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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Challenges and Opportunities for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty during the Time of COVID-19

  • Author(s): Jayaram, Kiran;
  • Pajunen, Matthew;
  • Garcia, Chad;
  • Nuñez, Neudy Carolina;
  • Smith, Jae-Anne
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.5070/T34151992Creative Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license
Abstract

In Spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced university instructors across the United States to confront the daunting task of quickly changing their courses from face-to-face to remote instruction. Nationally, universities relied on virtual platforms as they adjusted educational spaces in response to the pandemic. While there have been many anecdotes of how individual faculty responded to this transition, social scientists have yet to study systematically how instructors handled this transition. This article presents and analyzes data from semi-structured interviews with non-tenure-track social science faculty to understand how they handled the change to remote teaching after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It analyzes these interviews by drawing on intersecting perspectives from the anthropology of disaster, anthropology of education, and digital anthropology. We argue the transition to online teaching presented new challenges and opportunities to instructors as people coping with novel health concerns, family obligations, and space-time changes. Simultaneously, this change created pedagogical issues related to continuity of instruction, classroom presence, and emotional labor. We conclude with recommendations and directions for future research.

 

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