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Shawn Moore and Dr. Brandon W. Jones “Black Panther Syllabus, Representation, and Taking a Mental Health Day”



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by dr. Saby Labor in Audio, Blog, Resources
May 1, 2018 0 comments

This episode is an engaging exploration of two impressive higher ed professionals who are dedicated to the work of inclusion and have manifested their academic work with their personal passions through the incredible Black Panther Syllabus. Learn more about their respective stories, how they met, their perspectives on mental health, and the importance of representation of people of color in the media. #WakandaForever

About Shawn J. Moore:
In between reading comics, checking out the latest movies, collecting FUNKO Pops (yes, he has a mad obsession), and an occasional round with his PS4, Shawn is a Ph.D. student at Mercer University in the Educational Leadership program (concentration in Higher Education), where he explores student leadership and identity development for black gay/queer identifying men in his research. Shawn is engaged in a dual career path, one that provides him with experience in student affairs/administration leadership and communications/marketing. He is currently Associate Dean for Residential Education and Morehouse College, host of the MINDFUL REBEL LEADERSHIP PODCAST, photographer, and graphic designer.

About Dr. Brandon W. Jones:
Dr. Jones is the Associate Director for Student Learning and Development at University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. His research interests include intercollegiate athletics, minority student achievement, and academic support programs. He and his wife, Melissa, have been married since 2011 and they have 2 children, Alissa and Brandon II.

Read Full Transcript

Show Highlights:

  • Learn more about each of our guest’s distinct salient identities 05:22
  • Hear more about how these two amazing folks came together and the respective work they do 09:08
  • Learn about both Shawn’s experience currently in and Brandon reflections on being black and in a PhD program 33:09
  • Shawn and Brandon share out a few awesome resources for any professional 53:51
  • Our guests share valuable guidance to college inclusion professionals 1:00:28

Notable Quotes:

  • (About the Black Panther Syllabus and representation) “I think the most important thing that we both came to was “representation”. I think that was the big theme of the work that we’re doing right now. I think that we’re both pushing and stressing this…not concept, but this idea that people need to see folks that look like them and talk like them and come from where they come from in these spaces…in popular media, in higher education, in politics forever and that’s why the syllabus is packed with not just primarily academics. I mean, we reached out to people from the barbershops, the church, the school, I mean everybody wanted to contribute, we gave a pretty fair shot at putting something in that syllabus, because that representation mattered and we knew that through Twitter we would do a better job of reaching people who won’t be in our classrooms or on our campuses, but they’ll be on social media.” BRANDON 11:03
  • “When I think about the concept of self-authorship, I think it’s really about helping students find themselves and step into being their best self​. I know I say that a lot, but I think that that really rings true in the work that we do that we know students have a direction. We know that they know intrinsically who they are especially this demographic of students that we work with​.” SHAWN 25:16
  • “One of the things to really think about or to be honest with yourself about is mental health is real, particularly in that because that level of imposter syndrome and not feeling like you’re measuring up can definitely weigh on you. That’s something over the second year I would say has been a really difficult year in terms of being honest about how much that level of imposter syndrome is affecting me not only in the program, but affecting me in other places.” SHAWN 34:00
    “(Having a PhD) Is required for us to continue to have a seat at the table…” SHAWN 44:30
  • “The biggest piece of advice that I got was… Be yourself. It is so important in this field to not try to mimic and clone yourself off of another person you admire. There’s things that you can take, bits and pieces you can glean from other people, but the best advice I got was when one of my supervisor’s told me, ‘You don’t have to be me​.'” BRANDON 1:00:31
  • “Remember your “Why?”. I think it’s really important in this field, because no matter where you are in student affairs or higher ed, it is going to be a time-intensive, labor-intensive type of work, especially if we’re going to show up for our students the way we really want to show up for our students.” SHAWN 1:03:56

Today’s inspirational quote comes from a post-credit clip of the film, Black Panther, spoken by the character T’Challa:
“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” 1:11:56

Links Mentioned:


Click here to start your free trial of Audible and download your copy of Shawn and Brandon’s recommended book for free: “The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking” by Chris Anderson or “Strengthsfinder 2.0” by Tom Rath

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