AERA Signs On to Call to Higher Education Administrators Regarding Student Educational Progress During Covid-19
AERA Signs On to Call to Higher Education Administrators Regarding Student Educational Progress During Covid-19

April  2020

With unprecedented challenges in the educational and personal lives of college students during the COVID-19 pandemic, AERA signed on to an April 22 statement from the American Sociological Association (ASA) calling on higher education administrators to make comparable temporary accommodations for students whose degree progress has been impacted by the pandemic.

The ASA statement, which 27 societies across academic disciplines co-signed, noted:

Students are dealing with extraordinary disruptions to their education and facing great uncertainty about the future. Research projects have been postponed or halted; access to libraries, field sites, and archives is limited; and conference presentations have been cancelled. Teaching assistants and graduate instructors made rapid pedagogical shifts to online teaching. 

Students are also adjusting to online learning for their own coursework, and many students lack access to the technological resources they need. Further, graduating students will be entering a severely contracted job market. These disruptions are made all the more challenging by ongoing disruptions in other parts of students’ lives. Many students are facing serious financial challenges and are engaged in increased caregiving activities.  

The statement recommended:

  • Adjusting timelines for student progression and completion, including revising funding timelines as appropriate.
  • Adjusting expectations for learning and scholarship, including considering alternate grading options or amended graduation requirements.

"Students are integral to our campus, disciplinary, and intellectual communities,” the statement said. “Like other members of our communities, they should receive appropriate accommodations to facilitate their ongoing scholarly success during this unparalleled situation. We encourage all institutions of higher education to be flexible, accommodating, and humane in how they work with students during this period."

Earlier this month, AERA and the Spencer Foundation announced the launch of a study that will broadly assess the impact of Covid-19 on early career scholars and graduate students in education research—the most professionally vulnerable of the field—and what might be important in a “recovery plan” for addressing their most pressing needs. AERA and Spencer plan to release an initial report in July.

As reported last month AERA Highlights, with disruptions in the work and personal lives of university faculty during this unprecedented time, AERA signed on to an ASA statement calling on higher education administrators to consider appropriate temporary adjustments to their review and reappointment processes for tenure-line and contingent faculty. 

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