The realities of COVID-19 are inescapable. We have no choice but to learn through the COVID-19.

Required texts:

Bastedo, M., Altbach, P., & Gumport, P. (2016). American Higher Education in the 21st Century: Social, Political and Economic Challenges. 4th Edition. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2013). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, (5th edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Class Assignments:

The realities of COVID-19 are inescapable. We have no choice but to learn through the COVID-19. For this semester I have designed each of the course assignments to study college and university administration through the pandemic. Each of the assignments are linked and build on each other but are graded separately. Students will select an institution of higher education in the United States for analysis. Much of the analysis will focus on how the institution responded to the pandemic crisis and planned for the fall 2020 academic term. We are going to study higher education governance and administration in real time.

Step One: Select Your Case

We will analyze how colleges and universities responded to the pandemic using the tools and concepts from the class. Each student should select one college or university in the United States a case study for the semester. You may choose any campus you please, but please follow a few guidelines.

You cannot select Michigan State University or your undergraduate alma matter.

The campus you select should be listed by the Carnage Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

You may choose a public college or university or private non-for-profit college or university of any type in the United States but do not chose a for-profit college because you might not be able to find the information you need on a for-profit institution.

You want to select a college or university that has good information about pandemic response. Visit the campus website to see if you can find a COVID-19 response website. While you can’t select MSU, it’s COVID-19 website is a good example. You might also want to search for news coverage from news organizations (newspapers, websites, TV stations, reliable blogs) local to campus you select, as well as from national education news outlets such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, and Education Dive. Major newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times are also great resources. You can access the newspapers behind paywalls unsung the MSU Library. The College Crisis Initiative, Directed by Chris Marsicano (Twitter: @ChrisMarsicano) at Davidson College is a great resource for finding how a college or university is responding to the pandemic. Seaton Hall University higher education professor Robert Keltchen has an active Twitter presence (@rkeltchen) and maintained a long thread with information about campus responses.

Identify your case institution by Monday, September 14th. Report your choice in the drop box with the following information. (1) Institution name and location. (2) The institution’s Basic Carnage Classification. (3) A paragraph explaining how you selected your case institution and why you think you will be able access sufficient information to complete the assignments.

Step Two: Prepare and Complete Assignment #1

Leadership is vitally to colleges and universes, but leadership does not occur in a vacuum. Campus leaders and administrators make decisions based on a set of parameters including (but not limited to) the institutional mission, resources available, student and faculty needs.

Assignment #1: Contextualizing the institution’s response.

Write a four to six-page, double-spaced paper that describes your case intuition’s response to the COVID pandemic and situates administrative decision making in context.

To describe the response, you might want to address the following (note: the situation may be evolving, try to be as up to date as possible but we all know that things are moving fast):

  • Is the campus holding in-person, remote, or mixed modes of course delivery?
  • Is non-instructional campus work happening primarily in-person or remotely?
  • How has course delivery changed from previous semesters?
  • Has the institution introduced accommodations, planning, supports to aid students, faculty, and staff?

To situate the context of decision making, you might want to address the following:

  • How the institution’s Carnegie classification (and the mission it represents) might have influenced its deliberations and response.
  • How the response reflects (or does not reflect) the intuition’s location, size, and level of complexity).
  • How the response reflects (or does not reflect) the intuition’s students, including demographic characteristics, wheatear most students are full-time and residential or part-time and commenters, and the mix majors and undergraduate and graduate students.
  • How do you think the administration took these and other factors into consideration?

Assignment #1 is due on September 28th and is worth 15% of your grade.

Step Three: Prepare and Complete Assignment #2

The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone one way or another but we know that it is exacerbating existing inequalities and that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) are disproportionally harmed by the virus and its social consequences. Students with disabilities, those with limited access to high-speed internment and adequate technology, and those who are food insecure and homeless face unique challenges during the pandemic. Higher education intuitions’ responses could mitigate or exacerbate equity and inclusion.

Assignment #2: COVID, equity, and inclusion

Write a five to seven-page, double-spaced paper that describes your case intuition’s response to the COVID pandemic and situates administrative decision making in context. The paper should address the following two prompts:

  • What, if any, evidence shows how your case intuition’s response included equity and inclusion concerns for planning the fall 2020 term?
  • Using two of Bolman and Deal’s frames, and other readings for the class, propose at least two solutions for more effectivity identifying and responding to inclusion and equity concerns during the pandemic.

Assignment #2 is due on October 19th and is worth 25% of your grade.

Step Four: Prepare and Complete Assignment #3

Higher education observers identify the COVID-19 pandemic as a potential turning point for higher education. Preexisting challenges related to growing costs, technological change, demographic shifts, and the need to address racism and inequity in higher education are exacerbated by the pandemic. Long periods when students cannot fully participate in on-campus activities and when the economy and state budgets lag will cause budgetary strain as a result of higher costs and lower revenue. 

Assignment #3: Identifying and confronting future challenges

White an eight to 10-page paper identifying at least two challenges facing your case study intuition after the pandemic crisis. You should offer two recommendations for administration to address each of the identified challenges. 

To identify potential challenges and plausible solutions draw on the class readings (which you should cite) and discussions, as well as readings and discussions from your other classes as relevant. Be sure to show the link between general ideas to your specific case institution. Explain why the challenges you identified are likely to be experienced by your chosen case. Also be sure to explain why the challenge matters; how will it adversely affect the institution and its ability to fulfill its mission? You will also want to explain if the challenge is new to the (post)pandemic era or if it is a long-standing challenge that has been made more difficult to address.

When thinking about solutions refer again to the class and other relevant readings. Be creative but avoid magical thinking. For most intuitions, for example, fundraising and development will play only a limited role in addressing challenges. Use framing and re-framing type analyses from the point of view of a campus leader to think about how campus resources and capacities can be mobilized innovatively in order to address changes.

You should also consult additional resources for information about your case institution to best specific challenges and solutions. Think about the Carnage Classification and how institutional type might contribute to the challenges your case will face and the solutions available to it. Below is a list of other sources of information that might be useful:

Assignment #3 is due on November 23rd and is worth 25% of your grade.

Step Five: Prepare, Deliver and Post a Class Presentation

One of the most important aspects of graduate school is sharing what you learn with peers and learning from each other. The final assignment of the class gives you an opportunity to present your work over the course of the semester.

Assignment #4: Present your case study work

Prepare a presentation that lasts 10 – 12 minuets (this is a typical length you get in a concurrent session at a professional conference) and deliver it via Zoom. Your presentation should introduce your case intuition, describe it’s COVID response in the fall term of 2020, identify equity and inclusion issues, and identify ongoing challenges and potential solutions. Following your presentation, we will have 15 minutes or so for questions and conversation.

Use Power Point or a similar presentation software to give your presentation. As a rule of thumb, you should limit yourself to no more than one-slide per minute of presentation. You have a lot of information to share, and not a lot of time to share it. The presentation is a challenge, but that is the point. Professional presentations require you to be clear, concise, and efficient.

All presentations will be delivered over Zoom. With your permission, I will record the presentations and post them on the 2DL site for the class to view. I am wary of Zoom fatigue, and so I don’t want to schedule all of our presentations back to back over one or two weeks as I normally would for an in-person class. We have a schedule for presentations posted on the D2L site. All members of the class must sign up to present in one of the presentations time slots and sign up as an audience member for at least three other presentation. We will post the Zoom links on the site for all presentations, and you are welcome to attend as many of the permeations (beyond the three required) as you’d like.

Presentations are due at your allotted time and are worth 15% of your grade.

Grading Policy:

Following the MSU grading scale, grades range from 4.0 – 0.0, in 0.5-point increments. All assignments are due by 11:59 on the designated due date. Late work will be deducted 0.5 points every day beyond the due date. In some circumstances, such as serious illness or a family crisis, I will grant extensions for class assignments. However, these extensions must be secured before the due date.

A grading rubric is provided in the assignment folder in D2L. Please review it carefully because the criteria presented in the rubric will be used to assess each of your assignments except for the blog post. Students who complete the blog post on time and follow the assignment guidelines will earn full credit.

Your Final grade will be calculated as following.

  • 15%: Assignment #1
  • 25%: Assignment #2
  • 25%: Assignment #3
  • 15%: Presentation
  • 20%: Class participation

Important Note: All assignments are due by 11:59PM Eastern Time on the due date. Unexcused late work will be deducted one-half point per day past the due date.

Important Note: All papers [except the blog post] should be double spaced, typed in a regular font and font size (ex. Times New Roman 12pt) and should conform to the American Psychological Association (APA) citation style (cover page and abstract are NOT required). Failure to comply with these criteria will result in grade point deductions. Information on the APA citation style can be accessed from the official APA manual or by visiting the OWL site hosted by Purdue’s English Department.

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