Member Spotlight: Kayleigh Baker

What is a challenge you face doing Title IX work?

I think with anything in the Title IX sphere, the work can be a bit isolating. If you’re in a small department, or a one-person department, there are not many people you can decompress, vent, or brainstorm with in a meaningful way. On top of that, on campus, you may be seen as someone to avoid because no one wants to be in trouble. I think the biggest problem with this challenge is that if you’re not careful, it can quickly lead to burnout or other issues personally and professionally.

What is a successful achievement you have had doing Title IX work?

A former supervisor encouraged me to keep a “happy folder,” and so the small things that happen out of the blue — the (rare) thank you letter from a Complainant or a note from a group you spoke with, I keep in that folder. I like to think that folder represents the most successful achievement(s) I’ve had in this space.

What is an ATIXA resource or tool that has aided you?

The certification courses are great, of course. Whether it’s an Investigator course or the New Regs Implementation course, you know you’re getting training that has been tweaked and tested and then probably tweaked again. Whether you come in with some experience, or you come in at nothing, those courses will make sure you leave with an understanding of how things should be done.

On top of that, we’ve also utilized the retainer consulting packages that have allowed us to have not only another set of eyes, but an expert set of eyes on our new policy before presenting it to our various stakeholders.

What is the value of ATIXA membership for you?

During the many crises that Title IX Coordinators have faced in 2020, ATIXA has stepped up in a great way. The amount of resources that have been shared with the Super Members, without nickel and diming any of us, has honestly been a huge relief. It really has cemented the value of the membership because it’s paid for itself over and over again many times since May.

How has ATIXA helped you to be a better professional?

I think ATIXA has allowed me to become a better professional by allowing me to rely on others outside of my circle. For one, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel anytime I need a resource. There are seemingly limitless resources in the member library. Plus, members share resources on the listserv quite frequently. In turn, this has also helped me to be a better member of our community by sharing the resources that I develop and participating in the questions and discussions that are posed within the listserv.

What is one way you practice self-care doing such intense work?

For me? Remembering to not take myself too seriously is huge. The stuff we deal with every day is serious enough and can be isolating in a lot of ways. Trying to find the humor is key, even if most people might think we’ve lost it. On the other hand, a big piece of self-care for me is binge watching tv shows — sometimes the escapism is nice (and sometimes it helps you come up with hypotheticals for training!)

What is one piece of advice you would offer your fellow practitioners?

Don’t feel like you’re in this alone. The idea of a full-time Title IX Coordinator, let alone a “Title IX Team” is something that is new to the education community. Ever-changing regulations don’t make this any easier… Even if you’re a one-person “team” right now, you don’t have to do this alone. Get plugged in with other people who are dealing with these issues, other people you can run situations by, other people who get it, it makes all the difference! If you don’t know where to find other people, join ATIXA. We’re in the listserv.