Special Issue 1: Higher Education and COVID-19

If you use any material from articles that have appeared in the Working Paper series and need to cite it, please use the recommended citation which is at the bottom of the first page of each article in an issue. Please contact  butler-advance@purdue.edu if you have any questions.


  1. Academic Labor and the Global Pandemic: Revisiting Life-Work Balance under COVID-19
    Megha Anwer
    Purdue University

    This essay analyzes the contours of the life-work balance debate that have emerged for academics under the COVID 19 pandemic. The essay focuses, in particular, on the differential kinds of material and emotional labor that women of color, international scholars, academics who have chosen/found themselves in non-normative familial and living situations, have to undertake. In doing so, the author critiques the neoliberal trends within dominant contemporary discourse, such as the demand that people without children should take on extra work to offset the hardships of their colleagues with children.

  2. Experiences of Life in a Pandemic: A university community coping with coronavirus
    Kimberly E. Fox and Norma J. Anderson
    Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts

    Using survey data from a convenience sample of faculty, librarians, and staff, this paper explores how employees at a state university, located in a heavily affected region of the U.S., experienced early changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary findings suggest a low-level of trust in the national government and high prevalence of adherence to public health guidelines. Results show that lower-level staff, part-time faculty, and parents experienced more stress and underscores how existing levels of inequality and privilege are heightened during the crisis. These results will guide future qualitative interviews to better understand the experiences of campus personnel.

  3. Contemplating Course Comments, COVID-19 Crisis Communication Challenges, and Considerations – Change vs Color?
    Marie Allsopp
    Purdue University

    Scholarly literature clearly establishes that female faculty are subjected to gender and racial bias on student evaluations of teaching. However, studies are lacking on how times of prolonged crisis may influence students’ perceptions of underrepresented minority (URM) female faculty. Although receiving negative feedback is dreaded in academia, receiving criticism amid a prolonged pandemic is unprecedented in modern times. Five communication challenges emerged from a thematic analysis of student comments from two upper-division courses at the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester. While on the surface these claims appear to make a strong case for change, this article discusses whether they could also be considered as colored perceptions.

  4. Being an International Student in the Age of COVID-19
    Jaya Bhojwani, Eileen Joy, Abigail Hoxsey, and Amanda Case
    Purdue University

    International students comprise a significant portion of U.S. postsecondary students. And yet, even before the pandemic, international students have not received the support they need. To explore international student experiences of the pandemic, 120 international students completed an online survey. Results revealed that international students have experienced a number of interrelated concerns since the start of the pandemic, including financial instability, inadequate health insurance, and experiences of discrimination. In addition, study participants described feeling forgotten and discriminated against in university responses to the pandemic. This paper give voice to those concerns and discusses implications for university advocacy and programming.

  5. Stranded on Calypso’s Island: Cornerstone, COVID, and power of transformative texts
    Amanda Mayes and Melinda S. Zook
    Purdue University

    This essay is primarily based on the stories Purdue students in the Cornerstone program told about the life during quarantine in the spring of 2020. From the jolt of suddenly leaving residential life in mid-March, to the slow, often painful acceptance of their new lives, Purdue students adapted to homebound isolation and online instruction. The Cornerstone faculty were equally jarred and had to transition their active learning classes to the virtual world, while seeking to maintain connectivity with their students. And, while their 1,724 students lost the face-to-face interaction that Cornerstone was built on, they gained a newfound connection to their readings in Transformative Texts. This is a story of loss, gain and resilience.

  6. Managing Uncertainty in a Pandemic: Transitioning multi-section courses to online delivery
    Jennifer Hall, Bailey C. Benedict, Elise Taylor, and Seth P. McCullock
    Purdue University

    The transition to remote learning due to the pandemic presented the authors with the challenge of moving around 65 sections of a presentational speaking class online (COM 114) and managing the uncertainty and emotional stress of more than 40 instructors and over 2000 students. This paper describes the authors concerns when transitioning the course online, including teaching a traditionally in-person class online and managing instructors’ and students’ uncertainty using uncertainty management theory as a lens. They also explain the actions they took to transition COM 114 online, as well as the lessons learned from the transition.

  7. Increasing Access to Food through a Rural Community Pharmacy Initiative
    Jasmine Gonzalvo and Claire Schumann
    Purdue University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital

    In this reflection paper, the authors describe a Purdue College of Pharmacy-led project aimed at addressing temporary food insecurity needs during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Jasmine Gonzalvo, Director of the Center for Health Equity and Innovation (CHEqI), led a small team of four doctoral pharmacy students to reach out to independent pharmacies providing medication delivery services to their clients. The intent was to utilize the existing infrastructure of medication delivery for food box distribution to those who were most in need (homebound or economic hardship). The initiative was piloted through JR Pharmacy, an independent community pharmacy in Terre Haute, Indiana. In total, 36 food packages were distributed to Hoosier families in Terre Haute. This model serves as an example of a successful short-term intervention that could be replicated in other community pharmacy settings with existing medication delivery services with convenient access to food supplies.

  8. Reflections on Institutional Equity for Faculty in Response to COVID-19
    Dessie Clark, Ethel L. Mickey, and Joya Misra
    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    This reflection paper describes how a gender equity program at one large, public, research-intensive university has been navigating the impact of COVID-19. In times of crisis, institutional commitments to diversity may be sidelined. However, this crisis more negatively impacts careers of women academics, especially women of color. The university rushed to move online and adjusted policies and practices, including automatic tenure delays and dropping teaching evaluations to accommodate our new reality. The authors’ ADVANCE grant focuses on improving inclusion for women and faculty of color in STEM. The authors suggest that inclusion is strengthened when decisions are transparent and campus stakeholders collaborate to prioritize equity. But, what does decision making look like in a pandemic, when the immediate future of higher education is uncertain? How can faculty be supported in ways that are equitable and foster inclusion when the very nature of faculty work has shifted? The authors summarize their urgent equity priorities in response to COVID-19, and ongoing challenges for their team. This discussion will inform equity programs and diversity efforts in higher education more broadly in this current moment.

  9. The Inclusive Syllabus Project
    Laura Zanotti
    Purdue University

    Syllabi are central to the innerworkings of academic life at institutions of higher education. As material artefacts with social lives, they are boundary objects that mediate diverse forms and expressions of power: institutional requirements, academic freedom, student experiences, and curricular norms. This piece details some of the considerations of creating an inclusive syllabus guide. The guide brings together already established resources to considers avenues to move away from envisioning syllabi as legal and contractual documents. While there is no one size fits all solution to syllabus-making, a considered syllabus can activate the possibilities supporting inclusion and diversity in the academy.

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