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100 Days: A Spring Report Card and Speculations on the Post-Pandemic Campus

How will higher education institutions, and their students, instructors, and administrators, respond to the pressures of remote learning? Architect Jay Deshmukh explores the future of higher education campuses in a comprehensive, two-part qualitative analysis.

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Date

July 14, 2020

June 21 marked 100 days since universities around the world collectively migrated to remote learning. As our understanding of the pandemic evolved from April to June, and terms like “post-COVID-19” crept into casual conversation, I interviewed faculty and students about their personal experiences of the sudden shift to virtual classrooms. As physical distancing protocols persisted, my discussions led to a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how the idea of the higher education campus is itself morphing, in ways both expected and not.

This watershed public health and economic crisis has accelerated changes to the function and design of post-secondary institutions that were long emergent. It has amplified deficiencies and strengths in pedagogical models, and made institutions reevaluate their systems of learning, operation, purpose, and vision, forcing a deep reckoning with the value of higher education.

The question remains: has COVID-19 killed the campus? I think not. And yet, it has set campuses on a path of uneven evolution. The risk of shedding the good with the extraneous is high, in the absence of wide-eyed consideration and responsive planning. My two-part, in-depth qualitative analysis details the methods and strategies followed by professors, students and administrators in twelve countries, as the pandemic continues to impact the ways that they learn and teach. It then speculates on out-of-the-norm possibilities that campuses could explore as they navigate the uncertainty of the fall 2020 semester, and closes by addressing an essential question — what defines a post-secondary education?

Read Jay's two-part qualitative analysis

An award-winning architect with over 20 years of experience, Jay is a recognized thought leader in institutional architecture of varied scales and typologies, in Canada and overseas.  She leads the design, strategic thinking and planning for education projects, and engages meaningfully with clients and stakeholders to define and implement the strategic vision of the project through place-centric design.  She is deeply engaged in the arts and design community in Toronto, as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Textile Museum of Canada, and as a frequent guest critic and lecturer at design schools. Presently, she is working effectively from home, leading the design of an integrated health sciences faculty with 5 schools, 26 user groups, and a large multidisciplinary team of professionals. 

Headshot of Jay Deshmukh

Written by Jay Deshmukh

Associate - Manager, Architecture
Toronto, ON
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