Engaging in Academic Partnership

Partnership exists everywhere- whether it be a partner for group work, your relationship as a student with an educator, or your relationships with your boss and coworkers. What comes from the various partnerships in life? As Gan says to T’Gatoi in Bloodchild, “There is risk…in dealing with a partner.” Though there is risk to dealing with partners, I feel there are also many rewards. When dealing with partners of any type, you are offered a look into their mind and their own points of view. As a result, you may learn something from a perspective you’ve never encountered before. As stated by Professor Beth McCoy in her syllabus, I will be witnessing many different perspectives of administrators from Geneseo and the SUNY system. Engaging in these partnerships will help me to fully understand all that goes into this partnership between myself and this college and the partnerships between all the people that make this college run.

The first partnership I made in this course was the partnership between Professor McCoy and myself. At first, I didn’t see my relationship with Professor McCoy as a partnership, but after some class discussion I had realized that it is a partnership of a different form in which I have never thought about with my professors. Professor McCoy does things very differently than any professor I have had so far. For example, during class, we always sit in a circle which gives me the feeling that we are all working together instead of separately, which is how lecture-style classrooms make me feel. Professor McCoy also knows each of us by name and made it a point to make sure she knew our names as close to the start of classes as possible. This shows me a huge sense of partnership because in most of my classes they would only potentially get to learn my name if I was constantly at office hours- the setting of the classroom didn’t allow the professors to truly know anyone. Given the small class size, and the fact that Professor McCoy knows everyone’s name, I am more engaged in this partnership as well. For instance, if I am not going to be in class, Professor McCoy would notice- so I would email her in advance- whereas in my previous classes, the professors would have no idea if I showed up or not. When doing small group work, Professor McCoy engages with each small group individually which strengthens that partnership even more because even during class time, she ensures every student is heard. Given the nature of this course and partnership itself, I think that this course will be constantly focused around what we both are going to need to give to engage in this partnership most successfully. If I am not in class to partake in my portion of the partnership, then there truly is not a partnership to be had. I feel as though the small class size makes it easier for it to feel more like a partnership, but I also want to challenge myself to see aspects of partnership in all my courses this semester.

The partnership with Professor McCoy is not the only partnership I’ve embarked on the since first day I came to this course. The other partnership that I was engaged in right from the start was with the other students. On the first day when Professor McCoy was learning our names, she also had volunteers go around and say everyone’s names and continued to do this every class period until we knew each other’s names. This sparked the partnership between all of us as students because knowing each other’s names, at least for myself, led to me being more able to engage with them in discussion and see things from their perspective, which I feel  is one of the rewards of this partnership. Knowing everyone’s name also made small group work easier, because if I went into a small group not knowing anything about anyone, I would not be as likely to engage or debate their reasoning. Though knowing everyone’s name makes it easier and more rewarding in this partnership, I feel as though there may be more risks with this partnership than that with Professor McCoy, especially because, as stated in the syllabus, there will be a collaborative essay where, “In small groups…[I] will spend four class periods crafting a collaborative essay based on our heating plant tour…”. Given that the group I am in will have class time to complete the essay alleviates some of the risk, but not all. There is always the risk that a partner in the group will not complete their portion of the work. One of my goals is to not be the partner that risks a poor grade for everyone else. Another goal of mine would be to potentially help another partner if they are stuck so they do not become the risk as well.  Though the collaborative essay may be the only graded portion of this partnership, every day in class, this partnership becomes more and more active as l learn through the other students and see things from their perspectives.

              There is one type of partnership that I will never know the true inner workings of, but it is still notable. This is the partnership between Professor McCoy and the administrators of SUNY Geneseo. Though I will not understand Professor McCoy’s partnership with administration, I can relate it to some experiences I have had in different jobs and how different roles work together for one common goal. Professor McCoy has a partnership with all the administrators in some level, but there are some that she may have a closer partnership to or ones that are so important that she is bringing them into partnership with myself and the other students. Professor McCoy states in the syllabus that various administrators will be coming into class to discuss “…how various forms of consent inform their work.” Such administrators include: robbie routenberg, the Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Joe Cope, the Interim Associate Provost for Student Success, Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans, the Director of Multicultural Programs and Services, and Seth Gilbertson, the Associate Counsel for SUNY’s Office of University Council. Professor McCoy takes two weeks of her instructional time to have administrators come in and discuss how consent influences their work, and this shows that it is very important that I am able to engage in partnerships with not only all administration but these administrators especially, but also that consent is a very important part of the partnerships I will be engaging in. This raises the question for me of how far am I going to get into these partnerships within this semester and also how far into the partnerships will I get into by the time I graduate, since without even realizing it I have been engaged in these partnerships from the day I applied to Geneseo? What administrators will I have the best partnership with? This whole semester I would like to think about how many partnerships I have within this college and how much each one influenced or will influence my career at Geneseo.

              I have never seen my relationships with educators or administration or anyone of authority over me as a partnership. Throughout this semester, I would like to challenge that portion of my thinking because a partnership can mean very different things and work in many ways. I engage in partnerships every day, and I have never thought to notice them in that way. Some of the partnerships I engage in that I don’t currently see as partnerships may have been or will be the best partnerships of my life. Just from the beginning of this class my partnership with Professor McCoy and the other students in my course has changed how I think about everything that goes into running this college and partnerships in general, and I want to be able to watch these partnerships grow and evolve throughout the semester while also forming partnerships with new people.   

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