Equity Impacts of the COVID 19 Pandemic
The AdvanceRIT office has been busy supporting the Office of Faculty Affairs with research and resources for faculty supporting during the pandemic, particularly in areas that impact underrepresented groups where equity concerns arise. We have compiled a set of resources on our website. Presentations have been made to the Dean’s Council and the Council of Chairs about the equity impacts of the pandemic and strategies to mitigate these impacts. Outcomes related to this work have been institutional membership in Care.com that provides a way to identify caregiving and work-life resources, such as errand runners, tutors, and house cleaners. This membership provides all full-time employees with five days of emergency back-up care. AdvanceRIT assisted with the Pulse Survey that looked at pandemic impacts on faculty careers at RIT. In this survey, 93% of women reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their research productivity compared to 83% of men. The challenge that caused the most disruption to research for men and women was having to spend more time on teaching and balancing personal and professional commitments. AdvanceRIT is assisting with the development of guidance for Pandemic Impact Statements for use during evaluations. This statement allows faculty to document the pandemic’s impact on their productivity or balance of work responsibilities. Faculty can convey new responsibilities and unexpected challenges. These statements allow for recognition of the differential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate against unequal outcomes. These statements can allow leaders and promotion committees to assess faculty members more fairly, accounting for their different working conditions under and even after the pandemic. These statements can make relevant but potentially invisible impacts visible, for example, additional student mentoring and support.