Trauma-Informed Academic Leadership


In academic leadership, we periodically find ourselves returning to a basic orienting question: What is my role as a leader? The daily grind easily fills in answers that involve the managerial tasks of keeping an organization running from convening meetings to creating budgets. The deep-cut responses, however, get at many of the leadership intangibles that invite a different kind of attention, such as helping an organization make meaning or assisting a group to feel more reconciled moving forward than when they arrived. In short, the role of an academic leader is ultimately about catalyzing the kinds of conditions and environments that support the success and wellbeing of the students and colleagues with whom we work.

Trauma-informed leadership offers a pathway to establish and protect these conditions. In higher education, it’s not just a matter of providing resources to those primarily impacted by trauma; it’s about creating academic environments where all members of a community can thrive. Whether due to sexual violence, a car accident, racial injustice, gun violence, or a global pandemic, trauma is increasingly recognized as commonplace, and cultural as much as personal. Given this ubiquity, a trauma-informed lens on our work emerges as a leadership imperative.

To continue reading, you must be a Academic Leader Subscriber. Please log in or sign up for full access.

Related Articles

Are you signed up for free bi-weekly Academic Leader updates?

You'll get notified of the newest articles.