#Dispatches From the Frontlines series crowdsources questions to get a broad survey of how the academic community is coping with various challenges.
This week’s question – Have you done/been asked to do a COVID Impact Statement? What are your thoughts about them? What are best practices? Do you worry about sharing vulnerabilities around productivity like this?
Find next week’s question and form to share your response here! (we will continue with the current Q for one more week)
- SS – Social Sciences
- Hum – Humanities
- STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
I don’t plan to include one in my annual evaluation packet this year. I don’t see my department or institution as particularly empathetic or flexible when it comes to challenges of caring for young children (all three of mine are age 6 or younger). I don’t want to sound like I’m whining. But also, I don’t think my performance this year has jeopardized my continued employment in any way. (Full time lecturer, SS)
I’ve already drafted a COVID impact statement. It outlines how my ethnographic research was impacted by not being able to carry it out in person and instead having to do it remotely using video conferencing technology. The guidelines for my institution ask that the impact is limited to the academic impact, not personal impact. Other provisions are in place if people are personally impacted ie caring responsibilities, sickness, bereavement, etc so that this doesn’t impact their academic stuff. This means there really shouldn’t be a need for students to have suffered a personal impact on their research. (Grad student, Humanities)
I didn’t write one, I had the option when I was putting together my application. It just felt a bit contrived maybe? (Grad student, STEM)
I am not an administrator. BUT I HATE THE IDEA OF IMPACT STATEMENTS! We’ve all been impacted in concrete ways (conferences cancelled, editors MIA, courses switched online, etc). Some of us have been impacted in other ways (childcare, mental health, exhaustion, physical health, care for loved ones, loss of loved ones, etc). WHAT IS THE DAMN POINT OF IMPACT STATEMENTS IF NOT TO OUT US FOR BEING VULNERABLE? If we’re all impacted….then leave us alone. Don’t waste our time with this nonsense. What is productivity in the academy anyway? Unless you’re working on groundbreaking research (which, in this context, imo, would only be medical/therapy research) what honest to goodness impact is there going to be if you’re a little slower getting out a few publications? Seriously. Someone answer this question for me. Let us all BREATHE and stop trying to measure our worth by asking us to detail exactly how we’re impacted BY A GLOBAL FUCKING PANDEMIC. (Asssistant prof, SS)
I actually didn’t (or wasn’t asked to) write an impact statement, or didn’t think to. I wrote our competitive grant for WIOA Title II funds for the 21-25 grant cycle.(Admin, Adult Ed)
In my department these statements are encouraged, but very obviously only for “accepted” impacts – primarily having children at home. My personal impact, severe crippling depression and anxiety mainly caused by loneliness and isolation in the scary pandemic (former international student with no family in the US post-divorce, moved many times across the country for jobs so still new to my job and location) – is not an “accepted” impact and therefore I do not feel comfortable sharing it. I did not and will not write any such statement, since the mood in my department seems to be that people without children have no problems or even the right to have problems. (Assistant prof, STEM)
Our college leadership has officially encouraged us to document the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in an “output relative to opportunity” statement, but I am on the fence about whether I will complete one. I rather doubt that it will actually be taken into account, based on the lack of follow-through that our administrators have demonstrated in the past, but I will likely do it anyhow so that I have something to fall back on if I am later targeted for being “insufficiently productive”. I also feel conflicted about writing one when I have so many colleagues who have had it worse than me, especially people who are the sole caretakers of children or elderly parents. (Asst prof, SS)
I wrote a COVID impact statement in my annual report. There were a few factors: My department is mostly male (engineering) and I wanted to normalize the fact that their colleagues were adversely impact by the last year. I also wanted to have one so the larger administration at my R1 had additional data documenting how faculty were impacted. If we don’t include impact statements, then we’re not going to get help. Our institution did very little, just letting faculty opt in to a tenure clock extension, but for myself NTT I got no support.(NTT, STEM)
I do not like the idea of including impact statements. Why make this an individual-level issue instead of university’s just assuming that COVID has had a negative impact on people?(Grad student, STEM)
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