Fostering Appreciative Resilience

While the virtual format of the EDC 2019 Conference did not allow for fostering new and deepening existing relationships with fellow EDs from other institutions, it offered a rare opportunity for us – colleagues who otherwise work in isolation within the same institution – to connect, learn, and reflect together. The protected time to engage in rich discussions around resilience and well-being in our professional work was invaluable for me as an early career ED; the experience really illustrated that resilience is much more than an internal capacity or attribute – external resources, influences, and environment also play a central role in fostering or depleting our individual and collective resiliency.

appreciative resilience model
Appreciative Resilience Model. By Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell.

Reflecting on the week’s learning, I am taking up on Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell’s challenge during their keynote and articulating my preliminary thoughts on how I can foster more resilience in self and others:


At the personal level:

I am committed to “begin with the end in mind” (Covey, 2004) and to gather more “intentional evidence” in my own work by articulating my goals, identifying appropriate evidence to evaluate success, and designing the process to minimize the intention-impact gap (Hoessler, Ives, & Martin, 2019). The promise of specific and evidence-based feedback offered by this structured framework resonates deeply with me. This systematic approach of intentional evaluation may also offer inspirations or even opportunities to engage in action research.

At my own institution:

It was apparent that we thrived when we connect with one another and share our successes and challenges at work; I would like to be intentional in supporting resilience in my colleagues and in instructors. I am committed to proactively in reaching out to those whom I work with – simple check-ins to acknowledge their work and to invite informal discussions, with goals to make them feel appreciated and cared for (Wetherall, Hannon, & Martin, 2019). Relationships require effort and social investment to blossom and deepen; I hope that I will help foster resilience in others by fostering our mutual relationships.

Beyond my institution:

I enjoyed the collegial collaboration in creating our EDC presentation with fellow early-career EDs across the country (Building bridges instead of walls: Drawing on collective wisdom to navigate the contradictions of educational development as an early career professional). I felt that this supportive learning community is instrumental in regenerating my sense of resilience, motivation, and hope in my work. Having a safe space to celebrate our successes and to share our struggles with each other reminds me of our individual and collective capacity to support resilience in ourselves and in others.

Going back to “Hope” in Joan and Jeanie’s Appreciative Resilience Model, perhaps we may even be able to influence our environment – institutional culture and structures – to further foster resilience!

How do you foster resilience in yourself and others?


Early-Career Educational Developers Action Group

I have recently joined the newly formed EDC Early-Career Educational Developers Action Group – to co-investigate the experience of being an early-career educational developer (ED). While my hope is to contribute to this worthwhile effort for new EDs navigate their role, I know the real beneficiary will be me throughout this process – with structured opportunities to collaborate nationally, to reflect my own lived experiences, to articulate my questions, to examine my assumptions and beliefs, and many more learning opportunities. Already, I experience a deep sense of trust, belonging, and comunity, despite the fact that I have never met any of the group members in-person and have only connected virtually on a few occasions.

Guided by our current contexts and emerging needs, we collaborate to develop resources to build our collective capacity in navigating challenges and opportunities in our roles as early-career EDs. At the moment, the group is gearing up to present an interactive workshop at the EDC 2019 virtual conference Building bridges instead of walls: Drawing on collective wisdom to navigate the contradictions of educational development as an early career professional. Our goal is to consider how we, as individuals and as a community through EDC, can better support EDs’ resilience in their navigation of the contradictory nature of the work, with special emphasis on supporting EDs early in their careers. We are looking forward to learning with and from the EDC community.

Our longer-term plan is to conduct a series of surveys and interviews to distill the unique experiences of early-career EDs with goals to put together a guide for new EDs!

NJAW 2018 – How to use MasterMind Groups in Educational Development

“A mastermind group is created when two or more people come together to work towards a purpose. Individual members set goals and seek to accomplish these. Meetings provide support in a group setting and often involve feedback, brainstorming, sharing resources and peer accountability.” – Dr. Isabeau Iqbal

It was such a honour and privilege to collaborate with Dr. Isabeau Iqbal in facilitating the 2018 EDC Not Just Another Webinar – How to use Mastermind Groups in Educational Development. We shared our respective experiences with the use of a mastermind group (MMG) to complete an internal project – highlighting the collaborative, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all involved. We collaborated with the EDC community to generate ideas on the use of MMG in our respective contexts and developed strategies to address anticipated challenges associated with structuring and facilitating MMG.

It was so fun, energizing, and validating to engage with such a lively audience at such an early stage of my ED career. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity to contribute to the ED community and to learn from such a thoughtful mentor!

We have prepared a list of resources and curated a list of participant-generated response and questions during the session on Padlet.

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