Collaboration with faculty members will be critical in designing and implementing human rights curriculum. Faculty can have a wealth of valuable information about navigating through your school’s administration and can offer thoughtful contributions and advice. A good relationship with a faculty member can also make your case much stronger in the wider university community.
Finding Interested Faculty
- Use your networking skills and current relationships on campus to find out who are the best faculty members to approach.
- Do some research online and on campus to find out if your initiatives coincide with any faculty member’s interests or if they have done educational reform before.
- Engage your chapter faculty advisor by explaining your initiatives and ask him/her to connect you with any other relevant university members.
- Approach your current professors and attempt to collaborate with them. If they are not able to work with you then ask them to put you in contact with someone who can.
- Arrange meetings with department heads and present your plans and ideas to them; ask them what your next steps should be and who you could be in touch with to strengthen your efforts.
Examples of What They Can Offer
- Expertise and experience in the design of the course (regarding topics, format, and resources available).
- Institutional knowledge for determining the best people to connect with/venues to navigate.
- Access or ideas for funding sources.
- Ideas for building legitimacy and need for the course.
- Editing assistance for any proposals or documents that you need to submit to the school.
Faculty members are extremely busy. To ensure accountability on their part, it is best to develop an ongoing work plan with them for getting everything approved and taken care of.
Sample Email for Initial Contact
Dear [insert name],
My name is [insert name] and I am [chapter position] at the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) [school name] chapter. I am contacting you because our chapter is in the process of trying to incorporate a health and human rights curriculum into the [type of school, i.e. SPH] and I want to invite you to be a part of our efforts.
Our student chapter recognizes the strong link between health and human rights and understands the importance of incorporating the health and human rights paradigm into our academic training to become the most effective and knowledgeable health professionals we can be.
The PHR National Student Program is committed to supporting our chapter in putting this curriculum in place and will provide us with as many resources as possible. I believe with your support, our chapter could be much more successful in reaching our goal of implementing this critical educational framework. Your expertise and institutional knowledge would be instrumental in applying a curriculum like this.
I would be thrilled if we could set up a time to discuss this project further. Please contact me via email at [insert email address] or phone at [insert phone number]. I look forward to speaking with you.
Appendix: Criteria Checklist for Ensuring Effective Meetings with Faculty
The following checklists will help ensure your meetings with faculty are comprehensive and build needed individual and departmental commitment and investment in HHRE. Please note that these lists are loosely suggested checklists for the first three meetings to provide general direction. They are flexible, depending on the pace of progress you have as you continue to meet.
First-time Meeting Agenda – Checklist:
- Explain the need for a formal health and human rights educational curriculum
- Explain your chapter’s vision for establishing the curriculum and framework
- Explain the connection to them or the reason you have approached this specific faculty member
- Invite them to get involved
- Give him/her concrete examples of ways to get involved, such as:
- Aiding in the publicity and advocacy for gaining support
- Suggesting funding sources and/or ideas
- Planning and designing the proposed course and curriculum
- Teaching or facilitating the course
- Recruiting other faculty or administrative members to get involved
- Providing the necessary university contacts for getting new curriculum in place
- Schedule follow-up meeting and next steps
Second-time Meeting Agenda – Checklist:
- Give update on the work that you have done and where you are in the process
- Go through and review all of the resources and materials you have
- Brainstorm ideas for the proposal to the university or come to an agreement on one
- Discuss a tentative timeline for the work that needs to be done
- Schedule follow-up meeting and next steps
Third-time Meeting Agenda – Checklist:
- Give update on the status of your work
- Establish a work-plan for what needs to be done
- Revise timeline or create new one to fit with the work-plan and try to set deadlines for work that needs to be done by you and the faculty member
- Make plans for following up and next steps