How to Fail Better: A Web-based Project on Risk, Failure and Equity in Higher Ed

Published: March 31, 2022 By ,

“Dear Fails…” is a project about failure and risk taking in college. We think about failure and risk a lot in our own teaching and work, and we tend to view them as generally positive if sometimes scary, uncomfortable, frustrating, or even flat-out avoided. But those are OUR assumptions. This project is really about YOU. We wanted to make a space where students could give voice to their ideas about failure and risk taking in their academic lives. By inviting conversation on these topics, we hope to learn what we don’t know about students’ experiences with risk and ultimately help students fail better.

How to contribute: 

We’re inviting students to share their experiences with failure by writing a love letter or a break-up letter to a failure. Write directly to a failed experience. Is it something you’ve come to value, even if it was tough at the time? Write a love letter. Is it something that still hurts and is hard to think about? Write a break-up letter. Letters can be as long or as short as you want. All contributions are anonymous. Just click the following Mural link to get started!

Just a heads up: Working in the Mural board requires going through a web browser, not the Mural app. It works better on a desktop or laptop than on a phone. Also, when you go to the Mural board, you'll get a prompt asking for your name. This is completely OPTIONAL. Simply click "Enter as a visitor" to bypass the name option and contribute anonymously to the board.

Who are we? We’re Elizabeth (Beth) Pugliano and Mazdak Shadkam. Beth is an art historian in the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver; Mazdak is an artist and researcher in the College of Liberal Arts at the Oregon State University. We’re two scholars, creatives and educators who share an interest — derived from both personal experience and experiences with students and in our classes — in failure and risk taking as essential but often challenging parts of intellectual and creative growth. We’re SUPER excited to be working together on this project and can’t wait to see what you share.