The Many Faces of the Post-Pandemic Student: Changing Pedagogies to Help Students Succeed

deadline for submissions: 
June 29, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
South Atlantic Modern Language Association
contact email: 


I saw a recent Facebook post from a fellow English professor: “A student who hasn’t attended class or turned in any work for two and a half months just asked me for an incomplete. . . . and the ask was in an email, too, on a day when she didn’t attend class.” Although I did not know the professor, I can empathize with her experience. Some of our post-pandemic students are different from our “usual” first-time freshmen. For reasons that remain unclear to me, some students, like the one described in the Facebook post, do not yet understand the connection between class attendance, the successful completion of course work, and final grades.

Many of us have a “new student” in our class, a post-pandemic student who has different assumptions about class attendance, assignment completion, professionalism, grades, and even student autonomy. This “new student” has different assumptions about teaching and learning practices and about how much “help” they will receive to complete work. I have these “new students” in my classes, too.

Last semester, I was baffled over a recurring mystery: several students consistently attended classes, but they did not submit any assignments. I emailed and questioned them repeatedly about missing work, but they did not respond to my queries. I found myself explaining what had previously seemed obvious to me: there is no way to pass a class without completing the work for the class.

When I read Becky Supiano’s recent reflection in The Chronicle of Higher Education, I felt a sense of kindred spirit: “Maybe it’s not just me.” Supiano shares an anecdote from an arts and sciences dean, Janna McLean, who has also noticed changes in some of our post-pandemic students: Last semester, professors teaching first-year students at Bethel University. . . . noticed a troubling pattern: ‘Many of our freshmen came to class, but never turned in homework or studied, and then they failed. . . . Instructors,’ McLean added, ‘aren’t quite sure what to make of this [pattern], but suspect it has to do with the fact that many students during the online-teaching part of the pandemic really were just passed along in high school regardless of what they did.’”

We may not know the reasons behind these changes in our student populations, but a number of post-pandemic-students seem unaware of some of the most basic tenants of higher education instruction: there is a direct connection between academic work, attendance, and grades. As teachers, what changes can we make to help these students succeed?

This [virtual] round-table discussion invites presenters to share teaching strategies to help our post-pandemic students succeed. How can we help our students change their work practices and their understanding of higher education culture? How can we help students become more professional while treating students as adults and empowering them to take ownership of their behaviors and choices, as well as the consequences of their actions? What are you doing to meet the needs of post-pandemic students while also supporting your institutions’ retention goals? Please share your post-pandemic teaching strategies with us.

For consideration in this [virtual] roundtable discussion, please submit 250 word abstracts to Dr. Renee Love at by June 29, 2022.