Higher Education

Investing in Your Students

A short video clip focused on how authenticity can bridge gaps between instructors and students

Hear how being real from the start and problem solving with students provides critical support to help them succeed mentally and academically.


Michael Gerard Mason:

One of the things that I think is really important to me as we begin to commit to one another to learn with each other, I think it’s important that we start at the human level to say we are all in this together and we are going to be human together, which includes all of the other stuff, right?

Because I’m not interested in living in the facade that everybody’s brilliant, everybody’s always brilliant, everybody’s always performing brilliantly. If we don’t address it early, you know that there will be times where we have to carry one another. I think we start to give in and collude with some of these fantasies our students bring into the classroom. So I definitely start right away.

The second is if I just speak specifically about what we do here at UVA, in University of Virginia, we’re really invested in problem solving because what we know is every problem a student has to solve on their own is actually going to be amplified because they’re going to be relying on peers to help them. So for us, we try to resolve the things that we can resolve and then extend resources on the things that just take working through.

And I think that’s something to talk about as a faculty member to say, I’m in the business of learning and the better you feel, the more adjusted you are, the more you feel belonging, the more likely you are to do what I need you to do. So I’m invested in that, and here are the ways that I’ll be checking in, and here are the ways that my colleagues and the university will help me make sure that you get the best out of this class. And I also do that on the first day of class as well.