Mobilizing Universities to Fight COVID-19
Universities have the expertise and workforce to help. It's time to take action.
Universities need to mobilize in the fight against COVID-19. The pandemic is more than a health disaster. It’s straining our education, economic, and social systems. Universities have the expertise and workforce to help.
Individuals are taking on this challenge. At NDSU, Adam Elznic is 3D-printing equipment for hospitals. Marketing students are persuading classmates to #savesummer with social distancing. The Nice Center for entrepreneurship is helping businesses create and promote online storefronts.
Over 45 students are involved, from interior designers to computer scientists. Still, they are fewer than .5% of all students at NDSU. Imagine the impact if the potential of the Tri-College, and universities across the country, was unleashed.
Three Ways to Mobilize Higher Education
Mobilizing higher education can be done in three ways.
First, university leadership should encourage and reward faculty and administrators to take action. Community meetings not committee meetings.
Second, professors should convert class time into experiential projects, where students learn by helping their community. Outreach not homework.
Third, students should receive a pass/fail grade for their classes if they choose to volunteer, just like students serving the ND Guard. Action not finals.
Taking Action as a Land-Grant University
Land-grant universities, like NDSU, were founded to provide a practical education that meets the needs of students and the state. NDSU’s mission is “addressing the needs and aspirations of people in a changing world by building on our land-grant foundation.”
Has there ever been a faster changing world with more needs for us to address?