Best Practices in Colleges and Universities (2)

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Student Expectations - Universities: COVID-19

Students expect universities to give them support to carry out some directives issued by university authorities following the outbreak of coronavirus. Students also expect their universities to be considerate and patient with them. Many university students have taken to "Twitter to express" being frustrated with recent university decisions and communications.

Students Do Not Expect Eviction Messages From Universities

  • Following the outbreak of COVID-19, some students have revealed that they did not expect the eviction messages they got from their university authorities. One of the universities known to have relayed eviction messages to their students is Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Harvard and Amherst communicated eviction messages to their students, asking them "to move out," thereby disrupting life for "thousands of students." In return, the students have leveraged student groups to express their concerns to university authorities and the public.
  • University students did not expect their authorities to evict them following the outbreak of COVID-19 and have stated that they were in a "state of shock, confusion," awe, as well as fear following the communication of their evictions.
  • To prevent evictions as noticed in some universities, students at Stanford and Princeton universities have written letters admonishing their school administrations not to issue any communication directing campus closures.

Student Expect University Directives to Get Issued With Corresponding Resources and Support

  • Students expect that their universities should have also communicated planned resources or support for student who may experience difficulty in the process of implementing relayed instructions.
  • The lack of support to carry out recent university directives on student eviction is one of the reasons university students are "in a state of shock." They feel slighted for not been given the "time, resources[,] or support" necessary to comply with university instructions.

Student Expect University Authorities to be Patient While Communicating Evictions

  • Havard University recently gave students barely five days to evacuate dormitories over fears of coronavirus.
  • In response, some students have complained that the notice is shorter than what they would expect from the university. One of the students that share this feeling is Chioma and several final year students who did not expect their "time at Harvard to end" this way.
  • Students are shocked because they have not been given adequate time to comply with communicated directives.

Students Feel Robbed and Expect Communications to Have Other Favorable Options

  • Following the outbreak of COVID-19, some universities have communicated their decision to put in-person teaching at hold or suspended. Several students reveal that they never saw this coming and have the feeling of being "robbed of a proper ending." This concern has been raised by several students, including a senior year student in his "final semester."
  • Some universities are switching from in-person teaching to online learning. And this change has been communicated to students that "have been allowed to remain" on campus. Unfortunately, none of the students seem to "like online learning" and would have preferred other options.
  • The instruction for students staying back on campuses to switch to online learning has "caused high levels of anxiety" as some students are dynamic, outspoken, and appreciate the vibe of a brick and mortar classroom.
  • Some students that have taken online classes in the past are not happy because that is not what they bargained for. Some students "hate the online modules." It gives them the feeling of talking to a machine, as there are no physical interactions with people because an online class has limited activities and "feels empty."
  • Some favorable options the students would have appreciated or are expecting from university communications during the outbreak of COVID-19 include insights on where to go and insights on who would be "paying for" their flights.
  • Students expect their universities to communicate subsidized travel plans "to students who require it," and also disclose their compensation plans for student workers who may have missed their wages.
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Universities: COVID-19 Impact

Three insights surrounding how the coronavirus is affecting higher education institutions include the cancellation of abroad partnerships and exchange programs, international students and recruitment, and the cancellation of university classes and events. We have examined each below.

Study Abroad Programs and Exchange Initiatives Canceled

  • Universities across America have had to discontinue study abroad and exchange programs as a result of the global spread of the COVID virus. As a result, schools have instructed their students to return to the US immediately.
  • Schools including Florida International and Syracuse canceled programs in Italy, while many others canceled programs in China and South Korea. These cancellations took place within the last month, affecting thousands of students globally.
  • The University of Virginia contacted students in these programs, imploring them to return to the US as soon as possible.
  • The cancellation of these programs will affect hundreds of thousands of students.
  • In America, 342,000 students study abroad annually, with Italy being the second most popular destination. Italy, due to the high level of transmission currently occurring there, now carries a CDC travel warning, affecting students.

International Students and Student Recruitment

  • Of the 19 million higher education students in the USA, 1 million are international. China is considered the main contributor to this quantity, currently having 370,000 enrolled students in the USA.
  • In the current crisis and with the implementation of various travel bans, students who traveled home for vacation are unable to return to the US. This was observed in China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • Some universities, like the University of Virginia, promise international students to find a way for them to continue their studies if classes resume before the semester ends.
  • The opposite was observed amongst Chinese students residing in the US. With the various bans on travel, many are unable to leave the country, despite universities closing down. This further causes strain on the university and students who have nowhere to go.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that international students will be able to participate in online classes without it negatively affecting their visa status.
  • In the case of prospective or incoming students, visa processes may be delayed due to the ongoing situation.
  • Embassies all over the world are closed due to the pandemic, and no one knows the conditions that visas will be given out after the crisis.

Classes, Events, and Gatherings Canceled

Research Strategy

To conduct this research, we visited the university, industry, and news websites. The websites of the University of Virginia, as well as Boston University, provided us with information about how COVID-19 was actually affecting higher education institutions. The University of Virginia provided information pertaining to exchange programs, international students, and the cancellation of classes, events, and gatherings.

News coverage websites, CNN and NPR showed us the impact of the virus on universities having exchange programs, as well as the cancellation and the closing of the institutions. The industry website, Inside Higher Education, was also examined. Here, we found information surrounding the impacts of the virus on international students attending these higher education schools.