unprecedented: a campus community reflects on life in pandemic

Our eyes have been opened to critical truths about how our lives and communities function, who the essential workers are, and realities about how much we all need each other. As a campus community, we shifted the important work of teaching, supporting, and providing resources for our students from a common physical location to meeting those same needs in a virtual environment. Exhibited here is a glimpse into a new way to work.

"It is an interesting financial time to say the least…"

Noel Hornbacher, Director of Financial Services

Throughout these many months of uncertainty and fear, University of Michigan-Dearborn faculty, students, and staff have adapted swiftly to the pandemic with grace, flexibility, and resilience.

"what this pandemic did is put all of us more on sort of a tactical survival mode."

Melissa Stone, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management

University employees of all kinds have been forced to find novel ways of completing projects and showing productivity from new home offices, all while dealing with distractions from family, pets, and other aspects of home life.

Home Work-Station, Elisa Madrigal
Untiltled, Elisa Madrigal

While the adjustment to working from home has been complicated and stressful, it has not been completely without benefits!

"I like being able to get up and go to the couch in the morning and just start my day. I’m able to start a lot earlier…"

Carla Brooks, English, African & African-American Studies, and Communications Librarian

Some in our community had to deal with an increased demand for critical services while at the same time, navigating the difficulties of working from home.

"and so the need for support of faculty from the HUB catapulted…it’s been a lot of work."

Carla Vecchiola, Lecturer IV in History; Director, Hub for Teaching & Learning Resources

Without access to the lab or the classroom, our faculty were forced to innovate in order to continue to support their students while simultaneously dealing with their own pandemic challenges. Faculty have redesigned courses, reimagined safe lab practices, and gone above and beyond to stay connected with their students.

The Empty Lab, Marilee Benore

"As we work together to meet the challenges created by the disruption of our physical classrooms, we are hopeful that this experience, although abrupt and taxing in this moment, will bring positive shifts in pedagogy as we move forward. We may discover that one unanticipated benefit of the pandemic-induced transition of face-to-face courses and labs to remote delivery will be increased use of technology to enhance student engagement and learning when instructors return to their physical classrooms. And perhaps many of us will return to the physical classroom as better, more resilient instructors than when we left it."

Excerpt from Moving biochemistry and molecular biology courses online in times of disruption by Benore, et al.

On-campus essential workers have utilized teamwork and ingenuity to customize safe new practices. Students have pushed forward with remarkable flexibility, patience, and motivation in adjusting to new learning methods.

Essential, Danielle Lukitsh
Off Camera - An Academic Advisor's Companion, Ali Pavlicek
Hard time studying at home while libraries close due to pandemic, Mohichehra Umarova