One of the contributors, William Gerard Tierney, writes that higher education as a global system has never experienced anything like the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a chapter titled: “The Impact of the Pandemic: Strategies for Reviving and Reforming Higher Education,” he argues that the effect of the pandemic has been greater than that of wars, disease, or financial crises. .
Tierney, founding director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California, explores recovery strategies in four areas: assessment, education, technology and funding.
While he rules out an immediate solution to the problems caused by the pandemic, he presents an optimistic vision for higher education, provided universities take bold steps to reform.
Tierney, who is also a past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), says that when campuses return to full capacity, institutions should analyze what students have learned during the pandemic when courses were mostly online.
He says it would be wrong to assume that the transition from in-person classrooms to online classrooms has gone smoothly. Several unofficial reports suggest that simply passing the subject was considered a pass for some students.
“Students who have graduated from high school or moved from one institution to another have had perhaps the most turbulent learning experiences of the year due to their lack of experience in the ‘use of online technologies,’ he wrote.
Financial health assessment
Tierney says the purpose of a financial assessment shouldn’t be to determine whether an institution has lost revenue during the pandemic. Almost all institutions experienced shortfalls in tuition fees, government grants, or ancillary services. Financial crises allow organizations to determine whether their activities align with institutional priorities, he says.
He adds that universities are not exempt from thinking too broadly with overambitious goals. “What is dangerous in this is that the institution is too dispersed in several areas,” he says. “As a result, the institution won’t be very good at doing anything, and what may be needed is downsizing and concentration of the institution.”