Call for chapters--The Future of Remote and Hybrid Work in Global Higher Education: Perceptions, Policies, and Practices during COVID-19

2022-06-23

Book Project

Title: The Future of Remote and Hybrid Work in Global Higher Education: Perceptions, Policies, and Practices during COVID-19

Objective

In 2021, the global COVID-19 lockdowns, restrictions, and vaccination requirements has caused tremendous shifts to the roles and responsibilities of faculty and staff members across generations. With very little preparation and coordination, colleges and universities around the world were forced to move their entire workforce off-campus and continue their operations in either a remote or hybrid environment.

Today, as more institutions return to in-person work, many faculty and staff members are taking on new roles, responsibilities, and expectations during the global pandemic including online teaching and learning, using audio and video conferencing (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype), as well as advising and mentoring students from a distance. In addition, the rapid rise of the Omicron variant and the demand to work fully remotely is causing significant concerns among many faculty and staff members worldwide amid the great resignation era.

This book will explore the changing academic and student affairs professionals in global higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Postsecondary educational institutions must ensure they have adequate information and communications technology (and student support services) in place to adapt to the “new normal” post-2022. While many institutions have developed new remote and hybrid work policies or procedures on campus, limited research has been done to understand those impacts to faculty and staff members around the world. As a result, this book will examine the future of remote and hybrid work of faculty and staff.

The target audience of this book will be teacher-scholars, policymakers, and administrators working in the area of faculty and staff preparation, human resources, and instructional design. The book also targets advanced practitioners and graduate students who intend to work remotely in colleges and universities, whether as Senior International Officers (SIO), academic program directors, or centers for teaching and learning. In the long run, this book seeks to inform institutional policy and strategy by working towards more culturally responsive teaching and learning to support academic and professional development. In the end, the book will serve as a tool for further discussion and reflection in faculty and staff development programs, future faculty and staff preparation workshops, as well as faculty and staff orientation programs. It is foreseeable that this book will become a much-referenced text for teacher-scholars and to individuals who work remotely in or with academic and students’ affairs professions.

Rationale

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to shift to emergency remote working in many nations since early 2020, and this type of working style has become a new normal in workforce today. A report (Brynjolfsson et al., 2020) surveying a nationally-representative sample of the US population in two waves from April 1-5, 2020 and May 2-8, 2020 showed that of those employed pre-COVID-19, nearly half of them are now working from home, especially younger people. This national report further mentions that states with a higher share of employment in information work such as management, professional and related occupations were more likely to switch to remote work. Higher education has therefore been impacted by the pandemic as well, and many universities have shifted toward emergency remote work, that is from on campus face-to-face to digital teaching and learning formats. In other words, most universities have strictly followed the social distancing measures by implementing fully online courses and higher education professionals and staff working at home remotely since early 2020 worldwide. However, the instructors, university staff, and students have to meet new online teaching and learning challenges, such as demonstrating pedagogical skills in a fully online classroom, addressing the managerial role, establishing relationships with students, and providing technical support (Fatani, 2020).

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic can negatively impact individuals’ mental health and wellbeing. For example, a study surveying 1210 participants from 194 cities in China during the early 2020 showed that 54% of respondents rated psychological impact of the COVID-19 outbreak as moderate or severe; 29% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms; and 17% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms (Wang et al., 2019). Specifically, scholars noted that the emergent transitioning to remote learning has impacted on the psychological health of students (Sahu, 2020). A high level of anxiety may be attributed to stressful circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic (Alqabbani et al, 2021). For instance, taking fully online courses along with learning/working from home may produce a feeling of isolation, disconnectedness, and lack of interaction, which would result in students’ loss of learning motivation, leading to a high dropout rate (Bolliger et al., 2010). The disconnections from classmates, instructors, friends, and partners may also lead to intense feelings including frustration, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation (Zhai & Du, 2020). Zhai and Du (2020) additionally stated that the remote learning/working may force some students to cease their research projects and internships, and such disruptions would jeopardize their programs of study, delay their graduation, and undermine their competitiveness on the job market, which in turn increase these students’ anxiety. Therefore, it is significant for universities to respond to the public health emergency, to continue developing courses of action and public health messaging to better address college students’ mental health issues. They proposed several recommendations, such as transitioning student advising to telecommunication, providing virtual office hours, offering alternative plans for students in terms of their research projects and internship, working on innovative methods to support students to move research projects and capstones forward in order to help them meet the graduation requirement, and providing virtue consulting services relate to career and mental health issues.

Additionally, the pandemic and he sudden switch to remote work has affected faculty views toward the academic work environment and job satisfaction. One report (Course Hero, 2020) surveying more than 570 full- and part-time faculty members in the US showed that one major stress relates to the challenges transitioning to online teaching. Additionally, some faculty have experienced significant stress from frustration with the decisions of the institutional administration, personal matters (e.g., childcare, financial concerns), or other world events (e.g., election, social unrest). This report further indicated that college faculty have experienced an increasing emotional drain and work-related frustration, and more than 40% of them have considered leaving their positions due to the COVID-19 impacts.

Specifically, the remote work has made the professional lives challenging for academic women with caring responsibilities, as stated “Trying to make it through daily life during COVID-19 is a narrative echoed by many women in academia” (Nash & Churchill, 2020, p. 834). Some academic women reported that they have to delay their tenure clock because they have to care for their young dependents at home (Kitchener, 2020). It is noted that the short-term reorganization care and work time during the pandemic may have a long-term impact on women’s academic careers (Minello, 2020). Moreover, anecdotal evidence showed that women are submitting fewer papers to peer-reviewed journals compared to men during the COVID-19 crisis (Kitchener, 2020). Some evidence include: an estimation a 50% drop in submission from women in the area of astrophysics, men’s submissions to a politics journal increased by more than 50%, submissions from male authors between March and April 2020 increased by 6.4% on arXiv whereas submission from women increased only 2.7% (Frederickson, 2020). In short, the COVID-19 pandemic forces families to make decisions regarding how they manage unpaid caring labor (Price, 2020), while this extra domestic labor is unsurprisingly falling to women, and thus exacerbating existing gender inequality (Nash & Churchill, 2020). Therefore, it is crucial for higher education institutions to develop strategies and policies to support academic women to manage remote work and caring responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In late 2020, as more schools have been preparing for reopening while waves of COVID-19 and related infections may spread rapidly and unexpectedly worldwide, hybrid learning—an emerging strategy of combing online and face-to-face teaching is considered as a promising option following the social distancing measure while supplement a lack of in-person contact (Skulmowski & Rey, 2019). Hybrid learning typically refers to a combination of real-life and digital teaching components (Moskal et al., 2003; Oliver & Trigwell, 2005). It is identified as an approach that includes the efficiency and socialization opportunities of face-to-face learning with the digitally enhanced learning of the online delivery (Dziuban et al., 2004). Therefore, this learning method has been considered as an optimal learning experience to students (Powell, 2021) because it may provide engaging learning opportunities to learners by combining face-to-face medium of instruction with online learning opportunities (Singh et al., 2021). Although hybrid learning is not new. Yet, the social distancing measure of COVID-19 has required universities to develop a more precise model to maximize interpersonal contact as permitted by social distancing regulations when using new and emerging technology (Skulmowski & Rey, 2020).

Therefore, many universities worldwide have implemented hybrid learning in different formats. For example, one university in Romania integrated a hybrid system combining face-to-face interactions in seminars and labs along with online courses among first-year students. It is shown that students preferred face-to-face practical activities and enjoyed taking courses in an online manner. It seems that this approach becomes a bridge between the face-to-face and online education. Similarly, Mourtzis and colleagues (2021) presents a hybrid model consisted of digital labs and hybrid labs for engineering college students in Greece and stated that this approach would effectively against the spread of COVID-19 and also reduce students’ course dropout rate. Some scholars (Trivason et al., 2020) in a Thailand university proposed another hybrid classroom where some students attend the class face-to-face, while others take the class online. This hybrid classroom concept aims to reduce the number of involved people in each activity by offloading some group of people to online from their home. This approach also allows both physical and online attendees to interact during the course sessions. Hanaei et al. (2020) further stated that a hybrid approach would benefits both symptomatic participants but also for international participants for scientific events or conferences. They further proposed some emerging standards for this hybrid approach, such as performing risk assessment and mitigation, sanitizing venues and environment, and complying with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for appropriate participants protection and disease prevention.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence worldwide, it is unknown how long the remote or hybrid working style may last. Additionally, with multiple advantages and positive outcomes, it seems that in the future, higher education institutions may consider providing options between various forms of teaching without being constrained by reasons of a healthy emergency (Potra et al., 2021). Some scholars (Yan, 2020) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic may be an opportunity for change and innovation, as noted that “the COVID-19 crisis can be a time of major reform in higher education which will accelerate the process of digitalization in an unprecedented way” (Skulmowski & Rey, 2020, p. 212). Thus, it is necessary for higher educational institutions to ensure that they have adequate information, innovative technology, and students, faculty, and staff support services in place to adapt to the new normal. As a result, there is a call for examining the future of remote and hybrid work to better understand those impacts to faculty and staff members around the world.

Target Audience

In 2022, faculty and staff members worldwide are leaving the workforce in massive numbers amid the great resignation era. This book will explore the changing academic and student affairs professionals in global higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The target audience of this book will be teacher-scholars, policymakers, and administrators working in the area of faculty and staff preparation, human resources, and instructional design. The project also targets advanced practitioners and graduate students who intend to work remotely in colleges and universities, whether as Senior International Officers (SIO), academic program directors, or centers for teaching and learning. In the long run, this book seeks to inform institutional policy and strategy by working towards more culturally responsive teaching and learning to support academic and professional development. In the end, the book will serve as a tool for further discussion and reflection in faculty and staff development programs, future faculty and staff preparation workshops, as well as faculty and staff orientation programs. It is foreseeable that this book will become a much-referenced text for teacher-scholars and to individuals who work remotely in or with academic and students’ affairs professions.

Tentative Timeline

Full chapter due: August 1, 2022

Reviewers assigned: August 15, 2022

Reviews due: Sept. 15, 2022

Response to review send out: Oct. 1, 2022

Revised chapters back: Nov. 1, 2022

Chapter due to publishers: Dec. 1, 2022

Publisher

Contributing Authors

The editors will invite highly respected scholars and advanced graduate students from colleges and universities around the world, as well as highly regarded practitioners of education abroad who have published in this area to submit a chapter.

Individual chapters are to be written in the style of concise scholarly essays of up to 5,000 words in length. Chapters will follow Palgrave Macmillan/Springer protocols and be original contributions that have not been published previously. All chapters will be peer-reviewed by experts in the international higher education field.

Types of Contributions and Length

The book welcomes both conceptual and empirical papers. Examples are:

  • Case studies: In-depth reports of international faculty and staff members’ workforce experience in the US institutions
  • Conceptual papers: Contributions synthesizing existing literature.
  • Full research papers: Both qualitative and quantitative studies that study a particular aspect of international faculty and staff members’ workforce experience in the US institutions

Competing works

  • Felstead, A. (2022). Remote Working: A Research Overview. Routledge
  • Turner, J. G. (2021). The Pros and Cons of Online Learning in Higher Education. Writing Avenue.

 

Table of Contents

Section I: Shift towards remote and hybrid teaching and learning in global higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Effective strategies development for remote teaching and learning
  • Adaptation to emergency remote and/or hybrid teaching
  • Mental health and wellbeing of faculty and students
  • Challenge and opportunities of professional lives of faculty
  • Equity, diversity, inclusiveness, and community building in online classrooms

Section II: Technology and digital communication in remote and hybrid work in postsecondary education institutions

  • Digital readiness and preparation of faculty, staff, and students in higher education setting
  • Development of innovative technology and digital communication for remote and/or hybrid teaching and learning
  • Assessment distance learning in higher education
  • Digital transformation of education
  • Development of digital literacy skills and/or competence

Section III: Support for remote and hybrid working in tertiary education systems, policies, and procedures

  • Development of remote and flexible work policies
  • Remote adjust faculty and student success
  • Hybrid academic advisors and career coaches
  • Virtual student affairs practitioners and student development from a distance
  • Virtual senior international officers and study abroad practitioners in higher education

Section VI: The future of remote and hybrid working during the global pandemic

  • Deigning for the new normal after COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cyber university concept and higher education post COVID-19 pandemic
  • Rethinking the roles and modes of higher education
  • Recovering higher education during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Strategies of copying with future healthy emergency

Section V: Special topics: Contemporary issues of remote and hybrid work in global higher education

  • Open topics

Submission procedure

Researchers, practitioners and administrators are invited to submit a proposal. There will be a two-stage review process. First, potential authors will be invited to submit a chapter proposal of 100~150 words as soon as possible explaining the mission and scope of the proposed chapter. The editors will review the abstracts to evaluation if the proposed chapter 1) fits the theme of the book, 2) makes a substantial contribution and 3) is of interest to the target audience. Authors will be notified as soon as possible about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Second, the selected authors will be invited to submit a full version of the proposed chapter. These chapters will be reviewed by a double-blind process. Based on the review process, the authors are asked to revise their chapters.

Contact Information

Roy Y. Chan, Ph.D.

rchan@leeuniversity.edu

Xi Lin, Ph.D.

linxi18@ecu.edu