Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Institutional Responses and Instructional Changes to Address COVID-19 Among A Rural Midwestern University

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.32674/jimphe.v9i1.5776

Keywords:

Higher education, qualitative research methods, COVID-19, institutional responses, faculty responses

Abstract

In response to COVID-19, post-secondary institutions made swift changes, one of which was the widespread transition to online and remote learning to address the immediate effects of the disruption in the teaching and learning environment at the higher education level. This was a period of quick pivoting at both course as well as the leadership levels across universities, ranging from institutional leaders to class instructors. The current study takes a qualitative approach in mapping the changes and challenges in the areas of responses to students’ psychological needs, responses to students’ academic needs, and responses to minoritized students’ needs from institutional leaders’, teaching faculties’, and teaching assistants’ perspectives. The results suggest that institutional leaders and instructors perceived a decrease in academic motivation and increase in social isolation among students during COVID-19. The results also highlight the unique difficulties faced by students from minoritized backgrounds from institutional leaders’ and instructors’ perspective. The study confirms the need for institutional leaders and faculties to take actions and provide support to minoritized students even in post-pandemic higher education. Implications and guidance on future university policies and programs to help preserve educational quality of instruction and mitigate educational inequities as a result of the pandemic are also discussed.

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Author Biographies

Shiyu Sun, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Shiyu Sun, Shiyu Sun is a graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She currently holds positions as a teaching assistant within the department and as a graduate assistant in the Student Affairs department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Shiyu's research focuses on exploring students' experiences in higher education, specifically their sense of university belonging, sociocultural and psychological adaptation, and psychological well-being.

Email: shiyus2@illinois.edu

Ananya Tiwari, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Ananya Tiwari, PhD studies socio-emotional attributes like sense of belonging in cross-cultural settings among historically marginalized populations. She also conducts measurement analysis, designs interventions, and evaluates programs based on impact and process. She is the co-founder of SwaTaleem, a nonprofit that works with under-resourced public-school systems in India to enhance the educational outcomes of underrepresented adolescent girls. 

Rodney Hopson, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Rodney Hopson, Ph.D. serves as Professor of Evaluation in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, with appointments in Educational Policy and Organizational Leadership and the Center of African Studies, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Hopson’s research agenda 1) analyze and address the differential impact of education and schooling on marginalized and underrepresented groups in diverse global nation states and 2) seek solutions to social and educational conditions in the form of alternative paradigms, epistemologies, and methods for the way the oppressed and marginalized succeed and thrive despite circumstances and opportunities that suggest otherwise.  

Email: hopson@illinois.edu

Nidia Ruedas-Gracia, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Nidia Ruedas-Gracia, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ruedas-Gracia's research focuses on exploring sociocultural factors (e.g., sense of belonging) that impact the academic performance and psychological development of historically marginalized students.

Email: nrgracia@illinois.edu

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Published

2024-05-20

How to Cite

Sun, S., Tiwari, A., Hopson, R., & Ruedas-Gracia, N. (2024). Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Institutional Responses and Instructional Changes to Address COVID-19 Among A Rural Midwestern University. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Higher Education, 9(1), 18–41. https://doi.org/10.32674/jimphe.v9i1.5776