Faculty promote compassion through city-wide training effort

July 16, 2020

Drs. Driskill, Zanca complete San Antonio Compassionate Institute

SAN ANTONIO – Two faculty from the H-E-B School of Business and Administration are among 160 educators to complete the San Antonio Compassionate Institute, a training program that equips educators to prioritize compassion in their classrooms.

Drs. Trish Driskill and Nursen Zanca participated in the program across June and July to learn new ways of bringing compassion to the classroom.

Dr. Trish Driskill

The institute is organized by Compassionate San Antonio, a grassroots initiative that encourages the community and educators to practice compassion and understanding. Compassionate San Antonio seeks to impart basic human values as skills for the purpose of increasing individual, social and environmental compassion. The courses at the institute were delivered online by trainers from around the world.

Dr. Driskill, a member of the HEBSBA accounting faculty, said the goal was to focus not on perfection, but on a progression toward a more compassionate San Antonio starting with the city's educators.

“The institute provided so many learning opportunities, from self-compassion to inclusivity of individuals outside of our in-groups, discernment, and how everyone has a different perspective based on their life experiences,” Dr. Driskill said.

Drs. Driskill and Zanca worked with other university professors as well as K-12 educators throughout the coursework. Working with educators from all levels helps to empower teachers and professors to better understand how to demonstrate compassion toward students throughout their education.

Dr. Nursen Zanca

“It is very important to train students in our classes toward more compassion in their lives. That is the way we can plant the seeds of compassion - by making changes in our students' lives,” said Dr. Zanca, who is part of the economics faculty. “It was a pleasure to meet other faculty and administrators across San Antonio. In addition, the timing of the training during COVID-19 was an added benefit.”

Completing the training during the COVID-19 pandemic provided a fresh perspective on compassion at a time when many students are facing uncertainty and instability.

“Some of my methods and ideas for incorporating more compassion in the classroom are to include different mediums for all voices to be valued and heard. Allowing different perspectives to be shared contributes to a more inclusive learning environment in order to create UIW's concerned and enlightened citizens,” Dr. Driskill said.

Successfully integrating the concepts learned through the institute will be vital to the success of students ahead of a uniquely challenging academic year.

Click here to learn more about Compassionate San Antonio.