Sam Craighead

Image of Sam Craighead, Learning Experience Manager, Office of Distance Education and eLearning

Manager, Learning Experience
Office of Distance Education and eLearning

Why did you want to become an advocate? What drew you to this initiative?

During the November 2016 election I was deeply moved by the excitement of my female peers and colleagues who were able to vote for a female presidential candidate—and it looked like she was going to win! I had thought of myself as a feminist before, but what was I really doing to change the status quo? I went looking for ways I could be more involved—as a volunteer and donor, but also in my day-to-day work. I found out about Advocates and Allies through a posting in onCampus and immediately signed up to attend a facilitation. Afterward, I approached leaders in my department about hosting our own.

How has learning about male privilege and educating other men about male privilege changed you?

I’ve read that one of the best ways to learn something is to try to teach it to someone else. The conversations we have are difficult and uncomfortable. It’s been a challenge to lean into the discomfort, but every conversation has been a little bit easier than the last. Each has given me the opportunity to think about something in my own life that I haven’t before and identify more things I should be doing to become a better ally.

How do you bring what you learned back to your colleagues? How has being an advocate changed the way you interact with men and women at Ohio State?

I listen more. When someone says something off base, instead of trying to change the subject or ignoring it and moving on, I’ll start a conversation.

How has your involvement had a “ripple effect” on your department?

I don’t deserve any credit here, but I think our department’s involvement and approval (see below) has made a difference.

What kinds of changes, small or big, have you noticed in your unit since conducting the facilitation?

Since our department has endorsed the program, conversations around equity, diversity, and representation are common now. There’s a greater awareness of the difference in experience that women and people of color have had in their lives and careers—at OSU and elsewhere—and there’s a desire to make change.

What impact do you think this program will have long term on the culture and climate of Ohio State?

Culture change is slow, but I’ve seen “Aha!” moments in every facilitation I’ve been part of, and that was encouraging. The more people that participate, the more people acknowledge a need to change, hopefully leading to more people and programs aligned to the same goals, turning the ripple into a wave.

What can men do to continue to be advocates and allies for equity?

Listen to women, believe what they have to say, and commit to doing better—at work, at home, and everywhere in between.