Adjusting Class Policies amid a Pandemic: How Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Can Help Faculty Prepare for Other Institution-Wide Crises




classroom policies, COVID-19, pedagogical adjustments


Research consistently suggests that student learning is maximized when faculty balance stringency and leniency in their classroom policies. However, the COVID-19 crisis raised an important question: In the face of a wide-scale crisis, should faculty instead adopt forgiving policies? This study uses interview data with 43 university faculty across the United States to examine policy adjustments made in response to COVID-19, as well as the impact faculty felt those adjustments had on course learning objectives. Results suggest that even amid a wide-scale crisis, balancing leniency and stringency offers benefits to both students and instructors. Implications for future crisis-response and crisis-preparedness are also discussed.

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Author Biographies

Mellisa Holtzman, Ball State University

Mellisa Holtzman is a professor of sociology at Ball State University (USA).

Ellen Whitehead, Ball State University

Ellen Whitehead is an assistant professor of sociology at Ball State University (USA).

Ayrlia Welch, University at Buffalo

Ayrlia Welch is a PhD student in the department of sociology at University at Buffalo (USA).


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How to Cite

Holtzman, Mellisa, Ellen Whitehead, and Ayrlia Welch. 2023. “Adjusting Class Policies Amid a Pandemic: How Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Can Help Faculty Prepare for Other Institution-Wide Crises”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 11 (February).