Responding to Critical Events


The campus is not—and shouldn’t be—sealed off from the surrounding world. What that means is that our community feels the effects of critical local, national, and international events as much as anyone else does. Especially in difficult times, faculty sometimes find ourselves in the position where we might want to respond, in our classrooms, to significant news and events. It’s an important decision. If we don’t seize those opportunities, students may assume that we don’t care. They may feel a jarring disconnect between their courses and the real world, between what they’re studying and their lived experience. Even if we’re not sure what to say, simply acknowledging painful events and leaving time to reflect on them can help students understand that they are supported by the community.

Faculty need support, too. Although each professor’s approach may differ depending on personality, discipline, class size, experience, or other factors, you may find some help in the sidebar menu, where we’ve compiled resources on how to broach these potentially difficult conversations and to make them productive and positive learning experiences. As you’ll see, some of these pages are tied to particular events—the 2017 white supremacist march in Charlottesville and the recent tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida—while others are meant to apply across a range of situations. There are also plenty of teaching resources on a variety of pedagogical subjects on our Teaching Commons. Above all, please let us know if we here at CNDLS can help in any further way.