Colleges and universities were not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though their rapid transition to online education could be considered a success, the hasty switch exacerbated existing inequalities in terms of quality instruction and learning. For the most part, colleges managed to maintain the transfer of knowledge that happens in the classroom, but their greater missions of equality and social mobility surely suffered.
If postsecondary institutions are to live up to their higher calling, they need to prepare for future crises that move with surprising speed and widespread impact.
This begins with data. Data can provide insight, clarity and opportunity during a time of extreme disruption. It can help power the innovation, cooperation and rapid data-sharing that is so essential as the sector re-imagines its own business model.
Davidson College proposes the College Crisis Initiative (C2I) to enhance understanding of institutions’ responses to the COVID-19 global crisis and to plan for other potential crises. Capitalizing on Davidson’s small size and nimble approach to problem-solving, C2I will conduct research and provide data resources to leaders engaged in planning and researchers seeking to understand the higher education sector’s response to crises.