The impact of COVID-19 on university communities (Louise Lawrence)

By Louise Lawrence

Louise Lawrence has been working on a research project entitled, “Compassionate Campuses: Refiguring Universities in an Age of Neoliberalism,” focusing on institutional values, student wellbeing, northern and southern epistemologies and epistemic injustice, student wellbeing, and safeguarding around staff-student relationships. As COVID-19 rapidly spread throughout the world, certain themes in the project were sharpened and given greater urgency. An emerging so-called ‘Corona Economy’ based on collaboration and connectivity as opposed to individual competition, and rapidly changing forms of delivery and operation in the pandemic, offers a unique opportunity to re-imagine higher education. Leaders of compassionate campuses would not fear stepping outside the dominant neoliberal transcripts, or venturing beyond the routinely accepted, to rediscover, imagine or co-design inclusive models of citizenship, that have at their centre values which generate kindness, respect and genuine openness to collaborate and connect with others, and serve the public good.

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