During the second half of the fall 2020 semester, Advance at UNM asked all full-time main campus faculty at UNM to participate in a climate survey that included questions about the impact of COVID-19. The Advance Social Science Research Team worked to quickly provide campus with an initial analysis of the COVID-19 impact questions. This first report provides an overview of faculty responses and offers some general recommendations.
“An economic and environmental collapse, social unrest, a pandemic and a national political nightmare, coupled with the death of loved ones and the extra time to do a similar job is indeed difficult.”
UNM faculty survey respondent
Questions addressed faculty time allocation, negative impacts of COVID-19, and implications of remote work. Of 1,066 eligible faculty, 428 (40 percent) completed the survey.
One faculty member commented, “An economic and environmental collapse, social unrest, a pandemic and a national political nightmare, coupled with the death of loved ones and the extra time to do a similar job is indeed difficult.”
- Considering the magnitude of the burden that faculty (and staff) shoulder, it is critical to approach one another with compassion, civility, and flexibility.
- Acknowledge and share faculty efforts in support of students.
- Change annual and milestone review expectations to acknowledge that the impacts of the pandemic are simultaneously broad and highly individual. Faculty should document both the COVID-19 impact and their pandemic efforts in annual and milestone reviews.
- Recognize that the pandemic impact will be long-lasting and expect internal review committees and external reviewers to include the pandemic impact in their evaluations for at least the next 5-6 years, as well as acknowledge that faculty, staff, and students will require time to adapt and recover from COVID stressors once in-person operations resume.
- Maintain flexibility for remote meeting attendance and working from home.
- Support new assistant professors in becoming part of the community; provide them with additional resources, including graduate student support, as appropriate, for research, scholarship, and creative works.
- Develop additional assistance for associate professors in making progress towards promotion.
- Support Department Chairs and Deans during the return to in-person operations, particularly those with challenging climate issues.
Part II, which will be available before Spring break, will include more detailed evaluation of the impact on different faculty groups, including intersectional analyses, as well as more detailed recommendations and options for implementation.
"We hope this and future reports will contribute to ongoing conversations as we navigate the considerable impact of the pandemic on faculty, staff, and students,” said Kate Cunningham, director of communication and social media for Advance at UNM.
To see the full report, click here.