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Boundless Possibilities through a Leap of Faith

Story time!


As I greet this new year, I want to reflect on the boundless possibilities that come out of a leap of faith.


As a child I had always thought teaching would be the route I would follow. I pursued Ancient Greek in high school and college in hopes of being a Classics, and then, Archaeology professor. But determined that access to institutions to higher education for people who looked like me was my passion, at the time, especially after a particularly compelling and educational trip to Salvador de Bahia (Brazil). Thus began my long journey in admissions. All stories for another time and place.


Yet my thirst for teaching never abated. I found ways to run workshops, present at conferences and colloquia, mentor, and be mentored. I became a lecturer and that thirst grew even further as I worked with incoming transfer and first-year students to help settle them into a new learning environment. I took it upon myself to revamp a syllabus I was given to fit and better support a more diverse group of students. Later developing a syllabus around transfer student transitions and the changing college environment.


Because my neurodivergent brain does not know how to focus on only one task at a time, I also gained a second Master's degree during all this. I had phenomenal professors and mentors, such as Susan, Elaine, Jaleh, Chris, and Mark who pushed me to think deeper about higher education, social justice, myself, and the possibilities of leading in the spaces I existed. I learned qualities of being a great teacher, of course, from these individuals and many professors and teachers I have learned from before, after, and currently from. I also (re)learned to take a leap of faith.


This particular leap of faith came in response to my rumination on the Higher Education Masters program (where I had received my degree). I felt there were key content pieces missing, including enrollment management themes which centered justice and equity. The masters program, which had a fellowship program, brought in many graduate students who advised college students in support of their academic, social, financial, and emotional success. However, many of these same fellows seemed to have minimal background in understanding how colleges and universities worked, recruited, enrolled, and retained students. And how they, as fellows, fit into this process currently and in their future roles as administrators. This is where my proposed new course would come in.


The then program director, Susan, took a leap of faith on me and not only heard my vision, but invested in it. She pushed me to develop a syllabus, helped me through the approval process, and gave me a chance as a faculty member. She and the other program faculty saw the endless possibilities (see what I did there) and took that chance on someone new and green, someone who had a vision, a mission, and the strategy to make change. The students took a leap by enrolling into this new course and in a different topic from what they were used to. I am very appreciative on all accounts. My teaching journey continues and I am excited to share my knowledge and co-learn in spaces all over the globe virtually and in-person.


As today's theme suggests, a leap of faith can be an individual choice, a collective community driven action, an unintended conversation which sticks with the recipient long after, or an action which triggers a butterfly affect of change. As you go into the new year, think back on what leap of faith in 2022 you took or caused. I leave you with homework to consider what leap of faith you will take this year. The possibilities are boundless.


Consider taking a leap of faith with Changing Spaces LLC today as your Leadership JEDIB consultant, educator, speaker, or coach. Schedule an introductory meeting or email nwilliams@chspaces.net. Tell your story through us and lead the change you envision.

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