Leading Your Institution From a Place of Radical Empathy with Dr. Terri Givens

Leading Your Institution From a Place of Radical Empathy with Dr. Terri Givens

If you only take one message away from this episode, here it is.

It’s important we keep in mind that higher ed isn’t a safe space for everyone.

Furthermore, as lifelong learning professionals focused on inclusion and access, we have a responsibility to make it more welcoming for our colleagues with marginalized identities.

And that’s exactly where Dr. Terri Given’s brilliant book, Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridging Racial Divides, gives individuals like you and me the tools to make institutions and systems more fair, transparent and, yes, empathetic. 

I met Terri a couple months ago and was captivated by the journey she’s taken over the course of her career inside (and then definitely outside) of academia. 

As a political scientist, vice provost, provost and CEO and founder of Brighter Higher Ed, a platform for professional development for faculty. Terri shares how she’s been round and round and home again within the many places and spaces in academia — from Stanford to UCLA to University of Washington to UT Austin to Menlo College — and now in a faculty role at McGill University in Quebec. 

“Radical Empathy” has so many applications for continuing education and the future of work, and so I can’t wait to hear what you think about Episode 07 of the Education Beyond Degrees podcast.

You can tune in above👆 or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, the RSS feed or anywhere you get your podcasts.

On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why empathy and vulnerability go hand in hand for leaders in education
  • How to take on tough conversations within your team (with actual talking points and resources to download) 
  • Why any goal toward diversity must also come with built-in accountability and buy-in from the top
  • Why the phrase “continuing education” has a branding and marketing problem

What to listen for:

[2:05] Just what makes empathy “radical?” Terri explains her six-step process to practicing empathy. 

[6:44] The personal experience in Terri’s life that sparked the desire to research structural racism. 

[9:00] The stereotypes and expectations of higher education — and why Terri felt like she left one leadership position with “knives in her back.” 

[11:30] Why so many black women are hitting the “the cement ceiling” in a higher education by being excluded from the places and spaces where decisions are made. 

[12:20] Why the execution of DEI roles are falling short, and how higher ed institutions can make the people in these roles successful.

[15:04] What academic leaders need to know about radical empathy and how they can model it for their institution. 

[16:58] Why well-intentioned academic task forces (on racism, equity or otherwise) are often “a road to nowhere.” 

[18:00] How deans and other leaders can better serve students of all backgrounds and create a sense of belonging and the space to understand, explore and make mistakes.

[21:48] The impetus behind Brighter Higher Ed and how Terri fills the gap between leadership development in academia and making it affordable, accessible and sustainable. 

[24:01] Why Terri sees continuing education (also known as lifelong learning) is the future of higher ed, especially for career faculty members.

[25:32]  The missed opportunity highlighted by Mills College’s recent closing and why Terri believes developing lifelong learning opportunities could have saved it from its untimely closing.

[25:23] Why continuing education needs a rebrand to move away from its reputation as programs for retirees or one-off recreational courses

[26:14] A step-by-step pitch to getting institutional buy-in for lifelong learning in a top-down AND bottom-up approach that involves everyone from the faculty to the provosts.

[29:30] What Terri sees as her legacy in higher education and for lifelong learners.

Links from the episode👇👇
Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridging Racial Divides [Terri’s book]
Effective Strategies for Confronting Racism in Conversations [A reading guide]
Dr. Terri Givens LinkedIn
Terrigivens.com [I especially like her blog – lots to explore in the archive]
Mills College announces plan to close, triggering debate about other schools’ futures
Meni’s LinkedIn
The Education Beyond Degrees Homepage

Transcript from the episode

*Today’s weather has 100% chance of some spelling errors in the AI-powered transcript below. Hope you won’t hold it against me! 

Meni: Terri, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. I’m really happy to have you on. And I have so many questions to ask you.

Terri: Yes, I’m really happy to join you Meni. This is something I’ve been looking forward to.

Meni: So before we get started, if you don’t mind, just give us a quick introduction of who you are, where you’re at and a little bit of what you do in the world of higher ed.

Terri: So I am currently based in Menlo Park, California, right next door to my alma mater Stanford University, and I am currently the CEO and founder of Brighter Higher Ed, which is a platform for professional development for faculty. But I’m also, I spent had a long career as a political scientist. I started out at University of Washington, went on to University of Texas at Austin, where I became the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Curriculum and International Affairs.

And then I went on to be the Provost at Menlo College. And I stepped down from that position a couple of years ago to take a deep dive into the world of higher ed beyond the institution to understand things like ed tech, the future of work. I’ve had so many interactions with you at conferences and things with belts around the country and I see myself as somebody who really is looking at the broader picture in higher education, and actually I’m getting ready to step back into a faculty role at McGill University in Quebec.

Meni: Terri and I met on the Clubhouse app on, right now it’s currently on Apple, but it’s coming up to Android. We met on that app and have had some really great conversations on and off the app. One of the things that I’ve learned about Terri and that I really want to talk a lot about in this podcast is she’s also an author. She wrote a book that was recently released called Radical Empathy. It is a really great book and I highly recommend everybody go out and get it.

But I want to give Terri a little bit of a chance to talk about the book itself and let’s start with, how do you define radical empathy?

Terri: That’s a really great question because it’s something I actually, it took me doing all this research and, thinking about who I am and how I got to be where I am to come up with this idea of radical empathy.

Because I have to tell one little story because when I was a kid, I was a huge Star Trek fan. And so one of my favorite episodes is this called ‘The Empath.’ And it’s about this, Kirk and McCoy and Spock it are transported to this alien planet and they meet this woman who can’t speak. And anyway, she’s an empath and she can actually take on not just the feelings of other people, but that’s their actual physical injuries and things like that. And I just thought that was such an amazing thing and I want it to be an empath.

But it really got me thinking about empathy. My Star Trek infatuation impacted my understanding of it, but what it helped me to do is really understand that empathy is about vulnerability. And so I started doing some deep dives into the work of people like Renee Brown and others who talk about this idea of vulnerability.

I realized that for me, the first step, and I have six steps of radical empathy, the first step is a willingness to be vulnerable. And to me, I modeled vulnerability by telling my story.

Really, but also tried to really understand myself. So that’s the second step, which is becoming grounded in who you are. And I knew that was going to be an important step because in order to really understand others, you have to understand yourself first.

So step one, willingness to be vulnerable.

Step two becoming grounded in who you are.

And then the third step is opening yourself to the experience of others. And that really involves being willing to listen and understand other people’s stories.

And then the fourth step is practicing empathy. It takes three steps just to get to that point of being able to practice empathy, but it means, stepping into other people’s shoes. Not just understanding their experiences, but trying to really understand what their lives are about, what’s their day to day.

And then the fifth step is taking action. Because one of the things that frustrates me is people say, ‘Oh, I have compassion and I understand people and they have empathy,’ but they aren’t willing to take action. And can you imagine what this country would look like if every person who really cared about all these issues, actually took action?

You went to their local police station and said, ‘Hey, I want to get involved. How can I, be connected to a task force’ or I went to their city council or, just make phone calls and talk to their friends about things like radical empathy.

But then the sixth step is creating change and building trust because. We want to create, I know so many people want to create change in this country. And so that’s such an important component and which is why the last chapter really focuses on truth and reconciliation and really changing our country for the better.

So that’s my definition of radical empathy.

Meni: It’s a perfect definition and I think from my perspective, and this year has been a big time of reflection for everybody in our country and the things that have been happening, and I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting within. I’m a white male and there’s a lot of privilege that comes with being a white male and growing up in a house that had middle-class parents. 

I’ve always been in education because I wanted to help people. And this last year it’s taken that definition for me and really blown it up into something that even today it isn’t just words or posting stuff on social media, but you’re right, it’s those action items that really could make an impact.

And again, I come from a place that I’m still learning. And that vulnerability that you talk about in your first part of the definition of radical empathy, that’s really such a big step for everybody. 

And one of the things that I’ve taken from, reading and talking to you and talking to others, it’s creating this environment where we are helping each other, where we do listen and understand and try to feel their stories also. And I think you do such a great job of talking about that in your book.

And one of the things that is interesting and might be helpful, you talk about right after the death of your father, it sparked an interest in your research when this all started for you, what were you hoping to uncover through your research? What were you really trying to accomplish at the start of your research?

Who knows how many times it’s changed since then, but how what did you, where did this start for you?

Terri: I wanted to understand how it is that, my father who was, had lived a good, he’d been in the military, he had a good life. And yet, he died relatively young, he was 72 years old.

And that was what was really driving it because I realized he wasn’t unusual when I started looking at the, you mentioned that’s when I that’s what sparked my research. I was like, how is it that there’s these huge disparities? Just the fact that my father was a black male, made him more likely to die from heart disease.

It was just like a classic case of, somebody’s dying relatively young from a disease that’s preventable. And so that’s what was driving me at the beginning was I want to understand this. Because at that point in time, my father died in 2001, I was still very idealistic in thinking that, okay, look, I’ve made it.

I’m a first-generation college daughter. Who’s gone on to Stanford and got my PhD at UCLA and, have my first job and at university of Washington. And, we should be able to escape from so much of what I now call structural racism. And yet I realized we were still mired in it and I had to understand why that was.

So that’s what really propelled me into this, all of this research.

Meni: Let’s talk about higher ed and the Academy. You have had so many roles from professor to vice provost, to provost. Talk to us a little bit about your path and maybe even talk a little bit about some of the struggles or obstacles you faced as you started moving up through, we’ll call it a hierarchy, we’ll through the hierarchy of higher ed and getting your own education.

I’d love to hear how that path was for you.

Terri: I won’t go through the entire path because that would be a long story, but I’ll focus in on two key areas. The first is like graduate school because, undergrad had its challenges and, I’ll let people read about that, but graduate school is, was interesting for me because of what I wanted to study.

And I had been learning French since I was in middle school cause my mother’s from Louisiana and there was French speakers in my family. And so I started learning French. I took them all the way through undergrad, went to France. And so when I got to graduate school, I wanted to study European politics.

And there’s were so many the stereotypes at the time. And I have another friend who was at UCLA, an, African-American guy who was at UCLA too, and we both ran into these hurdles of you’re black you must study American race and politics. And it’s no, I speak French.

And my, actually I had a really good advisor who encouraged me to learn German because there’s tons of money for American researchers who want to learn German and go to Germany, which I have to say, the German supported my research more than any other, different German organizations, more than any other institution.

But it was very frustrating because I would always get the question, why do you study Europe? And I had people when I was getting towards the end of my graduate school years, as I was starting to look at the job market literally telling me, ‘Oh, if you studied American politics, I’ll give you a job tomorrow.’

Or, things like that and it just created this frustration for me that it’s like, ‘why can’t I just study what I want to study?’ So that was one of the things.

And it comes back to kind of stereotypes and expectations. And we can talk more about that, but, you know, as far as higher ed is concerned, when I left the University of Washington after four years cause my husband’s job shifted and I got a job offer at UT Austin. 

I called my first six years at UT Austin, the golden years, and I had a ton of support, I had great mentors, but what was interesting to me is how quickly that can shift.

You get new leadership and all of a sudden, those golden years, the people who had been sniping at me behind my back, had more sway. And, I tell people, I feel like I left UT with knives and swords and all kinds of stuff in my back because there were people who just were not happy that I was successful and that I had gotten this promotion to vice provost.

It was just very frustrating in so many different ways, but after I left the provost office, I just wanted to get to full professor and get out because I also felt, even though I have so many friends in Austin, Texas, but the city itself is one of these progressive places that doesn’t see.

After my experiences in Austin, my purpose was to turn the mirror on a place like Austin that thinks it’s so progressive and open. I call it the cement ceiling because in Austin I considered myself to be, in the university and the city of Austin to be one of the most well-accepted black woman in the city. And yet, there are these private clubs where my colleagues at UT were invited, the white men and I happened to be at one of these events one time and watched all my white male colleagues walk into the room and I’m just like, ‘Oh, so this is how it works,’ and there were just places and spaces that weren’t open to me because I was a black woman.

So in any case that just gives you a taste of some of the things I experienced and I talk about, and it’s a combination of, what I experienced in higher ed, but also more broadly just living in these different communities.

Meni: It still amazes me that something like that is still happening. But going back to the Academy, you and I have had a conversation about DEI roles, diversity equity, and inclusion roles popping up in lots of universities and colleges across the country.

I think we agree that the idea behind the role is probably a good idea, but the execution is falling short. Not having to go into the detail of what the job descriptions are, if a higher ed institution wants to bring in somebody to focus on D&I or DEI, what do you think would make that a successful role? What could that person do to make it successful for that higher ed institution?

Terri: Number one, you have to have buy-in. And so I wouldn’t step into that role unless I knew that the administration was 100% supportive of that position because part of the problem I’ve seen in less successful people who take on these chief diversity offers or roles, is they come in and all of a sudden all eyes are on them. Everything about diversity is their job.

And my take on it is that no, the leadership, this has to be everybody’s job. Diversity, isn’t my job as a black woman. It’s everybody’s job.

And obviously I have some expertise in that and I will we’ll do it. But if, you can imagine going into a situation because if you don’t have authority to go in and tell that department chair, ‘yes, you will do a diverse search,’ they can just do an end run around you and say, Oh, the Dean or the vice provost, or the provost says, or, they just won’t do it. And there’s no accountability.

It’s a question of accountability and most of the time, chief diversity officers, except for their own team, it’s not like the faculty and the department chairs and the deans report to them, they’re reporting to the provost or, people to the president.

And so if the provost and the president are just waving their hands and saying, ‘Oh, we can’t do anything,’ and they aren’t providing that, making people be accountable then you just can’t succeed.

As I mentioned, the I’m going to be taking on a position at McGill University. And the reason I accepted it is because I’m not going to be the chief diversity officer. I have a certain set of defined responsibilities and that action plan came from the provost and the associate provost. And they are the ones who are responsible for it. My job is, more implementation.

And so I have the weight of the provost behind me on this. But I’m a faculty member who also, is in with the faculty. So anyway, I think there’s ways that this can be done, but if you don’t have the leadership behind you, it’s not going to go anywhere.

Meni: Let’s talk about leadership for a second. In chapter seven of your book, you talk about radical empathy and leadership, and we’ll stay out of the politics for now. And maybe we could get back to politics at some point in the later conversation, but let’s draw that back to academia. You’ve held several roles, obviously from professor to provost to going over to McGill now, how do you think education leaders promote radical empathy and how could they best make it happen moving forward?

Terri: They have to model it. So the number one thing, it’s interesting, cause you know, last summer, every campus president and provost and dean had their statements about the protest of the summer and you know, students have come and made demands and so they’ve been responding to students.

And to me is they have to model that vulnerability and say, yeah, in the past we’ve made mistakes and we’re going to fix those now. And we’re going to try to understand what you need. But, you know, the first step is understanding that we live in this world of structural racism and I personally have to change the way I look at the world and put myself in the shoes of my students and my faculty and staff who are dealing with these issues on a day-to-day basis.

I talk about inclusive leadership and I have all these steps and obviously it’s in chapter seven about inclusive leadership, but the number one thing any leader should do is allow themselves to be vulnerable and admit mistakes and, really try to show that they care. Not just care, but that they’re going to take action.

It was really interesting, I was talking to a colleague and he’s ‘Oh yeah, we started a task force’ and you know that it’s going to take a year for them to come up with what they’re going to do about anti-black racism. And I was like that’s great, but what’s something you could do now?

I get so frustrated when you know, the next, the first action is just create a task force. Because too often task forces are a road to nowhere. I had that experience at UT Austin, where they did a whole report on pay disparity between male and female faculty. And so they found all these pay disparities. And so there were supposed to create a committee. Well, the current committee never met and, they did bump up the salaries of some women, but, they didn’t deal with the underlying structural issues.

For example, that women tend to get offered lower salaries when they come in at the beginning. So then they’re behind for their entire career.

Meni: I completely agree with you there. And I think there’s so much change, I don’t even really like calling it change, there’s so much updating that leadership really needs to do to promote this and to empathize and to work through what’s currently happening. And it even goes back to your book, when you talk about social justice in the Academy and conversations on social justice. It really brings up the question, as we talk about social justice and we see what’s happening and we talk about structural racism, outside of leading by example, within the Academy what does, what else could we do to serve our students better and make them more aware of what’s going on and create that path to your six steps of radical empathy within all of our institutions?

Terri: Unfortunately, because higher ed is so difficult to move, we call it the aircraft carrier versus the pilot ship that can move quickly, it can take time. But I would say that I’ve been doing this work with institutions and, it’s like a top down, bottom-up thing.

Maybe starting with deans because deans are a good place to start with a lot of this stuff. If deans can be committed to creating change, because a lot of this comes back to the student and we need to put the students front and center.

And I’m not just talking about black students and brown students. Students who come from conservative backgrounds who feel frustrated that, maybe they don’t get their voices heard. We have to have empathy for everybody. I think if you come at it from that perspective, you can start thinking about, how do we create that sense of belonging for our students? And how do we create an environment that allows them to have these difficult conversations and allows them to explore and make mistakes?

I try to understand, these broader perspectives. And yeah, we did some of that when I was at UT Austin and we had a program called Difficult Conversations and that trained faculty and how to conduct these conversations.

Actually, I would encourage people, we have a free reading guide on my website and Terrigivens.com, but also if you go to Bristol university press there’s links to extra materials that you can download. And I would encourage a dean and to go to their faculty and say, ‘Here’s some resources learn how to have these difficult conversations.’

We’re also going to be working with Jonathan Friedman at Penn America, whose got an amazing program on, free speech and training faculty, how to have these difficult conversations and to deal with some of the things that are happening on social media. And so I think there’s so many great resources out there and that basically all it takes is for a dean or a department chair to say, ‘okay, we’re going to really, take this issue by the horns and wrestle it down and start having these conversations. And, they may be difficult.’

There’ll people will be people who will resist. It’s one of these things that is really imperative in this era. We have to do right by our students, regardless of what their backgrounds are. And so it is really imperative upon us to learn how to do this work in a way that is supportive of our students.

Meni: Which then brings me to Brighter Higher Ed. It seems like it’s an obvious pivot or move for you to do simultaneously as you’re writing books, you just told me you’re writing your second book, which is very exciting.

Talk to me a little bit about what drove you to create and to co-found Brighter Higher Ed, and what the vision was that you wanted the company to be doing.

Terri: The reason I started is because I could see and after having been really observing higher education than the broader EdTech and kind of innovation space is that, we don’t learn how to be a leader in graduate school. We learn and how to be a political scientist.

I didn’t really learn how to be a manager or how to deal with accreditation or, all of the different things you have to know to be a leader in higher education and I learned on the job and I have to say I had amazing mentors, which is why I was successful. But on the other hand, I felt, what do people do?

I went to ACE and did a workshop. Those are very expensive and there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s expensive. And I was like we have these online platforms. Why can’t we use an online platform to help with faculty development? And every faculty member should have the opportunity to learn about the transition from faculty to administrator, strategic planning, accreditation program review. All of these different things you’re understanding institutional research, which is, a critical component of strategic planning. All these different things that will help somebody become a better leader. And so we’ve been developing courses.

We have a community at brighterhighered.com that is designed to really help those faculty who are moving into administrative positions to make that transition more easily, but also to get them focused on what’s going out in the broader world because the ed tech spaces and, the innovations out there, most faculty and administrators really don’t know much about that stuff. And I’m sure you know this Meni, they just aren’t out there.  

They’re not on Clubhouse, I’m trying to encourage more of my colleagues to get on Clubhouse and, we had this amazing conference education conference we’re doing, and yet, it’s hard to get faculty and higher ed leaders to come on and get, become part of the discussion.

So that’s what I’m trying to do with Brighter Higher Ed is make them aware of these resources and get them to understand that this isn’t just a job. Being a department chair, you don’t just, you can’t just jump in and start from scratch and understand everything you need to do.

So that’s the goal is to really make professional development affordable, accessible, and sustainable. It’s so funny because we started this long before the current pandemic, because we wanted it to be sustainable, in the sense we don’t want people flying across the country just to do a two day workshop and spend thousands of dollars. Let’s do it online. It can be done really well online and it’s less time involved for everybody. So that’s my story.

Meni: It’s a really good website and a really good idea. And one of the things that stands out to me because I’m in the continuing ed space, the continuing education space. That’s my life. That’s my passion.

And we always talk about how the traditional higher ed system is evolving and how it’s changing and how it needs to change. And you and I have talked about continuing ed quite a bit. I wonder from your perspective, how is continuing education and its relationship with higher ed, how is that going to evolve?

How has continuing ed going to impact the future of higher ed?

Terri: I think continuing ed is the future of higher ed because we have our friends on Clubhouse, we talk about this all the time. So here I am a Stanford alum, yeah. I’m living in the same community. Why shouldn’t I be able to bill over to Stanford and say, ‘Hey, I want to sit in on a class on entrepreneurship?’ And they say, ‘okay, you’re an alum. We’re going to give you a huge discount.’ Or you can just sit in online.

Imagine, they just put the classes online, even if I just have to sit and watch any of the lectures. It’s very simple to do. Stanford should be able to do more because they’ve got so many amazing, innovative people, but I think we have to reframe continuing education just to call it lifelong learning because that’s what it is about.

We’re all gonna make career changes. Even if you’re a faculty member, you think, ‘Oh, I’m going to go and become a lecturer and spend my time doing research’ but that’s changing, even for faculty, the world is changing. Yeah. Maybe at the top institutions it’ll stay the same.

90% of institutions the faculty are going to have to learn new skills, whether it’s online teaching, whether it’s understanding the technology, different types of technology, gamification, AI, all of these things. Every faculty member is going to have to learn about this stuff. And so that means continuing education.

But, really, even for faculty is lifelong learning and then our students, want to have that lifetime access to lifelong learning. You know what frustrates me the most is I look at, Mills College is wonderful, women’s college here is closing down. I’m like, there are millions of people out there who need the educational offerings that Mills can give them and yet Mills hasn’t been able to figure out how to do that.

And I know there are so many people out there who would love to just take Mills and say, ‘let’s figure this out. Yes, you can still teach undergrads, but you should be teaching, people who didn’t finish their degrees or people who just need a certificate or people who want to take a set series of classes on English and creative writing and take it out.’

I think the part of the problem is it’s in the sense of marketing issue where continuing education has gotten a bad rap as, ‘Oh, that’s what, retirees do. Or I took a digital photography class in my spare time?’ But the reality is this is going to come front and center because we all need to develop these skills.

We all need to understand these things, as they’re developing, because everybody says this, we need liberal arts education because we don’t know what the jobs are going to be like 20 years from now. So continuing education and, really, the future of work, all the terminology we use, that’s the future of higher education.

Meni: What do you think is the best way to pitch it though, to a provost or a president to be like, ‘Hey, we are the innovative part of what we do in this institution. Come and lean on us more because we could help move forward through these changes and through the evolutions of higher ed.’ How would you pitch it to make, continuing to get a bigger piece of what the institution is doing?

Terri: I would recruit some of the faculty. Get the faculty involved, encourage them to, offer courses at night, whatever, and then start talking to the department chairs and get a whole department involved and then start talking to the dean.

It’s almost like you have to work from the top down and the bottom up because you have to get the ear of the provost because the most important ear, I think you can get in an institution is that of the provost for these kinds of things, but you can’t get it right away. You have to have a proof of concept first.

And you go out and you maybe offer two, three courses, that are taught by real life faculty. So maybe some of your more high-profile faculty. And I’ve seen this done cause you can the nice thing about doing it within your institution obviously is, engage and maybe the pitch is we need to engage our alumni.

And the alumni, remember professor X, you’d had that econ class, let’s get him to come and offer a course to our alumni and, and then you get the provost attention and the provost starts to see, this is not just, a nice thing to do for our alumni in the course of development, people are involved, but it’s a nice thing to do for our bottom line.

And that’s the, that’s what it’s going to come down to it for a lot of these institutions is that it’s a bottom-line issue. They have to generate more revenue and one of the best ways to do that is, you know, one class a year pull in each faculty member who is a really good teacher and get them to teach a course for alumni as part of your, future of work, continuing ed program. That’s the way I would pitch it.

Meni: Thank you for that. I ask everybody this question because it is such a struggle for the traditional system. Exactly. It’s such a struggle and I don’t know what it’s going to take for it to finally be realized the potential of what continuing ed can do.

But I think the more and more people we get to have a voice similar to yours and other people who could talk about the impact and the value, I think it’s going, I think it’s going to happen because you’re right, it is the future of what we’re doing. Obviously, our students, our incoming students are different types of learners.

Many of the freshmen have never learned what a college classroom is because of this pandemic. And it’s a different style and there’s different needs and there’s different goals and there’s different things that each student wants to accomplish. And it’s not necessarily in the traditional four-year system.

So it’ll be really interesting to talk through what happens as we continue these conversations on the future of education, the impact of continuing education, and what’s going to really happen to this air quote, traditional model of it education.

As for you, what do you want your legacy to be in higher ed? What do you want to leave behind when you finally retire? You’ll probably have your 10th book written. There’ll be a world-renowned author. What do you want your legacy to be?

Terri: To be honest, I feel like I’ve already gotten my legacy, which is my two boys, but they have some, they’re still growing up for, their high school and college, but that’s my number one legacy, but, I believe you’re asking me more about higher ed. I just want my legacy to be that people know that I cared and that I brought a spark of innovation into the broader realm of higher education.

You know, part of it is bringing in more black faculty, more minority faculty into the higher ed. For me, it goes all the way back to working with K through 12 students. I do a lot of volunteer work in the community to get K through 12 students primed for higher education.

But I guess what I want my legacy to be overall is just that I helped to create more access to higher education. And that means, different things, whether it’s, and that goes from, K through 12 to lifelong learning and that we, my influence help to create more access more broadly.

Meni: You are definitely doing that and going above and beyond, I would love for you to plug your book, Radical Empathy and let people know where they can find it.

Terri: Yes, the first place to look is my website, Terrigivens.com. And if you go to the radical empathy tab, there’s very various places you can order it.

If you want to go direct to the publisher, just to go to Bristol University Press and type in ‘radical empathy.’ So the full title, the book is Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridging Racial Divides. It’s also available on Amazon, but if you’re into independent bookstores, I have a link on my website to independent bookstore dot org and also any bookstore can order it. So it’s very widely available. And like I said, if you go to Bristol University Press or my website, you can also download free additional materials.

Meni: As your epilogue says, ‘there’s a long road ahead,’ but you are playing such a big role person at a time, one reader at a time, one student at a time, one administrator at a time, and helping have this conversation. Helping talk about radical empathy, structural racism, social justice, and just all the unbelievable work you do as a professor, as a leader, as an academic.

I want to thank you so much for coming on this podcast. I feel like the listeners are going to get such value and I cannot wait to see what your next book is and continue to see you on clubhouse. And other times we get to speak and collaborate together.

Thank you so much, Terri.

Terri: This has been a great pleasure, Meni. I really appreciate the work you do as well and I’ll see you on Clubhouse pretty soon.