Academic Partnership: A Balance between Risk and Reward.

Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” was the center of our course, INTD-105, which focused on the risks and rewards of an academic partnership. While the novel may not have an obvious, direct link to the risks and rewards of an academic partnership, after deeper analysis it becomes clear that the sci-fi is much more than the struggle for survival between two alien races. Despite the novel’s obvious themes, beneath an imaginative alien world we see Butler musing on the ideas of partnership, control, and outcome. In order to understand this link, one should look directly at the course’s epigraph: If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” (Bloodchild, Butler)
In Bloodchild, two races, The Tlics and The Terrans, are forced into partnership on the basis of survival. The Terrans, or humans, are forced to partner with the Tlics, centipede-like creatures who are unable to produce their own offspring, with the promise of protection through the preserve. The preserve, created by a political faction of Tlic who wish to treat the Terrans better, allows for humans to live in harmony so long as they agree to partnership with the Tlics and, thus, reproduction. There is, of course, many themes that can be applied to reality in this short summary—reproductive rights, race inequality, monogamous marriage, so forth—but, for the sake of this course, we can utilize Butler’s fictional story as a framework for understanding the reality of academic partnerships.
At SUNY Geneseo and all colleges alike, there is a consistent expectation that, upon enrollment in the university, each student will agree to engage in academic partnership for the following years. Academic partnership, in this sense, is an agreement made upon hopes of getting a degree and, thus, entering the ‘adult’ world. This partnership spans a multitude of relationships—from that of the administration to the student, from the student to the professor, from the student to their peers. At the entrance of higher education, these rules of academic partnership are no longer encouraged (as seen in many lower, mainly high school institutes) but rather expected. Students are expected to follow the guidelines of partnership with professors, administration, and peers both within and outside of the classroom. Similar to the partnership expected in Butler’s “Bloodchild”, students are expected to engage in a lifestyle which respects the risk and rewards of this academic partnership and, thus, reflects power dynamics which maximize these rewards and minimize these risks.
The most obvious academic partnership occurs right at acceptance to a university; that of the student and the administration. The student agrees to enrollment and, thus, agrees to a set of rules and expectations: that the student will pay the school for its housing, enrichment, food, and protection, that the student will respect the guidelines put in place in order for the administration to provide these standards (student code of conduct) and that the administration, in return, will provide the student will the security and education they expect. As the student transitions from the structure of lower education (high school and so forth) to the expectation of higher education (undergraduate and beyond) the importance and presence of the academic partnership becomes undeniable. One can notice that, where a student in lower education may feel as if the academic partnership is one-sided, or that the individual is ‘forced to attend’, once the student reaches higher education, this partnership is professional and with expected equal power. This form of academic partnership is perhaps most clearly associated with the dynamic between the Tlic and the Terran in Butler’s “Bloodchild” as, in return for money and attendance, the students expect prosperity and security from the administration.
However, academic partnerships go much further than simply between the administration and student. In a conversation that is perhaps even more direct, we see an academic partnership built between the student and the professor. It would be fair to assume that the partnership between the professor and student aligns rather well with the expectations of the student and administration—however, the relationship between the professor and student comes with even more risk and reward. The professor, assumed working under the administration, is expected to provide education and guidance to the student and, thus, complete the students expectations of earning a degree and growing intellectually. This responsibility held by the professor reflects the main goal of the student in entering a higher institution—while the administration still is in place to ensure this happens, they ‘watch over’ the professors who are expected to provide this, rather than directly give it to the student. In a sense, this makes the academic partnership between the student and the professor the most important and, thus, the partnership with both the most risk and reward. Not only does the professor hold risk and reward (the risk of losing one’s job, the reward of stability and financial compensation) the student possesses equal risk and reward (the risk of failing a course, the reward of working towards a degree). When working with the professor, the student is expected to respect said professor and follow their guidelines—however, even more so directly than seen with administration, the professor is expected to do the same.
Finally, it is important to look at an even more direct yet overlooked academic partnership; that of the relationship between the student and their peers. Though both hold equal power in the structure of higher education, both are met with equal risk and rewards when working with one another. Within the classroom, both students are expected to respect and aid one another in discussion, revision, and collaboration. Within the student code of conduct, we can find rules directly relating to this partnership and, thus, the guidelines put in place in order to ensure maximum reward and minimum risk. Yet, the expectations do not end here; in addition to classroom etiquette, the student and student partnership requires additional regulation for outside of the classroom. This relationship, thus, is unique in its importance: not only must students follow a student code of conduct within the classroom, but, mostly, students are expected to respect one another outside of the classroom. Of course, there are guidelines for professors and administration alike outside of the classroom, but the importance of partnership outside of the classroom is most heavily acknowledged as the relationship between the student and peer. The rules and regulations set outside of the classroom help ensure that, in addition to receiving a degree and education, the student is safe and secure on their campus.
These academic partnerships, differing in their power dynamics and presence, both share risks and rewards which must be balanced through higher institutional learning. In “Bloodchild”, Butler describes countless expectations and guidelines which are put in place in order to ensure a healthy dynamic between the Tlic and the Terran. In exchange for security and safety, the Terran are expected to partner with the Tlic in reproduction—by creating this partnership, the Tlic are rewarded with security in reproduction and, thus, security in their species. This relationship, though very different in expectation, reflects that of the academic partnership almost directly. At SUNY Geneseo, the students are granted security, safety, and a degree in return for money, respect, and partnership which protects the existence of higher institutions and the job security of those working within higher education.
Looking specifically at the course INTD-105, the risks and rewards of academic partnership, one can see this academic partnership working almost effortlessly. Beth McCoy, our professor, is expected to provide academic support and enrichment throughout the semester to her students. In return, her students are expected to engage with the course, respect her as a professor, and, thus, ensure the life of her job and lifestyle as a professor. This partnership, thus, reflects that of the risks and rewards seen in Butler’s “Bloodchild” and, thus, all partnerships seen in the “adult” world. Professor Beth McCoy is expected to provide for the students and the students are, thus, expected to provide for Beth McCoy. Students hold the reward of passing the class and, thus, working towards a degree; Professor Beth McCoy holds the reward of financial stability and academic pursuit and the risks of losing her lifestyle or job as a professor. In addition to this, the students within this course hold a responsibility to respect and aid one another in academic pursuit—both within, and outside the classroom. Though microscopic in terms of all higher institutes, this course serves as a strong example of the risks and rewards within academic partnerships and, thus, the risk and rewards seen in all partnerships.
Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” reminds us of the importance and severity of these partnerships seen throughout society. Whether an academic partnership, romantic partnership, familial partnership, professional partnership, and so forth, the risks and rewards in such relationships must be balanced in order to ensure equality and maximum reward. Turning outward, into the larger systems within our own government, we see these partnerships attempt to maximize reward and minimize risk every single day. Balancing these risks and rewards within partnerships remains the largest struggle throughout the world to date and, despite the importance and presence of partnerships throughout, remains a system in which balance has yet to be achieved.

The Four Essential Building Blocks of Partnership

The major theme of this course was based on risks and rewards, and a quote from one of the readings that really represents what this course is all about. “”If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This quote originates from the story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. The context behind this quote is that the two different creatures, T’Gatoi and Gan, live in harmony with each one benefitting the other. At any moment, anything could happen and something bad could happen between the two or to one of them, and by accepting the rewards of a partnership like this they must also accept the risk.

This quote definitely has influenced many of the discussions in the course, because it is so common to see partnerships, no matter how subtle they are. For example, partnership can even be something like a student code of conduct. In a way, you are partnering with the administration. Another way that partnership works in the case of Geneseo, you pay tuition and get housing and the school offers you services and education in return. The thing about the rules/codes/laws is that they’re always changing to accommodate any changes. One important thing about one being having control over another is that the people under control should have a voice to say when a rule needs to be changed. This is part of the partnership, acknowledging when your other partner is wrong or, is vital to keeping it healthy and working. 

When going through this course, a loose instruction/guidance was more of the style. We would post something on a forum and it would be interpreted by the other students or Beth. The students are trusted to be honest with one another and truthful to themselves about how much they have really grown from taking this course. One thing that I really liked in this course that I just realized was that the different discussions are grouped together in 4 groups. The first part was “Foundations in Good Faith”. A lot of this part was to try and get us to understand ourselves as writers and readers, and had us read the short story “Bloodchild” in which the course epigraph comes from. I think this first part and the goal setting essay was vital to the rest of the parts to follow. The second part was labeled “Implicit BIas” and this one led us to explore what bias we had set in our brains, and how we could overcome these to become neutral. We kept this concept in mind while looking back at “Bloodchild”. The third part was labeled “Rules for Partnership”, and this was one of the most important parts just because of the name of the course and the course epigraph. There are certain rules, risks, and rewards (the three R’s if you will) that come with the concept of partnership. Lastly, we ended with Harm, Repair, Care. These are the four sections that I will have separated my argument into, by explaining how each one contributes to the throughline which is just how partnerships can generate both risks and rewards.

One of the most important pieces of a partnership is the foundations on which it was built upon. The two main characters in the story “Bloodchild” were Gan, a Terran, and T’Gatoi a Tlic. In this realm, the Tlic basically have control over the Terran and use them as breeding machines in which they implant their into. T’Gatoi has been with Gan’s family for as long as he can remember, and it was his house that “she considered her second home”. Gan’s family meant a lot to T’Gatoi, but not just because she had known them for so long, but because her next offspring were to be born from one of the children, either Gan, his sister or his very reluctant brother. To keep the Terran healthy, they were fed sterile eggs which increased their life span, so they could keep producing offspring. Many Tlic saw Terran as just things, but T’Gatoi really appreciated this group of Terran, especially Gan and his mother. But, despite this deep connection she still had to create offspring with basically an older child (which is the normal age but I still find a bit weird), since it was vital to her kind’s survival. Such a deep foundation formed between T’Gatoi and Gan made the mating a little more difficult because there were so many emotions involved.

When a partnership forms, there will never be 100% satisfaction with a counterpart. It’s very unlikely that there are no differences or disagreements between the two. Some of these may stem from biases that they had against each other before knowing the other one well. Towards the end of the story when Gan is about to get T’Gatoi’s egg inserted into him, there is some hesitation in him. This hesitation comes from seeing her having to take a Tlic’s eggs out of a Terran in his own home. Gan experienced many traumas during this period of events. He saw how bad the other Terran, Lomas, was hurting, he had to kill an animal, and then watched most of the process of T’Gatoi cutting Lomas open to retrieve the nearly ready egg. As he was watching her do this, he was most focused on Lomas because if he chose to be the recipient of T’Gatoi’s eggs this would have to happen to him as well. Gan watched as “his body convulsed with the first cut” and watched the whole process as this happened several more times. He then got queasy and threw up outside. So, if something like this happened to me while going through the decision making process of whether or not to have it implanted, it would definitely be one of the deciding factors. For Gan, it proved to be an internal battle, but he eventually decided that he would cast away any doubt he had about it because he knew that T’Gatoi would take care of him as she always had before. 

One of the most important things that impacted this story was the nature of the partnerships between the Terran and Tlic. The rules of the partnership were basically that the Tlic held the power over the other party. T’Gatoi was actually the “government official in charge of the Preserve”, so she had quite a high status. This didn’t change anything between her and her second family though, since she had been a part of it for so long. In return for protecting and providing for the Terran, the Tlic got to use them for receptacles of their eggs. Partnerships come with risks as well, and for the Terran one of them was death from the removal process of these eggs. It was a risk they were willing to take to ensure their protection in the Tlic society, in the Preserve. There are also rewards, as Gan and his family enjoy the sterilized eggs which inhibit a longer, healthier life. The risks for the Tlic were that at any moment the Terran could rebel against their control. This could either end up with no more Terran or just unfaithful Terran that won’t comply. A whole different society. For this reason, “firearms were illegal in the Preserve”. The rewards of this partnership to the Tlic is that they can make a good life for their offspring and they have a good way to birth them.

Lastly, the Harm, Repair, Care part can be shown in T’Gatoi’s relationship with Gan. He was scared of the harm that he could endure by birthing an offspring of a Tlic. Eventually, this was repaired as she said to Gan that she would “take care of [him]” as he went through this whole process. Of course she should, but I’m sure there are some Tlic that don’t care as much about their Terran as T’Gatoi does Gan. She would ensure that he was safe because she cared for him greatly and wanted him to be a part of her life. He felt the same way about her and really put trust in her. Sure, his trust had wavered for a short time, but he found it in his heart that she really would do her best.

Final Essay

Throughout life we all have to weigh the risks and rewards of our choices and actions. It can be difficult to make these choices, but as we go through life, we learn the correct tools to help us make the best decision for ourselves. These decisions can be as small as what to eat for dinner or as large as what to do with one’s life. It is impossible to live your life alone, and one must learn to work with others to thrive. This can be at home or in the workplace, or in terms of this course, in an academic setting. In the story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler, the main character, Gan, must weigh the risks and rewards of heavy decisions that will affect not only him, but his family and loved ones. In the society Gan lives in, the superior species, the Tilc, implant eggs into the humans called the Terran. Gan is a human and is aware of the responsibility that could possibly be placed upon him. T’Gatoi is a Tilc that is close to Gan’s family, and she has to choose a human to host the eggs of her future children. Gan is aware that he is most likely going to hold that responsibility, and seems prepared to be a host, but Gan witnesses the torture of being a host, and rethinks his decisions. Gan feels conflicted because he knows that if he denies T’Gatoi, his sister will be forced to take on the responsibility. He feels protective over her and does not want to put that sort of pressure and pain on his sister, so he decides to host T’Gatoi’s eggs. Terran like Gan are not allowed to own guns, but T’Gatoi catches Gan with his family gun, and reaches to take it away, but Gan tells T’Gatoi “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26). T’Gatoi claimed Gan and she were partners, and to prove it to him, she had to let his family keep the gun. Gan weighed the risks and rewards of hosting T’Gatoi’s eggs, and T’Gatoi weighed the risks and rewards of letting Gan’s family keep the gun. They mutually agree that T’Gatoi will not take away the gun and Gan will become the host.

The idea of partnership and the risks and rewards that come into play with partners is shown clearly in “Bloodchild”. Gan and T’Gatoi weigh the risks and rewards and form a partnership. This theme has also come into play throughout this course the entire semester. We have discussed working with a partner, and how risks come with that partnership. The students in this class have engaged in weekly forums with each other. We are required to reply to the responses of our peers. There are minor risks in collaborating with our peers, such as being judged or made fun of. The rewards of collaborating with our peers include further understanding of the course material. By reading the responses of our peers, we learn new ideas and can gain a deeper understanding of the topics we are discussing. Having many different students submit their thoughts and understanding can help widen and deepen other students’ understanding. For me personally, when I have read the other responses of my classmates in the forums, I have thought about the prompt in a way I would not have if I was not able to see their responses. Having students collaborate with one another is vital to the learning of the students and teaches them to be good listeners and opens their understanding of the material. We can all learn something from one another, and I would have liked to collaborate with my peers in other classes as much as I have in this class. 

Throughout the multiple discussion forums, we have participated in in this course, we have analyzed rules and regulations that students and faculty have to follow here at SUNY Geneseo. We have read through the Student Code of Conduct, the Oath/Affirmation of State Employees and Public Officers, the College Policies, Research Compliance and Policies, and the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Participants. After analyzing these documents and websites with rules, we learned about the rules the students and the faculty must follow. It is vital to the stability of the campus to have rules for both the faculty and students. We work together to help the campus thrive, and to strive for academic achievement. The rules are in place for our own safety and success here at SUNY Geneseo. For example, we have new rules in place because of COVID-19 such as required face masks, social distancing, and being prohibited to enter other resident halls. These rules may ruin some of the experiences that make college so memorable, but it is vital for the safety of the students and faculty to follow these mandated rules. In our zoom call with Joe Cope, we learned even more about the process of SUNY Geneseo reopening during a global pandemic, and how the former rules were changed because of the uncertain circumstances we are experiencing this semester. The faculty that decided to host classes in person this semester risked their own health to give students as normal as a learning experience as they possibly could. It is important to socialize as much as we can while still being safe during such scary times. The faculty who taught in person were rewarded by having socialization in a time of isolation. These members of faculty weighed the risks and rewards, and decided they wanted to teach in person. 

Throughout the semester, we have learned and thought deeply about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. There are many examples of this in the readings and in the discussions. We first learned about the risks and rewards of academic partnership by reading “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. We saw the thought process of the main characters, Gan and T’Gatoi, and what helped them make their decisions. Gan showed this by telling T’Gatoi “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26). Both of these characters gained something and lost something by coming to the mutual agreement they did. This epigraph definitely formed a throughline for what we learned and discussed in this course throughout the semester. By working together, we gain deeper understanding of the material, and we learn to possibly think in different ways than we might have if we did not work together. By participating in the weekly discussion forms, the students collaborated with one another to understand the prompt given and the materials we had to analyze. By reading the rules for students and faculty, we learned about the restraints we have that help us keep everyone safe. There are things each of us have to sacrifice in order to protect one another during a global pandemic. We have to work together to help one another thrive and stay healthy and safe during such unfamiliar times. It is more important now than ever to learn about how to work together successfully, and by taking this course we as students have learned how to achieve that goal.

The risks and rewards in INTD105

Throughout this semester, in the class The Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnerships we returned to the main themes of our course epigraph. This epigraph is from the short story “Bloodchild”, written by Octavia E. Butler, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is a risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” I believe that is a great quote to outline what INTD 105 is all about.

Dr. Beth McCoy, separated this class into different modules, showing the different aspects of the class: Foundations in Good Faith, Implicit Bias, Rules for Partnership, and Harm, Repair, Care. Originally I did not notice that the class had these different modules, I did not really understand the point of a few of the lessons we had. For example, the discussion of rules for students, I was confused about why I needed to read the code of conduct originally, not understanding what this had to with the class. I realized that day that the whole class had these modules and this discussion was the first in the Rules for Partnership module. It made sense to me all of a sudden, The SUNY Geneseo code of conduct IS the rules for academic partnership. This discussion was there to show us the rules that we need to abide by when we are here taking classes at SUNY Geneseo. When we are taking a class where we discuss the risks and rewards of academic partnership, reading and learning the rules is a great way to discover more of the risks we have as a student. Having the different modules to show us the meaning of everything we learn is very helpful. These modules are the best way to prove that this class is really teaching us everything we need to know in regards to the syllabus and in reference to the epigraph.

The epigraph was another concept that I did not necessarily understand at first. While reading the syllabus originally and before  reading “Bloodchild”,  I did not understand what the quote meant. I thought to myself “what does Gatoi mean?”,and  “what does ‘if we’re not your animals’ mean?” I kept these questions in my mind while reading the short story, I knew that eventually I would understand the concept. 

Slowly, my questions started to become answered. I realized that Gatoi is a shortened version of the name of one of the main characters and that the concept of animals is to do with the different species in this book, the differences between the humans versus the tilc, meaning the alien race. When I got to the quote in “Bloodchild” that is the course epigraph, I was really excited, this was the quote, finally. I will now understand what is so important about this quote, a quote that Dr. McCoy believed was important enough to be a reflection of this course as a whole. Immediately, I underlined it and wrote on a sticky note the things that I found so important about it.

My initial thought was that the quote has the name of the class in it. It specifically says “There is a risk Gatoi, in dealing with a partner”, that is really the whole point of a class that is called The Risks and Rewards of Academic partnership, highlighting the risks side of things. This quote emphasises the point that there will be risks in having a partner and we have to decide whether to take the risk or not. I also like the part that says “if these are adult things”, to me this shows that as we grow up, and become adults, we need to take these risks and do the things that may seem risky at first, but also have a pay off. 

This course epigraph did an amazing job at outlining the content that is provided in this class. Each module represents a new message that Dr. McCoy is trying to convey to us, the students, about the epigraph and about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. The first module, foundations in good faith, was there for us to learn about others intentions. When working with a partner, knowing their intentions is a very important thing. Both parties need to mutually have good faith and good intentions. The good faith is what makes the risks seem less scary. You both need to trust each other and listen to each other. This is shown in the story “Bloodchild”. Both T’Gatoi and Gan have to trust that the other has good faith. Gan has to trust that he is not in danger when carrying T’Gatoi’s eggs and T’Gatoi has to trust that Gan will not shoot her with the gun that he is not allowed to have in the first place. The next module is Implicit Bias, which means different stereotypes that affect the way we see other people and is mostly subconscious. I believe that we had this module because we need to understand our implicit biases and try our best to fight them when we notice them, or actively try to get rid of them. This is important in the risk of dealing with a partner because both parties may have an implicit bias about the other and it may affect how they work together. When you learn about your implicit biases, it can help you recognize your own and maybe eliminate them all together, getting rid of that risk. The next module that Dr. McCoy added is Rules for Partnership. This module helped us recognize the rules that us, as students, have when attending SUNY Geneseo. Adding to the list of risks that we face when dealing with a partner, rules are a big one. Both parties have to have rules in order for the rewards to have the greatest impact. Rules are ways to set limitations and boundaries so you can have a greater trust in each other and relly insure that both parties have good faith. In many situations, rules are important for structure and security. The last module is Harm, Repair, Care. This module focused mainly on the Novel From Here to Equality, Written by William A. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen. This novel shows the difficulties that Black Americans have faced from salvery to the present. This novel does an amazing job showing the harm that these people have had to go through for thousands of years and what we need to do to repair all of that harm. I found this to show the partnership between people of color and white people in america, and what the abuse of power caused. This showed me that with harm comes much repair and care to fix what has been done, and in the case of black americans, we still need more repair everyday. 

The course epigraph was a perfect quote to go along with this class. Dr. McCoy used all of the modules to ensure that her students understood the meaning of this class and of the risks and rewards of academic partnership, and any other partnership. 

The Risks and Rewards on a College Campus

The short story Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler has been a text we return to throughout this semester in the course INTD 105 . In Bloodchild,Octavia Butler wrote, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This is the INTD 105 course epigraph.  This quote is the perfect epigraph for the course because risks and rewards has been the subject of our course discussions all semester. Being a part of a college community and taking courses has academic risks and rewards. This quote can be connected to many of the discussions we’ve had as a class. 

The story Bloodchild, where the epigraph is from, tells the tale of two completely different species that are dependent on each other for survival on an alien planet. Tlics are centipede-like creatures and Terrans are humans. Gan and T’Gatoi , human and Tlic respectively are partnered. They have familiarity and trust between them, Gan has known T’Gatoi his whole life. The preserve is the place they live on this alien planet, in a society where both species are reliant on the other. The Preserve was made by a political faction that T’Gatoi is a part of. Some Tlics did not want to treat the humans well, and saw humans more as surrogates. At the preserve Terrans are safe. Gan grew up knowing he was expected to carry T’Gatoi eggs, in return his whole family can safely live at the preserve. He was okay with this until he witnessed a Human give birth. Gan was so traumatized from the birth he no longer knew if he wanted to be a host for T’Gatoi. T’Gatoi had spent a long time working to ensure humans are treated well, knowing one day a human would carry her children. The quote that is the epigraph comes in when Gan decides he wants a gun. He feels if he is expected to take the risk and trust T’Gatoi , he should be able to have a Gun. Both characters have limited options in this situation, and have to take the risk for the reward of survival. 

The risks and rewards the Gan and T’Gatoi face relate to our college community, and the limited choices we have within it. The community includes students, professors and administrators, all working together to make choices and hopefully be successful together. The similarities between the dire situation in bloodchild and the everyday decisions made on our campus, has been the center of many conversations in our class. There are many different partnerships at play both in the story Bloodchild and in our class. I have been reliant on both Professor McCoy, and other students for feedback. These are both partnerships with risks and rewards. In the course syllabus, Professor McCoy said students will be sharing their work and providing feedback to each other. This was a risk for some students, like myself. The risk that comes with sharing work is trusting my peers have good intentions and that we are all here to become better.  I never have felt I was a good writer, so sharing work with the whole class can be scary.  Professor McCoy said in the syllabus “Remember that growth will be difficult if not impossible if work is not presented consistently for feedback;” Despite how risky sharing work can feel, the reward of growth and stronger writing abilities was worth the risk. The more feedback I have received , the more beneficial it has been to my writing skills. 

Another partnership in a college community where there is risk in dealing with a partner is between administrators and students. Because of INTD 105 I have a new found appreciation for the administrators at Geneseo. I have to trust that they are acting in good faith and making decisions best for their students.  We did a reading of the Geneseo student handbook. The administrators make the rules in effort to keep students safe and successful,and students follow the rules to keep campus running smoothly. As a student I rely on the administrators to make sure the rules are fair and just. That’s why I found the”Article XI – Interpretation and Revision” section of the student hand book interesting. It says that the Dean of Students will review The Student Code of Conduct every two years. I think that is important because new problems can arise and there could always be improvements made. This is one of the things I like about Suny Geneseo administrators. 

Because of our discussion with the suny administrator Joe Cope,I was able to learn a lot about what Joe, and all Administrators at Geneseo do.  Joe explained that like Gan and T’Gatoi, the school had very limited options when it came to COVID . He said the administrators had to balance the reward of monetary gain and the risk of student safety. Not wanting students on campus because of the pandemic, but needing students on campus to take in money to be able to afford all the new changes COVID has brought. He explained that some schools decided to take as many students on campus as possible, despite the risks. He explained Geneseo still offers so many asynchronous classes and online classes despite losing money from students not on campus. The students have to trust administrators have their best intentions in mind for the student administrator partnership to work, and the conversation left be feeling trusting in our administration. Much like Gan must be trusting in T’Gatoi , T’Gatoi in Gan.

The different partnerships on college campuses each have their own risks and rewards. The course epigraph is perfect because it connects to almost every conversation we have had as a class. As with the decisions making that Gan and T’Gatoi must face in Bloodchild, students, professors and administrators must make choices when part of a college community. 

The Reward of Risk

In the recent class discussions focusing on good faith, bad faith, harm and repair, the short story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler reminds readers to connect it all back to the throughline of the INTD 105-04 course: the risk and rewards of (academic) partnership. The short story takes place within the Preserve where Tlics, the native species of the planet co-exist peacefully with Terrans, humans that have escaped Earth and sought refuge on Tlic land. Under the Preserve system, a sense of trust was fostered through a mutually beneficial relationship between the two species: in exchange for protection from the Tlics that mean to dehumanize them, select Terrans in the Preserve will voluntarily carry fertile Tlic eggs. However, as unwavering as this trust seems, it was actually quite fragile. The abrupt introduction of risk and transparency had easily shattered the harmonious and seemingly risk-free relationship between two main characters, Gan, a Terran boy, and T’Gatoi, Gan’s would-be Tlic mate. The untimely reveal of the risks in dealing with a partner had done a lot of harm to the trust between Gan and T’Gatoi, but it was better late than never. Both Gan and T’Gatoi, now with complete clarity of the situation and circumstances they are in, demonstrate remarkable effort and good faith in trying to repair the damage in their relationship. It begins with Gan who says “[i]f we [Terrans] are not your [the Tlics’] animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26). This line resonates with the idea that there needs to be risk in a relationship for there to be real trust. 

The consequence of the risk-free trust between Gan and T’Gatoi was the sheer fragility of it. Gan, who had been ignorant to how his life may be at risk when he becomes an N’Tlic, had no qualms about hosting T’Gatoi’s eggs. Similarly, T’Gatoi never needed to have faith in the fact that Gan would never raise his family’s rifle against her and her children when she was unaware that Gan’s family had illegally kept a firearm. However, the absence of risk has taken a toll on their relationship when Gan is no longer blind to the reality of the N’Tlic birthing process and T’Gatoi was made aware of the illegal firearm that Gan’s family had kept. In the moment of truth, Gan and T’Gatoi had regarded one another with wariness, as they were both unaccustomed to the presence of risk within their relationship.

“Real” trust is the kind of trust that is built on the grounds of transparency and good faith. The real trust between partners would not break under pressure – in face of harsh truth and circumstances – but endure, compromise, and work together to overcome. This is something that the initial blind trust that Gan and T’Gatoi had in one another could not accomplish. The extent of the distrust that T’Gatoi has toward Gan is revealed when she had immediately assumed the worst when confronting Gan about his rifle. Her question to Gan, if “[he] mean[s] to use it to shoot [her]” (Butler 24), gives away her understandable fear and distrust of Gan. Her fear is understandable because she does not have unconditional trust in Gan’s good faith and character. Furthermore, her distrust of Gan is heightened when she notices Gan’s implicit biases against her and Tlics when he jumps “at the word ‘worms’” (Butler 25). She has no confidence in the fact that Gan would never shoot her, her future children, or her fellow Tlics. Their inexperience in dealing with risk, which reveals the implicit biases that Gan has toward T’Gatoi, is reminiscent of the prompt in To the Forums! 4 where students were asked to of apply their understanding of implicit bias to “Bloodchild”. Tlic grubs were “limbless and boneless […] blind and slimy with blood” (Butler 16), mindless and parasitic. “Worm” was the word that came to Gan’s mind as T’Gatoi delivers the Tlic grubs from N’Tlic Bram Lomas’ body. Seeing T’Gatoi’s excitement over the newly hatched Tlic grubs and lack of concern of Lomas’ pain, Gan becomes doubtful of T’Gatoi’s humanity. When Gan observes T’Gatoi as she “licked away [Lomas’] blood” he had wondered if “she like[d] the taste,” and if this was a childhood habit that lasts a Tlic’s entire lifetime (Butler 17). Implicit biases are at play when he equates T’Gatoi to a mindless, parasitic, inhumane worm. It is also the influence of implicit bias when he notes the smallest details that make T’Gatoi not-human such as her eyes, which, unlike human eyes, could not see the swell of Gan’s face in the dark (Butler 21). In sacrificing transparency to avoid taking risks, T’Gatoi had inadvertently made space for implicit biases and misconceptions to form in her relationship with Gan.

If real trust is trust that is based entirely on good faith and transparency, then how can we tell if a partner is acting in good faith or not? In some scenarios like when students of the INTD 105-04 course are given the privilege to self-assess and grade ourselves, the presence of risk acts as a test of character: it is what we do with this privilege that is reflective of who we are as a person. If a student assigns his or herself a grade that accurately evaluates the quality of his or her work, it would be a testament of the student’s good faith. If the grade does not match the quality of the student’s work, it would either be a testament of his or her bad faith, or an honest mistake in self-evaluation. Similarly, in “Bloodchild”, when T’Gatoi allows Gan to keep his rifle, whatever he chooses to do with the rifle is reflective of who he is as a person. If he continues to stay true to his words that he “wouldn’t have shot [T’Gatoi]” (Butler 29), then it is a sign of his good faith. However, if he abuses this privilege by raising it against T’Gatoi, her children, and/or the Tlics, it would prove his bad faith. Risk is, in a sense, the ultimate test of faith in all partnerships.  

Risk is not a tool reserved only for individuals, who give their partners a benefit of a doubt, as a means to evaluate them. The presence of risk can also bring about transparency in the self-reflection of said partner. Reflection, one of the learning outcomes of Geneseo Learning Outcome for Baccalaureate Education (GLOBE), is a crucial aspect of personal growth. When Gan’s decision is no longer influenced by his ignorance of risk that it will truly become his own; only then will it be an honest reflection of his character. When T’Gatoi gives Gan an ultimatum – either she implants her eggs in him, or she implants her eggs in his sister Xuan Hoa – there were many factors to reflect on before he could arrive at his final decision. Gan nearly pushes the position of N’Tlic onto Xuan Hoa, making her his shield, just like how his brother Qui used Gan as his shield. Upon further reflection, he questions himself if it would “be easier to know that red worms were growing in her flesh instead of” his own (Butler 26). Because he is not his brother, Qui, “who does not hold himself accountable for the safety of his family members” (as cited in Goal-setting essay), Gan makes a decision that is reflective of his selfless and caring nature: he chooses to become T’Gatoi’s N’Tlic so his sister does not have to.

It would seem that the benefit of risk in a partnership only appears when the relationship is strengthened when a partner demonstrates his or her good faith. What if the partner acted in bad faith? In a way, risk is a lot like the sensation of pain. In most cases, people would perceive pain as a negative thing – not many people would enjoy feeling it. That is not to say we could do without pain; in fact, pain is crucial to our health and safety because it alerts us if we are being harmed. The necessity of risk also stems from the way it alerts us and the people around us if we are being harmed. By revealing the harm that is taking place in a partnership, be it out of bad faith or of other reasons, steps can be taken in repairing a relationship. After all, you cannot fix a problem if said problem has not yet been identified. In To the Forums! 11 where the discussions had much to do with the harm and repair of the academic partnership between students and SUNY Geneseo, the college’s attendance policies were examined. The original attendance policies which penalized students for absences that couldn’t be helped did more harm than good to students under the circumstances brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. To combat this, new attendance policies, which did not penalize students who could not show up for class for health-related (and other) reasons, were implemented for the duration of the pandemic. While these new policies come with the risk of students skipping class under the pretense of being ill, it also alerts the SUNY Geneseo Office of Provost of which students require outreach, counseling, or any other form of help. Similarly, in “Bloodchild”, Gan’s newfound awareness of the way the system of the Preserve harms Terrans by “protecting” them from witnessing the reality of N’Tlic birth, leads him to suggest a way to repair Tlic and Terran partnerships, should there ever come a day when the N’Tlic birthing process can no longer be shielded from Terran eyes. Rather than finding the “whole procedure wrong, alien” (Butler 17), Terrans would be mentally equipped to deal with seeing the process if they were shown from a young age and “shown more than once” (Butler 29). If harm could not be recognized without risk and reparations cannot be made if the source of harm is not identified, then the presence of risk is also necessary for any reparations to be made.

Throughout the INTD 105-04 course, the observation of Gan and T’Gatoi’s relationship in “Bloodchild”, the academic partnership between student and faculty at SUNY Geneseo as well as the one between students of INTD 105-04 and Professor McCoy, all attest to the fact that relationships that forgo risks also forgo the chance of forming real trust between all partners involved. Blind trust is by no means unconditional; it only appears to be strong for as long as the individual remains ignorant to the risks of the relationship that he or she is in – that is, if the individual’s partner is withholding or obscuring knowledge of certain risks that can potentially affect the dynamic of their relationship. Blind trust leaves all partners in a relationship vulnerable to the sudden exposure of risk and transparency. Like the way Gan struggles to deal with the sight of and N’Tlic giving birth to grubs, the individual would find him or herself struggling to accept the truth. The integrity of the individual’s partner would be questioned and doubted as well since neither partner could genuinely prove their good faith towards one another when they were involved in a risk-free relationship. In a relationship where trials and tribulations, understanding and making compromises, and the practice of transparency and self-reflection are not commonplace due to the absence of risk, are inexperienced in the act of repairing trust.  The reward of risk – that is, achieving real trust in a relationship or partnership – is an undeniably difficult journey, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Fragile as Gan and T’Gatoi’s trust in one another had been, they handled their fallout remarkably well in the end. How they managed to start repairing their relationship was a product of Gan’s transparent reflection of himself and his situation, and T’Gatoi’s acceptance of risk in their relationship.

Growth in INTD 105 through risks and rewards

Risks and rewards are two important elements that play a key part in anyone’s form of life. In the short story “Bloodchild” written by Octavia Butler, she uses the quote “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Bloodchild, Butler) to explain this concept. At this time in the story Gan had just watched Lomas’s birth. This quote was also the epigraph for this course which I saw in the syllabus when I read it for the first time. Butler uses the relationship between the Tlic and Terrans to show risks and rewards, which is shown in many ways throughout the story. The Terrans (humans) are being taken advantage of by the Tlic emotionally and physically, but in the end both species work together and benefit each other. This course and epigraph show that the more you put into something the more likely chance you have of getting something good out of it, also relates to the fact that anyone deserves a chance to learn and grow from the past.

The Terrans who are humans in “Bloodchild” came to the Tlic planet during a time of crisis. When the Terrans first arrived, after they left the other planet the Tlic took full advantage of this opportunity. The Tlic need hosts in order to reproduce until their eggs are ready to hatch, so the Terrans offer to be hosts to the Tlic and in return they gain a place to live. The Tlic T’Gatoi stated that she must impregnate someone and that it needed to be done as soon as possible. T’gatoi threatened Gan and said if he did not step up and be the host, it was going to be his sister. Gan decided to take the “risk” in this partnership. T’Gatoi impregnated Gan and he became the “host” for her children. “She undulated slowly against me, her muscles forcing the egg from her body into mine” (Butler 27). Although Gan was fearful about this, he did it because he felt obligated and due to the relationship that him and T’Gatoi have in the story. T’Gatoi viewed this as an equal partnership.

In this course we have all taken risks and as Professor McCoy stated in the syllabus “the possibilities for thinkING and learning are worth the risk.” (McCoy) I agree with Professor McCoy’s statement, as I feel like I have grown much more as a thinker, learner, and writer. Throughout this semester I have taken many “risks”, for example I had the ability to give feedback to my peers, this meant that I had to make sure my feedback for my peers was in good faith. I was able to realize what not giving good faith was like from the Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” TED talk. An example of bad faith in the TED talk is when Adichie went to college in America, her roommate asked where she learned to speak English so well. Her roommate continued to judge Adichie and did not respect her own beliefs, it was very hard for the American girl to realize that people (Adichie) have rights to their own beliefs/opinions that are different. According to Adichie “she asked if she could listen to what she called my “tribal music”. After watching this TED talk and seeing bad faith I made a promise to myself that I would always use good faith to help my peers. Another “risk” that I took during this past semester because of this class was trying to change my mindset from fixed to growth mindset. In the beginning this was tough for me because I had to try to tell myself to not think a certain way that I was always used to thinking. After realizing that I was capable of changing this, I became more confident in everything I was doing, and still continue to work on this today. This relates to the through line that everyone deserves to grow and learn from the past. If I was never able to grow from the past, I could have never changed my mindset, but because I took the opportunity to grow it turned out to be a “reward”.

Throughout this course we discovered the risks and rewards of academic partnership and I noticed that if you want something and work for what you want in the end you will achieve a “reward”. The same goes for the short story “Bloodchild”, in this story the Terrans and to “earn” a place to live. Although it was not the ideal way they had hoped, because of the risks they had to deal with in the end a social contract was formed. T’Gatoi held all the power as she is the ruler of the “preserve”. Gan stated “Years passed. T’Gatoi traveled and increased her influence. The Preserve was hers by the time she came back to my mother to collect what she probably saw as her just reward for her hard work” (Bloodchild). The Terrans agreed to follow T’gatoi’s rules and understood her power, if a rule was broken there were consequences. This relates to the SUNY Geneseo student and faculty handbook that we read in depth about in some of the forums. SUNY Geneseo handbook states that “The specific regulations described below should not be viewed as a comprehensive code of desirable conduct; rather they describe the minimum standards of behavior expected of Geneseo students in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the basic mission of the values of the college” (Geneseo Student handbook). As students we are expected to follow and obey all rules, laws, etc. in the handbook to help keep everyone safe while providing the best experience for all. Some people may take “risks” by breaking the rules which than they will face consequences. In my opinion one should be allowed another chance to learn from their mistake. By following the student code of conduct everyone earns a “reward” as everyone is safe and can make the most out of their college experience.

After I began giving feedback to my peers, I realized that I began getting feedback in return from my peers, this helped me to continue working on fixing my fixed mindset to growth mindset. Until this course, I always believed that my peers were giving me personal feedback, in bad faith, because at times I felt like the feedback was criticizing me. Now I can proudly say that feedback is one of the most useful ways to grow as a writer, and I find feedback to be constructive. In the syllabus it says “These questionnaires emphasize growth mindset. Amid ongoing upheaval with no clear end, many of us are likely in varying ways out of our depth and comfort. This isn’t about being good at something” (McCoy). This quote loops back to the idea that overtime the more effort you continue to put into this course, the more you will grow and realize new things. I became more confident in my own work and realized that it was not just about the grade earned. The course epigraph “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Bloodchild, Butler) connects to the overall assessment of this class, Professor McCoy is taking A “risk” by allowing us to self- assess ourselves, but it is also a “reward” to people who worked hard and followed the class syllabus and rubrics. These examples show that there is risk and reward in everything.

This class has given me many opportunities that I never saw coming in college, and I am glad that I saw and now know “risks” and “rewards” of academic partnership. Aside from the main focus of the class, I have been able to grow as a writer, and in personal ways. Throughout the course I reminded myself often, that the more I put into any assignment the more I got out of it, and this turned out to be true for me. The many conversations and texts that we engaged in though out the semester directly connected to the course epigraph “”If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Bloodchild, Butler)”. In life I will face many risks just like T’Gatoi did in “Bloodchild” but in the end if you can have trust within a partner it will lead to a reward. Looking back, on this semester and all of the work I completed I now see the relationship of the end goal of this course which was allowing us to see what academic partnership is all about. I am grateful for all of the “risks” and “rewards” I took throughout this course and will now continue to take knowing all of this information.

Achieving Success Through Collaborative Risks

In Octavia Butler’s story “Bloodchild”, there is a recurring theme of partnership, along with the risks that go along with it. A line that really conveyed this idea was “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is a risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner”(Butler 26). The idea of partnership is key throughout this story, as the Terrans and Tlics must work together to coexist peacefully, where the Terrans help the Tlics to reproduce and in return, the Tlics protect the Terrans. However, through this partnership, there were many risks that were in the way, as Gan would have to take on a position that would take a serious toll on him both mentally and physically. However, he knew that in order to protect his sister from being implanted with eggs and also provide protection to his family, he had to be the one to carry T’Gatoi’s babies. This was the final reward that Gan worked towards. He had to take that final step of risk in order to get closer to his reward, which is an idea that can be carried out outside of just a story. For example, in college, I believe that this epigraph has formed a throughline for the conversations I have engaged in over the course of the semester. The idea of risks and rewards has been a consistent theme throughout each class discussion. The course title is “Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnership” and that is exactly what we focused on throughout the semester. When working collaboratively with others to work towards a common goal, there can be different risks that may pose difficulties to work through. However, it is important to take these initial risks to get to the final success. This common theme can be seen through both the fictional story, as well as in our everyday lives.

There have been many examples throughout this course that support the idea of risks and rewards of partnership. One example of this is the “Care for Peers’ Growth”, where we focus on not just our own progress in the course, but our peers’ as well. Through the different discussion boards and forums, we can work to help each other and give tips on how to better articulate our ideas. This allows us to see the same idea from different perspectives and gain new ideas. However, a risk that can come from this is disagreement on a topic. Sometimes, we may feel differently from others about a certain subject. However, despite opposing views, it’s important to show respect to other thoughts and opinions. 

Another example that portrays the risks and rewards of academic partnership is portrayed through “To the Forums! 9: Looping Back to ‘Bloodchild’ and Yourself”. In this forum, we discussed how the idea of risks and rewards ties into the college policies for both the faculty and students. For example, one college policy surrounding COVID-19 stated that everyone must wear masks “When a person leaves their work station and walks about their office space, enters a hallway, transverses a building or goes outside and has the potential to come within six feet of another person.” Although this is a simple and quite self-explanatory act, it is the most important to follow. This rule goes to show the importance of working together. Everyone, no matter what their position is at Geneseo, must oblige to this rule for the safety of everyone else. What we are all going through currently can serve as a prime example of the risks and rewards of partnership, as we are all taking a big risk, in hopes of achieving our goals, which in our case, is safety and good health. We as a campus have to work together and follow the rules equally to all be safe. There are many risks to being on campus together, especially during these current times, yet we have to take that initial risk to be here in order to collectively come to our common goal of having a safe and stable campus. One person’s actions can affect everyone else involved, so it is especially important now to understand this key idea of partnership and acknowledge and risks that may be in the way of the final reward.

With this knowledge, the idea of the risks and rewards comes into play when discussing the topic of academic partnership. When working with others, one may encounter many roadblocks in the way, whether it’s disagreement on a subject, uneven distribution of work, and much more. Through these difficulties, it is important to realize what you are essentially working towards and to stay determined to get to your desired reward. I believe that this throughline can be presented in a variety of different ways, even outside the classroom. The idea of working with someone and the risks that go along with it carries out into the outside world, where we are constantly finding ourselves depending on and collaborating with others to get to common success. That is why these lessons that we are learning in this class are so important; they can be used throughout life, not just in stories that we read. It teaches us the importance of knowing how to work past hardships when working with others, as well as take credibility in our own abilities. Along with depending on someone else, it’s equally important to acknowledge our own contributions. It is crucial to be responsible and take action for your own tasks. Lack of responsibility can become a difficulty in achieving success, resulting in you acting as your own risk in partnership. That is why it is especially crucial for everyone involved to be able to contribute efficiently, or else the partnership will not work.

thinkING on Risks and Rewards

In Dr. McCoy’s class, we broke down risk and reward in literature as it applies to our own lives. Throughout the semester, I found it difficult to see the big picture, focusing in on small details of each assignment. Such as when we were working with Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”, I was focused on the storyline rather than the lessons. In “Bloodchild ” there are two species, Terrans or humans, and Tlics an alien race. When Terrans arrive on the Tlic’s land, they are in need of protection, and in order to reproduce, it is essential that Tlics impregnate Terrans with their eggs. Both species are able to survive as long as they help each other. T’Gatoi, the Tlic leader of the Preserve, chooses Gan to host her future children before he is even born. A particular epigraph from  “Bloodchild” states, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (26). Gan says this to T’Gatoi after witnessing another Terran give birth to Tlics. He begins to have second thoughts on the night T’Gatoi must implant her eggs into a Terran. T’Gatoi threatens Gan by giving him an ultimatum. If Gan won’t go through with hosting T’Gatoi’s children, then she will implant her eggs into Gan’s sister. After being taken care of by T’Gatoi for all his life, Gan has developed an affection for T’Gatoi and feels obligated to go through with hosting her offspring. This can be translated to our everyday lives regarding risk and reward in our biases and rule systems. Throughout the duration of my semester in Dr. McCoy’s class, I have learned to slow down and unpack the information in front of you. This is an example of GLOBE (Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education), the “framework for building and assessing holistic student experience at Geneseo”(Bulletin 60.12, p. 166). Although you may not fully understand at first glance, reflecting on what you’ve learned takes time. This is all a part of learning the risks and rewards in writing and academic partnership.

Within the epigraph as well as in class, we face many risks and rewards. Since going online and having to learn virtually, our class began with nothing more than deadlines and a syllabus. After giving brief information about the course, the first big point of our class syllabus is the epigraph from “Bloodchild”. This shows it’s significance and relevance to course material. As we began to explore different topics, we came across ideas such as implicit bias and rule systems. By applying these back to “Bloodchild” and connecting our topics of discussion to the novel, we were able to form a through line. When discussing implicit bias, we began with a TED talk from Professor Jerry Kang. Implicit biases are judgements we make without being consciously aware of them ourselves. It’s how our brain sorts and categorizes information in an uncensored fashion. This means that information that is versatile may be placed in a different category than what your conscious mind believes would be logical, making it easy to misread information. This was true for me when reading “Bloodchild”.  In Forum 5: “Velvet”, I engaged in a discussion with a classmate. She had mentioned that she “thought the setting was on earth”. The setting of the novel had confused me as well for a while, as I did not expect for Terrans to take over the Tlic’s planet, but the exact opposite. This is similar to the context of the epigraph, where Gan second guesses carrying T’Gatoi’s offspring. Gan experiences implicit bias when discussing a Terran host giving birth with T’Gatoi. Gan witnesses what he believes is worse than regular birth. All his life he was told that it was a natural and beneficial thing to host the Tlics offspring, but birth can provoke emotions of fear and anxiety. Gan believes that a hosting birth is more gruesome than if Terrans were to reproduce on their own. This reasoning behind him second guessing is due to the implicit bias Gan has towards Tlics. Gan is unaware of this judgment even though all his life he remembers society functioning the same way it does now. 

When T’Gatoi threatens to have Gan’s sister, Xuan Hoa, host her eggs, is when Gan realizes that this is something he needs to do. By risking himself and hosting T’Gatoi’s eggs, Gan is able to reward the rest of the Terrans, ensuring they are protected by the Tlic. However, T’Gatoi’s threat shows her true personality as a leader and a partner. Her threats and actions show her craving for power. In class we discussed rule systems such as Geneseo’s Student Code of Conduct and policies for faculty and administration at the university. What was interesting was how most all rules established for all persons on campus were similar. In fact, several of the rules between students and faculty were written verbatim. This forms a sense of unity between all persons on campus and establishes a fair rule system that more people will be encouraged to follow. The same cannot be said for T’Gatoi’s rule. Tlics established rules meant to benefit themselves while providing the bare minimum to the Terrans. In exchange for protection, the Terrans give up one male from each family that is meant to carry the Tlics offspring. In Forum 9: “Looping Back to ‘Bloodchild’ and yourself”, I stated that these rules are unfair but only hold stability by giving their communities variance of power. Since Terrans need the protection of Tlics, if Terrans were to disobey the rules, their lives lay in the hands of those protecting them. This unhealthy balance of power could lead to tyranny if Terrans find strength in numbers. There is risk to an unfair rule system as people will sooner or later say enough is enough. However, when there is a balance of power and opportunity for voices to be heard, it is rewarding to see more people following the rules to better the community as a whole.

At the beginning of the semester, I had no idea the relevance “Bloodchild” would hold throughout this curriculum. Despite its reference in the syllabus, I wasn’t convinced of its significance until halfway through the semester. After dedicating time, thought (“thinkING” ), and feedback as a class, I realized that there was a bigger picture. It was similar to a puzzle, when you begin you are unsure of what the end goal looks like. However, once you have put a portion of the puzzle together, you can work with the end in mind. That portion of the puzzle is GLOBE. Although you may not understand everything you learn at that moment, time can help clarify and solidify your thoughts. Even once you understand a concept, time can help you find and reflect on new perspectives of the same information. In furthering students’ education, GLOBE provides a basis that students can build off of, making it extremely rewarding.


In the course INTD 105, we learn about the risk and rewards of academic partnership. Within the course we read “Bloodchild” by Octavia E. Butler, which contains an epigraph that provides a throughline for the conversations that would take place in the semester. This epigraph is a quote from “Bloodchild” and it reads “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner”. I feel that this epigraph coincides well with the course when you’re able to understand it in a deeper meaning as you break it down. You see as the new students come to this institution, they are the “animals” referenced in the very first part of the epigraph. They can be seen as sheep as they come from an educational background where students are taught what to do then asked to do it. They’re guided by a teacher who acts like a herding dog to the sheep. Then the “adult things” is the course INTD 105 as it is a course taught within the institution of SUNY Geneseo. It is not a course where students are guided to the answers they seek but rather find them on their own. Students must take their education into their own hands as they try to learn and about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. Finally the last part of the epigraph is “there is risk in dealing with a partner”. There’s multiple partnerships within this course. Partnerships between two peers, partnerships between student and professor, partnerships between student and the course. There is a risk that comes with that as everyone is on their own path to master the course. Some partnerships may throw you off track. After breaking down the epigraph I feel that it properly provides a throughline for the conversations that took place within this course.

The epigraph paints many pictures as to how this course unfolded through this semester for those who may not have been a part of it.However I feel that it is justified to say that it forms a throughline for the conversations that were held in this course. INTD 105 is, as stated beforehand,  a course about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. This course is all about partnership, and that is what the epigraph puts in motion. It really drives home the name of this course (Risk and reward). So if I was to share the throughline that the epigraph provides, it would be:

In the beginning of the semester new students were the “animals” as they came from an educational setting where they were strictly guided down their paths. In INTD however students are not strictly guided, they’re loosely guided so they can find answers on their own.  As the semester continued students were pushed to try and form their own answers, all while checking through their partnerships with their peers, their instructor, and their courses’ foundational documents.

The reason I believe that the Epigraph forms a throughline  for this course is because it is taken from the work “BloodChild” by Octavia E. Butler. The Epigraph itself is a quote from the story. We have analyzed this piece of work since day one. So it’s only natural that Butler’s piece of work promotes the risks and rewards or academic partnership, otherwise we would not have referred to it so many times within our course. Butler promotes the idea through two important characters within her story, Gan and T’Gatoi. The two are kind of like a couple as Gan is the host for T’Gatoi’s eggs that need a host in order to hatch. However the birthing process is dangerous and Gan feels that just because he was selected to have T’Gatoi’s eggs before his birth, doesn’t mean he has to do it. Once T’Gatoi realizes that Gan is thinking about escaping the preserve that protects his people, she has a conversation with Gan. From this conversation we learn of the risks and rewards of academic partnership. In the case of Gan and T’Gatoi the risks are that Gan leaves and doesn’t allow T’Gatoi to see her children grow, or he could suffer a gruesome death due to the birthing process. The rewards are that Gan and T’Gatoi are able to have the children, and they’re able to live a happy life within the preserve. In our case Gan and T’Gatoi’s risks could be seen as a partner not pulling their own weight or not even participating. Our rewards, on the other hand, could be something along the lines of completed work, or even a bond that can turn into a friendship.

Throughout this course the idea of “academic partnership” has always been mentioned. Obviously because that’s the focus of this course, to teach the risks and rewards of academic partnership. This course did very well to keep this as the focus for students. In our very first “To the Forums!” we were asked to introduce ourselves to each other. While it was not explicitly said, it was a chance for us to begin to form partnerships with our peers. We were always told to help each other within these “To the Forums!” conversations, and it is definitely something that can help form a bond which can then be turned into a partnership later on. We were also able to form a natural partnership with our instructor Professor McCoy who was always within reach via email or scheduled meeting. Our instructor’s role within this course in my opinion was one of guidance, the professor’s comments on our conversations got us thinkING and made it possible for us to better understand the focus of this course. Our instructor was our first partner within our course as it started within the syllabus for INTD 105. In our syllabus,  it is mentioned that we may come across works that can be triggering to some. However this is where our instructor takes on the role of our first partner as she states in the syllabus “I can collaborate with you to figure out strategies for navigating texts, contexts, and subject matters” (McCoy, Beth). Collaboration is something that is within partnership and that’s why I feel our instructor is a partner more than an actual instructor.

I believe this all matters given GLOBE’s insistence that Geneseo students should gain practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time. This Epigraph gave us a Throughline for this course. A course in which we have learned exactly what GLOBE has insisted on. Through trying to understand the risks and rewards of academic partnership, we have reflected upon changes in learning by looking to our institutions code of conduct and seeing the outdated rules that may seem silly or in need of updating. We reflected upon changes on outlook by talking about change in our country and ourselves through discussions on implicit bias, reparations for Black Americans, and Chimamanda Adichie’s “Danger of a single story”. During this course, INTD 105 The Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnership, we learned many things that were not the focus of this course and that is why the Epigraph matters. We accepted the risk and we were rewarded.