MSI Fellowship Week: COVID-19: Benefits of Adopting CRE policies at MSI’s, Student Considerations by Lynette Williamson

Hello and Aloha, I am Lynette Williamson, an educator, and Health Information Management (HIM) professional, living and working from beautiful Hawai’i on the island of O’ahu. In August 2019, I moved here to take on an Assistant Professor position at the University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu (UHWO).

Overhead view of UHWO campus at night
Images from the UHWO digital swag available online at the UHWO website.

Little did I know that seven months later, Hawai’i and the world would be plunged into a pandemic. Working at a Minority Servicing Institution (MSI) during the pandemic has been challenging. The rapid pivot or transition to emergency online learning as some refer to it was in one word traumatic or in another word it was a quagmire (a soft boggy area, or an awkward, complex, or hazardous situation). At UHWO, several policies were implemented including closing the campus to visitors, moving the vast majority of classes to an online format, and requiring faculty, staff, and students that were coming on campus to sign a safety pledge. As administration, faculty members, and students move into the fall 2021 semester an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 policies can be a part of an evaluation process. In this article, culturally responsive assessment can be mindful and student-centered. Thinking about this, here are some considerations.

  • When interviewing students or members of the academic community – first ask permission.
  • Remember to connect and engage with the participants of any evaluation study.
  • The research design will be important.
  • Remember to address the complex emotions of the pandemic (anxiety, fear, trauma, etc.).
  • Establish a space where all can be said.
  • Appreciate the history of the community especially as it relates to distrust, stigma, and medical procedures.

It is important to examine the implemented pandemic policies with an evaluation that is focused on equity, compassion, and empathy, to help students and all members of our academic communities reflect to assist in the process of pushing forward.

Image looking up at faces of 6 people standing arm in arm in a circle.
Images from the UHWO digital swag available online at the UHWO website.

Rad Resources:

UHWO Fall reopening

  • Deeper Dive:

Keeping COVID-19 from Sidelining Equity

Higher Education Responses to Coronavirus

Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage:  Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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