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Table of Contents:

Invitation

The tenet of invitation seeks to welcome perspectives that span theoretical, personal, and professional boundaries. For undergraduate research assistants (RAs),

TABLE 5.1 Participants’ academic rank at the time of survey

Name

Academic rank

# of semesters in the WRC

Ann

Professor

5

joe

Senior lecturer

5

Megan

PhD candidate, 4th year

5

Jason

PhD candidate, 3rd year

4

Nathan

PhD student, 1st year

1

Jeremy

PhD student, 1st year

1

Saveena

PhD student, 1st year

1

Bilal

Undergraduate researcher

1

Laura

Undergraduate researcher

1

Alexander

Undergraduate researcher

2

TABLE 5.2 Participants’ responses to Question 1

Please use a semester.

word or a phrase to describe your overall experience as a member of the WRC this

Ann

“Consider a hammock. With design thinking, we are suspended by tension, often in directions with contrasting needs (faculty/student; grad/undergrad; writing/TPC; independent/collaborative). Yet such tension is required to exist, to move, to suspend. . . . Like a hammock, one has to ‘plunge’ a bit into the WRC, and immediately you find yourself moving with it.”

Joe

“Emergent creativity—as satisfying as sitting down to write and wondering what’s going to happen.”

Megan

“Energizing.”

Jason

“Productive. I feel that I have done/written a lot as a member here. WRC truly is an incubator for ideas and research activities that span beyond my regular graduate curriculum.”

Nathan

“Equitable and enthusiastic.”

Jeremy

“Collegial.”

Chakrika

“Collaborative work.”

Bilal

“Welcoming of all ideas, no matter how abstract.”

Laura

“Virtual reality exploration.”

Alexander

“Engaging!”

invitation was perceived as an effort that encouraged them to participate in graduate-level research activities, including inquiries that were deemed ambiguous at first. In his response, Bilal (RA) wrote:

I feel like the RAs were included in a lot of the graduate activity and discussion which ushered a sense of interest for us.

For the graduate-student participants, invitation was perceived as implicit and a welcoming effort. They reported that even new members of the collaboratory have equal opportunities to contribute to the overall mission of the organization. For faculty members, to achieve invitation means to actively keep the doors of the collaboratory open, and seek out opportunities where invitations can be extended. It also means to resist conventional power relationships in formal hierarchies (faculty-student, graduate-undergraduate, older-younger scholar, etc.) and allow everyone in the collaborator)' a fair opportunity to participate in the ongoing discussions and decision-making processes.

Sharing

Sharing in radical collaboration means nurturing empathy to foster authentic interactions. When ideas are shared and workshopped, collaborator)' members sought to empathize with the sharer’s intentions. From the participants’ reflection, sharing was deemed an important tool to flatten power hierarchy by giving all members the opportunity to share leadership. Each week during the semester, WRC members took turns to chair the collaboratory meeting while everyone collectively contributed to generating and documenting the meeting agendas and records. Sharing was also achieved by the means of collaborative technology, as graduate student Megan wrote:

We are very sharing-heavy, in general, in terms of how frequently we email each other, how we share items on the agenda each week, and how we use Google Drive. I really appreciate how, even with all of this sharing, nobody seems to feel proprietary, which shows me just how important a sense of trust is in a group like this one.

For the undergraduate RAs, sharing was a way for them to learn by doing. For graduate students, sharing was about opening up spaces for critique and taking a leading role at times so others may follow successful examples. For faculty members, sharing afforded more scholarly activities that were difficult to spearhead on their own; examples included the “pop-up” events the WRC hosted on campus and other graduate student co-teaching activities.

Collaboration

Certainly, for radical collaboration, the tenet of collaboration was most prominent. As presented in Table 5.3, the participants rated collaboration with the highest median and mean scores. Genuine collaboration resists hierarchical structures, invite and welcome perspectives across disciplinary' and institutional boundaries. In their responses, the undergraduate RAs noted how collaboration was a constant effort they saw in the collaboratory, as they were paired with graduate students and faculty members to assist in respective teaching and/or research activities. Graduate students and faculty members found that collaboration required a certain level of energy to actively engage with one another, while keeping individual research interests. This almost became challenging for senior lecturer Joe, who wrote:

There were so many opportunities to collaborate that I found myself withdrawing a bit so as not to overcommit.

At the same time, however, collaboration was what kept the collaboratory’s momentum throughout the semester and helped its members stay productive. Undergraduate RA Laura stated:

Collaboration for me was also achieved through projects that I did for my classes that I was able to leverage/relate to my work with the Collaboratory. . . such as a brochure I made [for a class], and interviewing people for the podcast that I’m currently working on.

Laura’s testimony was also an instance of how the work at the collaboratory added value to her classes. In fact, her collaboration with WRC member Megan has led to a podcast project that Laura created for a class in science and technology.

 
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