The COVID-19 pandemic has likely impacted your professional life in many ways. As you come up for informal or formal review, it may be important to contextualize your productivity and performance in research, teaching, and/or service for your colleagues and any external evaluators. Impacts may include changes to your workload distribution, specific changes to duties, difficulties or delays due to COVID-19-related safety protocols, or the effects of increased care-giving obligations on your ability to complete professional obligations or projects.
Alerting reviewers and colleagues about particular pandemic-related issues and how they have affected you is optional. Should you choose to do so, here are two possibilities:
- COVID-19 Impact Statement. This is a brief statement enumerating specific consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for your research, teaching, and/or service.
- Addressing impacts within existing written materials. Examples include mentioning delays in data collection within your research statement or discussing the shift to online instruction in your teaching statement.
It is recommended that discussions of COVID impacts be brief and specific. Consider what you would like a reviewer to know that is relevant for evaluating your progress and productivity. The consequences of the pandemic will be felt for many years, so consider documenting relevant impacts now if you haven’t already. If you are uncertain about what to include in your review materials, you are encouraged to consult with mentors, your chair/director, or the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs.
For reference, below is a non-exhaustive list of possible ways that one might document the impacts of COVID-19 on the work of a faculty member (from M. Subramaniam, 2020).
Research and Creative Work:
- Access to lab; access to equipment/orders for consumables; limiting work because of space and required rotation/coordination of lab personnel (such as students, postdocs, technicians); repairs or the need to fix systems.
- Writing time (plausibly because of care work – self and others; lack of access to books etc. from libraries).
- Access to studios and spaces for creative work.
- Loss in time due to increased teaching or service responsibilities.
- Note canceled fellowships, conference, or speaking engagements.
- Challenges in networking virtually versus being physically present at conferences and annual meetings (important especially for assistant and associate professors).
- Note canceled sabbatical time, paid/unpaid leave.
- Effects on research time due to care work, filing additional paperwork for changing/maintaining immigrant status.
- Research group/lab virtual meetings involving challenges such as students not having access to high speed broadband.
- Limited home connectivity for many reasons, including leaving WiFi during the day for school-age children.
- Disruptions in field-based work because of funding and travel and visa restrictions or overall research restrictions.
- Access to animals, cell cultures, inability to gather data/access to human subjects.
- Note inability of collaborators to visit and engage; including the disruptions in collaborators locations (domestic and international).
- Additional work and time to become familiar with protocol and ensuring research groups/lab groups are aware of and adhere to them.
- Access to internal/external funds for research perhaps due to funding being redirected to COVID-19 topics.
- Restrictions in use of funds such as discretionary funds and/or additional approvals needed to use funds for regular research activities.
- Access to office equipment and workspace environments (reliable internet, ergonomic furniture, professional workspace) for self and/or mentoring students.
- Disruptions in access to funds for open access publishing.
- Note cancellation of in-person workshops and disruptions in fulfilling grant outcomes.
- On a weekly basis, document how much virtual to on-site work is being done (virtual versus on-site spaces have their own challenges; remote work can be isolating, anxiety-producing, and stressful. On-site work can increase fears of bringing the virus home to loved ones and seeing former physical spaces now “look like a ghost town” can cause anxiety).
- Limits to collaborative research because of restrictions to travel, access to labs, and so impacts on interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary work.
- Time spent to retool and/or redesign curriculum to be used in a virtual format. Document revisions to courses: moving courses online, building skills to handle new technology and new online platform (can note how a typical # of work hours for teaching a particular course changed for that course).
- Note trainings attended to retool for teaching in revised modes.
- Note lack of resources for faculty and students (internet and broadband access; closure of campus computer labs or limited seats available at campus computer labs).
- Identify any additional teaching responsibilities (including new course preps such as due to retirement of a colleague); issues with teaching assistants; assisting others.
- Additional workload because of administering high flex, hybrid, and online courses such as, handling emails from students who may be quarantined; suspended; or absent from class including figuring out procedures and who to contact with questions.
- Note concerns and disruptions from students’ disregard of instructions in courses (particularly for women and women of color).
- Mentoring (faculty and students):
- note especially additional work needed to support those experiencing health, economic, and social consequences of COVID-19.
- note additional advising time because of physical or mental health concerns.
- note disruptions because of concerns of status of international students or newly admitted international students being unable to travel.
- concerns due to uncertainty and lag times in communication between when a student raises a concern and when a university response is received.
- Note concerns about intellectual property rights questions and posting all materials online.
- Note concerns about creating safe spaces for classroom dialogue offline and online.
- List attending or leading meetings (additional ones) that may typically not have been required.
- Challenges of attending meetings virtually and how some inequalities may be further amplified in virtual settings.
- Note disruptions in community-based engagement and activities.
- Note if committee work is equitable.
- List limitations in advising student organizations, if any; and disruptions in those activities.
- Note additional workload to support communities and collaborations within which you work particularly during COVID-19.
- Note additional hurdles in disseminating or finishing products or services for the scholarship of engagement, especially if the target community does not have regular access to internet.
- Note how communities/partners have been disrupted in accessing university labs or services.