Professor Sharon

Professor Sharon header image 2

A novel with a cop out ending

April 2nd, 2009 · No Comments · Important People, Musings

  That’s a bit what I experienced today at a workshop hosted by my college’s Diversity Committee.  Two folks led three sessions; two open and aimed at students, the other for faculty and staff.

It was about 1 and 1/2 hours long.  The subject and topic are vital; and the presenters really really fascinating.  The topic:  How to discuss “hot” topics on campus.   The presenters knowledgeable, well versed and well researched in the topic, very credible in all ways.  They spent part of the time presenting, in particular, a technique (at least I think I would call it that) called “moral conversation.”   It was meaningful in many ways.

So where does the ending go off kilter?  A couple of faculty/staff added to the conversation about the state of working from an authentic self on our campus.  One of the presenters summarized quite succinctly what she might be hearing from us about the state of what might be a hot topic on our campus.  This really impressed me.  She invited us to explain and tell her more about whether what she was hearing was accurate.  Another faculty/staff added more, clarifying.  Here’s where I think the cop out ending begins to develop: the main presenter, who up to this point had been sitting in a relaxed manner crosses his legs, and his arms, and turns his body away from the area of the room where these faculty/staff were sitting and calls on someone from the other side of the room.    He hears her out, and eventually unwinds and returns to facing the end these other folks were sitting on.

I request and am acknowledged to speak again –  I offer authentic information about where I come from.  It’s hard to explain in this space, but up to the point both presenters had offered several pieces of information about themselves such as religion, sexual orientation and such to inform us of their context.   In my adding to what I thought was the beginning of a “hot topic” I gave my context.   Maybe I’ll change my choice of word from cop out at this point – but I’m not sure what to change it to:  I know that at that point, he leaned quite far back in his chair, and slowly reviewed my context and said that I was speaking from my own individual journey.  I really wish I could have written down what he said: I guess regardless of what he said, what I heard was that although the presenters had set up the model of presenting one’s own context in order to begin moral conversations; what I heard was mine didn’t fit somehow in the conversation we were having.  His response to me and his previous turning away from the tiny glimpses at a hot topic negated for me the message up to this point.

Probably more importantly to me, and I would guess unknown to the presenters, they lost my trust at that point.  Here they were with book in hand, role modeling and explaining a way to set the stage for important conversations; and when a couple of my colleagues and I offer the minute glimpse of what might be a valuable moment in the culture of our campus; it suddenly felt shut down.

I have a feeling this doesn’t make sense.  I just know that I felt as though I had brewed myself a great cup of tea, arranged a few pieces of chocolate on a lovely plate, grabbed a great novel and cozied up on the porch on a lovely day.  I read so deeply that I was transported into the story totally immersed; then suddenly the author solves the entire novel’s perplexing life issues by killing the guy off.  Jeesh….

P.S.  I choose not to include who these presenters are because it is not my intent to badmouth them: it is my intent to reflect on what happened.

Tags: ····

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment