The Humanities in Transition - The Fate of the University

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Flannery Wilson / San Bernardino Valley College

If you’ve been following higher education news recently, you might have whiplash.

First, due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases, USC announced that it would be moving most of its courses online this fall, reversing its previous plan to welcome students back to campus.

This bit of news was an encouraging sign for those of us who didn’t want to have to choose between getting paid and risking our lives to teach in-person classes. Maybe, we hoped, other institutions of higher education would follow suit.

Then the Department of Homeland Security made a rule prohibiting international students from remaining in the U.S. if all of their fall courses were being taught remotely. The rule put pressure on institutions to maintain an in-person component for almost all programs, which would have put everyone at risk again.

Luckily, the Trump administration withdrew the rule when faced with a lawsuit by Harvard and MIT.

Still, most universities plan to resume at least some form of on-campus instruction in the fall, with only 9% planning to be online only.

Let’s face it. Traditional universities were already in danger of obsolescence even before the pandemic hit. Higher education is notoriously slow to embrace new models of learning.

The pandemic forced universities to transition their courses online quickly and without much direction. But perhaps this was a move in the right direction.

We want to know:

Are in-person courses really superior to online courses? If so, how would you make a case for that considering our present circumstances?

How will recent events related to the pandemic affect the coming school year? Are you worried about your safety if you have to return to the classroom?

More generally, do you believe that traditional higher education will soon become obsolete? What will the future look like?

This month we want to hear your opinions on these issues and more.

Please note:

These should be opinion pieces. We want to hear your own thoughts and experiences. Please write clearly with a broad audience in mind.

1000 words max.

If you are enrolled in the Medium partner program, your essay is eligible to earn money.

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Deadlines for submissions is August 15.

We look forward to reading your proposals!

— The editors, HiT