ACE faculty member talks giving back through education
December 13, 2017
Each week, American College of Education shares #WednesdayWisdom from the sages on our staff, faculty, student, and alumni rolls. This week’s wisdom comes courtesy of Dr. Sunddip Aguilar, a doctoral instructional faculty member in the Department of Leadership and 2017 Faculty Award for Excellence Winner.
It’s one thing to nurture your own growth. It’s another to plant seeds in others.
That’s the kind of communal ethos Dr. Sunddip Aguilar tries to cultivate in her students. “Regardless of the program that they’re in and regardless of what they create–if it’s a capstone assignment, if it’s a master’s thesis, if it’s a doctoral dissertation–it really doesn’t matter,” she says. “I always encourage students to pick something where they can take it back and they can actually implement it right away. I’m not talking about just research. I’m talking about making a big social change.”
For educators, that change starts with encouraging students to step into their own power. “You’re obviously getting a degree and educating yourself, so now how do you make your students become future leaders?” Sunddip continues. “What tasks can you give back to them based on what you have learned in this program [to] say, ‘You can do this one day, too’?”
Sunddip also advises educators to ask themselves how they can be a resource to their peers and strengthen their own academic community. “You know, when I was in the doctoral program, it wasn’t about just about me,” she says. “It was about me getting a doctorate degree and [asking], ‘How do I give back to the community?’ I got this doctoral degree and then I shared this knowledge back, and then I supported people who wanted to take any ideas that I had learned and expand them further.”
“My dad always said, ‘If you give back to people, they will serve you well in the future,’” she adds. “I give back to people and somehow, some way, it has come back to me tenfold. This is not a competition. It’s about helping each other and lifting each other up.”