Campus News

Task force to examine lessons from pandemic

Elizabeth Burch teaches in a classroom during the pandemic.
A UGA task force is exploring how lessons learned from teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic can enhance the learning environment for students. Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law Elizabeth Chamblee Burch is pictured teaching in November 2020. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Faculty, staff and students to focus on enhancing the learning environment

As the University of Georgia prepares for a full return to normal campus operations this fall, it is also looking back to identify how lessons learned from a year and a half of teaching during the COVID pandemic can enhance the learning environment.

The Task Force on the Future of Teaching and Learning at UGA, charged by Provost S. Jack Hu and Vice President for Instruction Rahul Shrivastav, is composed of 27 faculty, staff and students from across the institution. Its members will meet regularly over the next several months and are scheduled to deliver a report on their findings at the end of fall semester.

“The dedication of faculty, advisors and staff in supporting our students was abundantly clear as the pandemic forced us to make an abrupt transition to remote learning in spring and summer 2020, followed by the adoption of a mix of in-person, hybrid and online instruction from fall 2020 through spring and summer 2021,” Hu said. “This task force provides an opportunity to examine what worked well, what didn’t and how we can apply the lessons learned for the benefit of our students in the months and years ahead.”

The scope of the task force is broad, encompassing areas such as instructional formats, instructional spaces and technology, academic support services, student life, equity and inclusion. Its work is guided by the university’s 2025 Strategic Plan, the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Plan, and the 2017 Task Force on Student Learning and Success.

The task force is co-chaired by Joseph Goetz, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Naomi Norman, associate vice president for instruction.

“When it comes to teaching and learning, UGA has a long history of looking ahead and implementing plans to ensure that our students get the best educational experiences possible,” Shrivastav said. “We greatly appreciate Professor Goetz and Associate Vice President Norman’s willingness to lead this group. They will be reaching out to other faculty, staff and administrators to ensure that a range of insights and perspectives is represented.”

Members of the Task Force on the Future of Teaching and Learning are listed below:

  • Sun Joo “Grace” Ahn, associate professor, department of advertising, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Wayde Brown, associate professor, College of Environment and Design
  • Julia Butler-Mayes, director of academic advising services, Office of Instruction
  • Leah Carmichael, lecturer, department of international affairs, School of Public and International Affairs
  • Annie Carlson Welch, assistant to the vice president for student affairs – learning and improvement
  • James Castle, assistant director for instructional design, Office of Online Learning
  • Nicholas Colvard, assistant head of faculty, Division of Academic Enhancement
  • Duc Do, assistant dean for student affairs, College of Pharmacy
  • Puneet Dwivedi, associate professor, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Davaron Edwards, graduate teaching assistant and doctoral student, Hugh Hodson School of Music, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Suzanne Ellenberger, director of general chemistry, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Paul Eubig, lecturer, department of physiology and pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Logan Fiorella, assistant professor, department of educational psychology, Mary Frances Early College of Education
  • Jennifer Gay, associate professor, department of health promotion and behavior, College of Public Health
  • Joseph Goetz, Meigs Professor, department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (co-chair)
  • Jori Hall, associate professor, department of lifelong education, administration and policy, Mary Frances Early College of Education
  • Mark Huber, senior lecturer, department of management information systems, Terry College of Business
  • Sujata Iyengar, professor, department of English, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Zoe Johnson, field education program director, School of Social Work
  • Melissa Kozak, senior lecturer, department of human development and family science, and undergraduate program coordinator, College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Patricia Moore, professor, department of entomology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • John Morelock, associate director, Engineering Education Transformations Institute, College of Engineering
  • Naomi Norman, Meigs Professor, department of classics, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and associate vice president for instruction, Office of Instruction (co-chair)
  • Ruth Poproski, associate director for teaching and learning, Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Iqra Rafiq, undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and peer learning assistant, Division of Academic Enhancement
  • Lori Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law and Meigs Professor, School of Law
  • Amanda Rugenski, lecturer and undergraduate coordinator, Odum School of Ecology
  • Anne Shaffer, associate professor, department of psychology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and associate dean, Graduate School