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About Us - In The Words of our Members

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Breakthrough Facilitation

How can we help students become breakthrough facilitators? Cathy began her office hour visit with some hesitation, “Dr. Sperios, I didn’t want to sound like I’m grade-grubbing, but I don’t understand my latest discussion facilitation grade. You wrote on the evaluation sheet that I did much better, but my grade was lower than the first time.” “Cathy, do you have your syllabus? Let’s take a look, so I can explain,” responded Sperios. “See the grade section. I made a point that your facilitation grades will be progressive. Notice that the round one facilitation is based on what I refer to as facilitation mechanics. You’ll see those listed as: Note taking Involving everyone Managing the discussion time Managing the flow “You did much better on these aspects of facilitation this time. “Now look at the round two criteria: Framing the discussion questions Elevating the discussion through your discussion interactions Having a discussion strategy that goes beyond the obvious Helping the group achieve breakthrough insights “You’re a gymnast. What kind of score would you get if you were perfect on a low difficulty routine?”

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Why Nonprofits Must Remember the March on Washington

August 28, 1963 was 57 years ago. However, as we watch the news and look out our windows at untold thousands filling the streets, arm-in-arm for racial justice, that date and the famous March on Washington that it commemorates, feels like yesterday, or maybe even tomorrow. It’s easy to look at the black-and-white footage from that day, seeing younger versions of John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr.,Daisy Bates, and mistake it for ancient history. It’s easy to forget what America truly looked like on that day for millions of its citizens. People walking during the March on WashingtonIn 1963, it was still normal to disenfranchise Black people looking to have their voices heard at the ballot box. Through poll taxes, literacy tests and basic intimidation, the voices of Black America were routinely suppressed and undercounted at the local, state and federal level. In 1963, a woman could be denied service at a bar; a lesbian could be fired if her sexuality was revealed; a Sikh man could be turned away at the local store — all within legal bounds. In 1963, Whites-Only spaces were still legal. This is the year Michael Jordan was born. This is the year “Doctor Who” premiered. So what happened in 1963 to cause the nation to reflect upon its nature? There is certainly no one thing that sparked the flame. What we understand as “The Civil Rights Movement” — the series of local demonstrations by thousands of unknown activists to verify the promise of the constitutional amendments passed in the wake of the Civil War, was already decades old in the 1960s. We’d already seen (some) women gain the right to vote and the legal inclusion of Black people as citizens, though not yet equipped with all their unalienable rights.

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How the COVID-19 Response Nearly Tore My Family Apart

In their eagerness to “do something” and appear to be taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, politicians, pundits, and ordinary citizens alike have stubbornly refused to admit to any costs or tradeoffs resulting from the government’s policy response to the virus. As all thinking people know, every policy has a downside, and sensible governing should involve weighing those downsides carefully against any potential or actual benefits. But in the case of lockdowns, we’re expected to believe that if everyone will just do as they’re told, everything will be fine, and that there’s no other option besides that which has been aggressively pursued by mayors and governors across the nation. But these downsides do exist, and they can be extremely serious, as I recently learned through personal experience. Recognizing the limits of anecdotes, I’d nevertheless like to share a story from my own life to illustrate a few of the ways in which sweeping, reflexive lockdowns can negatively impact real people. Starting late last year, my mother began experiencing pain in her right hip. It was mild at first, and went away a few times before coming back, so naturally she was happy to dismiss it as a minor injury such as a pulled muscle or a little bit of arthritis. My mother is in her mid-sixties and has been in good health for most of her life, so no one really expected anything serious. By March, however, the pain intensified to the point where she could no longer walk. Various doctors were consulted, all of whom diagnosed the problem as orthopedic in nature. They took x-rays, which appeared to reveal nothing wrong, but because of the onset of the coronavirus, MRIs and CT scans were unavailable, being deemed “non-essential” for anyone except coronavirus patients.

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