaluating preparation in areas, such as mathematics and physics, evaluating engineering identity and its impact on retention, incorporating non-traditional teaching methods into the classroom, and engaging her students with interactive methods.

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Christine A Stanley

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Christine A. Stanley is regents professor of higher education, holder of the Ruth Harrington Endowed Chair, and vice president and associate provost for diversity emerita in the School of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. She served the university in administrative roles including vice president for diversity, executive associate dean, associate dean of faculties, and assistant department head. Her publications include Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities, and her scholarship has appeared in American Educational Research Journal and Educational Researcher. She is the recipient of departmental, college, university and national awards for faculty and graduate student mentoring, faculty development, and diversity and inclusion including the named, Christine A. Stanley Award for Diversity and Inclusion Research in Educational Development, created by the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education. Dr. Stanley has consulted nationally and internationally in Armenia, Canada, China, Mexico, and South Africa on issues related to faculty development.

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Earnest Hemingway described the phrase ‘ver llegar’ in Death in the Afternoon: “the ability to watch the bull come as he charges with no thought except to calmly see what he is doing and make the moves necessary to the maneuver you have in mind.”

I wish all attendees were empowered to determine how to stand your ground and chose how to adjust your efforts to serve students and faculty in the face of a level of “back lash” not seen for decades and even laws prohibiting your offices and programs. We have survived the backlashes, legal rulings, or changing college and university leadership priorities before. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

In this paper we will present ideas for reframing and renewing approaches to ensure progress and survival of the move toward justice and anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-genderism and more. In other words, the goal is to focus on, using the somewhat deficient analogy of a pipeline, “changing the pipe while we save the water in the pipe,”

In order to do this you must develop your adaptive strategic thinking, and you must understand the psychology behind the resistance, or out right opposition, to your efforts. You have to combine the art and discipline of planning, marketing, and change management. To do this we suggest your strategies focus on the nuances of motives and allies to be honed from different constituents (such as, students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, recruiters, donors) and the intensity and justifications for opposition (such as, cognitive misunderstanding, belief in a thereat to values or principles, emotional ties to an ideology, deeper threats to identity).

Even if you are not under attack, or have a great protector, you have to get various forms of data and other artifacts in appropriate formats. This includes creating appropriate published and on-line information describing your activities, data and publications that support the approaches being used, and your results to date. As important as these artifacts are, they will not suffice. All these artifacts can do is create enough authenticity for some people to listen. To be really prepared you and your allies from various constituencies must predict the challenges to your efforts and create the narratives that will touch how those audiences can be made to feel that your efforts are not only worth it for your participants, but actually make them feel better.

Misalignment of your approaches with the challenges are not just ineffective they can deepen resistance to your efforts. For example, if the challenge is from the administration about funding of your efforts, then providing data that the participants really liked and felt good about the program may not help. On the other hand, relating the feelings of the participants to retention of tuition paying students, or how donors have been motivated to give to the program may be more useful.

Watson, K., & Shryock, K. J., & Stanley, C. A. (2024, February), “Ver llegar “ Stand and watch them come- then dance with the bulls! Paper presented at 2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD), Arlington, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--45426

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