As the pandemic continues, professors and deans have money in their heads.

They list institutional financial constraints as the biggest challenge facing their campus A survey conducted in the fall of 2020 It was published this week by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The survey results are based on the responses of more than 700 higher education professionals—two-thirds are faculty and staff, and one-third are administrative staff—most of whom work in four-year universities.

Both private and public institutions have expressed concern about the reduction in resources. Compared with large universities, the situation in small universities is more serious.

Among the specific concerns:

• Students may have greater financial needs, or may be less likely to register or continue to register.

• Colleges and universities may be unstable and not able to withstand future challenges.

• University layoffs may affect teaching and learning.

In the past year and a half, many institutions have been laying off staff. By November 2020, universities have lost about one-tenth of their employees. According to the analysis of the Chronicle of Higher EducationAshley Finley, vice president of research at AAC&U, said these reductions may make it particularly difficult for universities to support students whose mental health problems are exacerbated by health crises, or to support professors who are still researching how to teach in remote or mixed environments. The author of the report.

Concerns about “persistent inequality” are also one of the top issues considered by survey respondents, especially large and medium-sized universities. More than half of the people reported that their organization had experienced “hatred incidents” against campus minorities in the past year.

“It absolutely surprised us, in a shocking but not shocking way,” Finley said. She added that hate speech and other related incidents can be a particularly big problem in the classroom because faculty and staff are more likely to report these incidents than senior management.

But Finley also worries about inequality that the university has not even checked.For example, only about half of the respondents stated that their institutions track whether students from all backgrounds achieve learning goals or participate in Proven activities, Such as undergraduate research and service learning.

“Do you know what the fair gap between high-impact practice and learning outcomes is?” Finley asked. “What happened to student success on your campus? Unless you go deeper, you can’t completely solve these inequalities.”

The study also shows that teachers and university leaders, especially senior managers, are interested in expanding civic engagement and global learning in their institutions.

This is good news for Finley. She said that as the United States is “responding to the fragility of democracy,” “it’s time for campuses to rethink their civic mission.”

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