Swarthmore College

The Aydelotte Foundation at Swarthmore College is supporting public writing that engages with the challenges of this moment for academic professionals.

COVID-19, urgent and sustained uprising for racial justice, a crescendo of climate-fueled disasters, and the lead-up and fallout from the U.S. election are but a few phenomena that have led to a rupture in how we typically think about academic work in 2020. In the deluge of writing on higher education’s place in and its survival through this crisis, we at the Aydelotte Foundation see that most discussions focus predominantly on managerial decisions, as well as the increased use of educational technologies. While important, this discourse doesn’t capture the everyday traces, challenges, practices, and experiences of doing scholarly work in this time. We would like to change this. 

We are supporting—and are excited to support—contributions to the wider discussion of higher education in this crisis that consider how:

  • The rupture has shifted and/or thwarted your research agenda (e.g. not able to travel for fieldwork, abandoned or reconceptualized a project at any stage, etc.);

  • Virtual teaching has opened up new possibilities in your pedagogy or has you longing for aspects of the in-person classroom that you may not have known you would miss;

  • Your vision for your work’s circulation and audience have changed in ways expected and unexpected;

  • You newly love or loathe social media as a space for intellectual discussion, higher ed shop-talk, and/or professional commiseration;

  • Managerial policies around the crisis are experienced at an individual, lab, or departmental level;

  • Coping with caretaking responsibilities, illness, grief, and tragedy have led you to reconceptualize your pedagogy, your research, and your intellectual disposition.

We want to continue to support faculty and staff who are writing and thinking about these topics and others related to doing academic work in the rupture that we have yet to imagine. Our support includes holding space for conversation, offering prompts, story ideas, and narrative hooks, as well as providing discussions of drafts and editorial advice for those pursuing public writing. 

If you are interested in joining us in writing and thinking about teaching and researching in the rupture, please send a brief, informal statement of interest (250 words or less) to ahines1@swarthmore.edu. We are open to your ideas, as well as to varying levels of engagement and commitment for those interested.