The Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT) recently polled faculty members in Texas Higher Education colleges and universities on their involvement with the decisions made by their campuses regarding Covid-19. Tallying 499 responses to the survey, the results were very revealing.
TACT has been advocating that faculty have a voice in all aspects of higher education since 1948. Since Covid-19 began, there have been many stories where the faculty were not involved in the decisions campuses made during the pandemic. As the delta variant came on the scene, TACT polled Texas higher education faculty and asked them to note the involvement of other faculty and their faculty senate, as well as what their school is doing to prepare for future epidemics.
The disheartening result of the survey is that faculty wasn’t involved much in the decision-making process; 40.4% reported faculty weren’t involved at all and 26.5% said that they were not very involved. Only 35.4% acknowledged that their faculty senate were consulted in the decisions.
Responding to an epidemic that our country has not seen the likes of since the Spanish Flu is a daunting task and many actions had to be taken in haste due to the nature of the issue. The survey asked if campuses have self-evaluated their response to Covid-19 and communicated to faculty and staff. Of those responding, 22.8% said yes, 46.5% reported no and 30.7% didn’t know.
Since Covid-19 arrived, many experts say there could be more epidemics on the horizon. The survey also asked participants if their campus created a team to respond to future epidemics and disasters. The shocking answer was that 79.8% of our Texas colleges hadn’t communicated that such a team exists. Only 12% reported that their faculty senate was involved with their team and 6.9% said that the team has clearly outlined goals and is working towards a plan.
As major stakeholders in our higher education colleges and universities, Texas faculty need a bigger voice in how campuses respond to any type of disaster. Not only are they directly affected, but they know the needs of their students. By sharing these survey results, we desire it opens conversations on each campus and brings all stakeholders to the table in campus-wide decisions not only for epidemics, but for all aspects that affects faculty and staff.
Here are the detailed results of the survey.
1. How involved were faculty in your institution’s response to Covid-19?
2. Was your faculty senate consulted, kept informed and active in your institution’s response to Covid-19?
3. How involved were you in your institution’s response to Covid-19?
4. Has your institution self-evaluated their response to Covid-19 and communicated the results to faculty and staff?
5. Is there a team or committee at your institution preparing for future epidemics.
6. If there is a team designed to respond to future epidemics and disasters, what of the following statements are true? (check all that reply)