U of A’s Meade Featured in ‘Safe Spaces’ Professional Development Videos

U of A's Meade Featured in 'Safe Spaces' Professional Development Videos

Photo Submitted

The U of A’s Lynn Meade was recently featured as the subject matter expert in a video series about “Communication Strategies for Creating Safe Spaces” for Starlink, a higher education professional development organization.

Meade is co-director of the U of A’s Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center, a teaching assistant professor in the Office of Student Success and communication instructor in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Each year, Starlink polls university deans, presidents, directors and faculty development leaders to inquire about what topics need to be developed. They overwhelmingly said they wanted training on communication and conflict topic, which led them to Meade.

“It all started with a message from a former student,” Meade said. “She wrote to me that she had a relative who was making training videos for teachers who asked her if she knew any teachers who might be good at sharing teaching tips, to which she responded, ‘I told him that you were the best teacher I know.'”

Through her extensive communication expertise and now these videos, Meade has helped support higher education professionals from across the globe, including those at the U of A, in Texas community and state colleges, the United States military, United States embassies and more.

“A few years ago, I worked alongside Rachel Glade from the College of Education and Health ProfessionsCommunication Sciences and Disorders Department to develop programs on safe and brave spaces in the classroom. This topic really resonated with faculty, and it led to some powerful discussions,” Meade said.

“In addition, I teach ‘Communication in a Diverse World,’ where we talk about sensitive topics and communication strategies. Because of this, I have a strong academic and practical knowledge for the sorts of difficult conversations that faculty are having,” she added.

Meade’s Starlink video series also accompanied resources and supplemental materials to build units featuring topics like setting the tone, de-escalation, conversation with civility, safe spaces, confirmation bias, communication tips and navigating trigger points.

“Given the current climate, leaders felt like faculty needed ideas for how to communicate with students,” said Rick Walker, executive director of Starlink. “They especially wanted strategies to think about and to apply to those difficult dialogues.”

Meade said that she was also able to use ideas from her work with the Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center to help create these videos.

“At the University of Arkansas, we are privileged to have so much support for teaching; not all institutions have people dedicated to faculty development,” Meade said. “I was thrilled to extend this support and demonstrate how teachers can thoughtfully and proactively lead these meaningful discussions in their classrooms.”