Centering Relationships in Higher Education

Oct 30, 2022

We know that human connection makes a difference for everyone on campus—including faculty. The winter 2023 Provost Conference on February 2 and 3 will explore these relational intersections. In the meantime, here are a few books that articulate the importance of relationships and how to build them:


Brown, Adrienne Maree. Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation. AK Press, 2021.

Following up on Emergent Strategy, brown offers tools for facilitating meaningful action in the midst of ongoing and often unsettling change. brown’s text is centered in Black Feminism, and engages speculative fiction, meditative work, and facilitation approaches.


Felten, Peter, and Leo M. Lambert. Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College. JHU Press, 2020.

Lambert and Felten argue that relationships drive student success and sense of purpose more than anything else. Their book details ways various campuses have cultivated meaningful relationship-based cultures in research, teaching, and service.


Gaard, Greta, and Bengü Ergüner-Tekinalp, eds. Contemplative Practices and Anti-oppressive Pedagogies for Higher Education: Bridging the Disciplines. Routledge, 2022.

This edited volume emerged from eco-feminist and contemplative pedagogy work, and offers examples of how to use contemplative pedagogies for learning that engages with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. The book contains ideas for the classroom, but also for self-care.


Kuh, George D., and Shaun R. Harper. Delivering on the Promise of High-Impact Practices: Research and Models for Achieving Equity, Fidelity, Impact, and Scale. Stylus Publishing, 2022.

High-impact practices have been shown to increase educational outcomes for all students, but particularly historically marginalized ones. This book explores why this might be, and focuses on mentoring and other relationships.


Neuhaus, Jessamyn. Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers. West Virginia University Press, 2019.

This pedagogy book uses the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and other learning science to argue for creating a inclusive and welcoming classrooms, and offers tips for how “geeks” can share their passion with students who come from a variety of entry points.

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