The Empathy Gap

Apart from the financial inequities, I fear the expansion of an entirely different gap, caused by the inability to see oneself in a less advantaged person’s shoes.

Crystal Kiekel and Nika Hogan gave a thought provoking presentation at lunch on day one of the 2013 Strengthening Student Success Conference in San Francisco.  They got our minds off our lunch by presenting the  notion that our society is experiencing what Daniel Goleman describes in his recent New York Times post, Rich People Care Just Care Less, as an empathy gap. This was further supported through the use of the RSA Animate’s enhanced presentation of Roman Krznaric’s speech, The Power of Outrospection.

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After watching the video, teams at each table where given the task of answering the following question.

[note note_color=”#95b9cb” text_color=”#4e4646″]What can I do to lead and/or teach from a stance of empathy at my college?[/note]

Listed below are some of the ideas that were posted on the empathy wall.

  • Empathy Wallremember that 20-year-olds are a work-in-progress, Sometimes they’ll act like children, but that doesn’t make them bad people.
  • give students an opportunity to share their story (verbally, written, multimedia and/or other methods of communication.)
    • acknowledge the power of narratives and sharing them.
  • invite appreciation
  • connect with others on campus “by design”
  • invite students to speak and participate in curriculum reform and review.
  • Spend a “day in the life? of a student.  Go through the registration process.
  • Share one’s own failures and successes
  • Find out more about colleagues from other disciplines and despartments
  • Create better communications and dialogue between the Academic Senate and other groups on campus

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