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.

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