EDUCATION DISRUPTED: UNIVERSITIES IN A TIME OF WAR. Conference, Co-Hosted by: Redlands U, Bratislava Economics U, Kyiv National Economics U

Dr. Jessica Zychowicz's picture

CFP for Hybrid Conference "Education Disrupted: Universities in a Time of War"

Co-Hosted by: Redlands University, Bratislava Economics University, Kyiv National Economics University

Feb. 24, 2023

The onset of the global COVID pandemic required a profound restructuring of the manner in which education at all levels was delivered. Although online offerings had gained a foothold in higher education prior to early 2020, they were not extensively applied across the broad range of universities and their courses and programs. Face-to-face class lectures, seminars, labs, and office hours remained the dominant modes of interaction between students and their instructors. The pandemic set off an extensive and somewhat rushed adoption of extant online tools and pedagogy not in support of, but instead of, these face-to-face interactions.

The availability of learning management systems (LMS) and meeting/conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams, and WebEx—underpinned by high-speed internet connections—permitted continual engagement among students and their instructors each isolated typically in their homes. The resulting disruption to education caused by the pandemic was, is, and will be the subject of much study.

In early 2022, as the pandemic’s effects on education waned in most of world, Ukraine was hit with a second, more existential, disruption to its educational structures. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents a disruption to its higher education environment that is qualitatively different from that following the pandemic. Whereas the pandemic isolated students and teachers from each other, it did not compel a physical shifting from their existing locations. In fact, the pandemic acted to confine individuals to their homes. The war is different in this regard. It has required millions of students, faculty, staff, and administrators across Ukraine to seek refuge in relatively safer areas of the country, as well as abroad.

Another consequence of the war, not present during the pandemic, is the instability in the technology and public infrastructure upon which the online delivery of education depends. For example, Russia’s targeting of civilian infrastructure across Ukraine has damaged the electrical grids, telecommunication networks, and physical structures housing the servers and personnel that enable remote education.

As the war approaches its second year, we propose an online conference to discover, highlight, and discuss the effects on Ukraine’s higher education. We seek contributions from faculty, administrators, staff, and students that explore the physical shifting and infrastructure instability experiences noted above. The following list of a few potential research questions may be helpful in identifying some interesting potential topics for this conference:

  • faculty practices to develop and deliver course content and promote learning continuity

  • faculty practices to maintain research and service activities

  • psychological adjustments to ensure student and faculty engagement and well-being

  • course and programmatic modifications

  • adaptions to university strategy and structures

  • communication with key stakeholders

  • experiences of non-Ukrainian universities

  • responses required to maintain university functions such as admissions, library, IT, registrar, and infrastructure

  • student experiences with the shifting and instabilities

  • universities as engines of social progress and their role in the reconstruction of post-war Ukraine

  • priority of science and innovation in the post-war development of Ukraine


Conference Language: English