Many thanks to Univ of California at Santa Barbara for their warm hospitality in hosting me for a couple of weeks as part of my sabbatical. Santa Barbara is a magical place with breathtaking views and beautiful architecture. The club and guest house on campus came with a lagoon view, right next to the beach. My morning walk included sights of large palm trees, large egrets, bougainvillea wall carpet, Spanish-style buildings, and hundreds of students on bicycles.
I was delighted to get to share my talk on "Difficult dialogues, anti-racism, and inclusive communication: Transforming classrooms, campuses, and communities" with the UCSB Comm Department faculty and grad students. It was the first-ever brownbag luncheon talk hosted by the department. Here are some email responses that I received after this talk:
"Thank you so much for taking the time to present to us. So many good ideas....we are wrestling with many of the issues you discussed. It was extremely refreshing to hear thoughtful, "do-able" ideas and activities from someone who is outside our department and somewhat objective. I know that you changed my thinking in a couple of areas!"
"Thank you so much for your time and insights, Srivi. It was so inspiring to see you diving into the concerns of other departments as part of your attempt to work on "community healing""
"Thank you for an absolutely wonderful talk. I'm grateful for your willingness to share your ideas and insights with our faculty and students. It's great to see the research and outreach efforts you're doing."
I met some wonderful faculty, staff, and grad students in this department. I was especially grateful to spend quality time with the amazing Dr. Dana Mastro and Emerita Professor Dr. Linda Putnam (who was my former colleague and mentor while at Texas A&M). It was a fun coincidence that my stay at UCSB coincided with the sabbatical of another fellow Penn Stater: Dr. Saras Bellur (Associate Professor at UConn). As luck would have it, our common mentor and professor from Penn State University, Dr. Shyam Sundar, was also visiting UCSB at the same time to give a talk there.
During my stay at UCSB, I also visited CalPoly (California PolyTechnic), which is located about 1.5 hours North of Santa Barbara in the gorgeous San Luis Obispo town close to the ocean. My talk saw a full house (with about 160 people, including some sitting on the floor in the back). I spoke on "Campus climate, racial microaggressions, and inclusive communication." It was lovely to reconnect with former Texas A&M PhD student, Dr. Andrea Terry. I feel grateful to Dr. Anu Dhillon for hosting me on this beautiful campus. Some of the responses that I received via email after my talk are as follows:
"Thank you so much again for your talk yesterday. It was inspiring to hear about a campus that has taken action against racism, biases, and microaggressions, as this is something I hope Cal Poly will work hard to prevent at our own campus. "
"I wasn't taking notes as I didn't want to miss the impact your words were having on everyone. And ... I was very happy to learn that a micro aggression doesn't mean a 'little' one! Thank you again for your caring yet firm approach to this much misunderstood topic."
"I attended your discussion yesterday at Cal Poly and I was very impressed with all of your talking points. I truly felt that I walked away with more knowledge and insight on campus climate and overall communication."
"...... I wanted to thank you, again, for sharing your research and ideas. I was very inspired after the seminar and as the Secretary of [Name retracted]Club at Cal Poly, I've made it my mission to make my club and, hopefully, my major more inclusive in diverse individuals. If you host another seminar at Cal Poly, I will definitely be in attendance. I also hope to read your book on the subject in the future! Thank you for sharing your insights!"
"I met you during your talk at Cal Poly and I was extremely amazed and inspired hearing from you. It was so nice to meet you!"
Thank you so much to UCSB and CalPoly for making my visit to Southern California a memorable, fun, and productive one!