New Orleans

Faculty Resource Network

An academic partnership devoted to faculty development. Now in our fourth decade, we remain committed to this partnership, and to fostering connection, collaboration, and collegiality among our members.

2021 National Symposium

Co-sponsored by Dillard University

Redesigning Higher Education After COVID-19

When: November 19-20, 2021

Where: Virtual

Call for Proposals

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, May 28, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. EDT (NYC time)

Symposium Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted higher education. The principal mission of colleges and universities–teaching and learning–was thrown into disarray by the sudden closure of campuses and the dislocation of faculty members and students. Classes were abruptly shifted online, which required both professors and students to quickly adjust to a new learning environment. Communication switched from in-person conversations to online Zoom meetings, which sustained connection but reinforced our sense of personal separation.  The COVID-19 pandemic aimed a revealing spotlight on issues in higher education that were always present but were now brought more fully into view, such as concerns about student wellness and faculty work-life balance.

We have now reached the one-year mark of this educational transformation. There are hopeful signs of declining COVID cases nationwide and an increase in the number of COVID vaccinations. There is also cautious optimism about the ability to return to our campuses in the fall. But what will higher education look like after COVID-19?  What lessons have we learned from our pandemic experience that can stimulate us to reshape higher education in a way that is better at fostering student learning and supporting faculty advancement? This FRN Symposium provides an opportunity to reflect on our COVID-19 experiences and chart a new course for redesigning higher education for our post-pandemic future.

  • The abrupt transition to remote instruction was a learning experience for both professors and students. Many faculty members with no previous experience of online teaching have learned new tools and strategies for remote instruction. How did this shift to remote instruction change what and how we teach and how students learn? What features of online or asynchronous instruction should we retain after we are able to return to our classrooms? 
  • Student mental health and wellness is a growing focus on college campuses, but the forced isolation of the pandemic exacerbated the personal challenges that many students are experiencing. What lessons have we learned from our COVID-19 experience about  designing comprehensive and flexible wellness support for students? 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic created enormous stresses in the lives of faculty members. Many professors had to multitask their teaching, research, and administrative obligations with caring for children at home who were displaced from school. In the post-pandemic academy, how can we support faculty work-life balance, encourage professional advancement, and prevent burnout? 
  • During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also witnessed a global reckoning with racial injustice. Protests organized by Black Lives Matter highlighted the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement against people of color. As higher education readjusts to life after COVID-19, how can colleges and universities foreground the importance of social justice in the curriculum?
  • The transformational experience of COVID-19  provides opportunities for faculty members to take a leadership role as change agents. How can we encourage and support the faculty at our institutions to engage with the vital mission of redesigning higher education for a post-pandemic world? 
  • Colleges and universities are traditionally organized in academic departments that value and reward specialized disciplinary knowledge. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, interdisciplinary problem that requires the integration of insights from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. Can COVID-19 provide a model for disrupting the traditional boundaries between disciplines and providing students with the tools to tackle complex, real-world challenges such as global pandemics, climate change, social justice, and many others? 

Please join us in New Orleans, Louisiana for an exploration of higher education after COVID-19. Possible topics are listed below, and we welcome other suggestions that align with the symposium theme.

  • Effective strategies for online and hybrid teaching
  • Supporting student mental health and wellness
  • Promoting faculty work-life balance and professional advancement
  • Advancing social justice in the curriculum
  • Faculty members as agents of change in higher education
  • Addressing complex challenges in a post-COVID world


Proposal Submission Guidelines:


Please submit a one-page abstract (between 300-500 words) of the intended session that outlines the proposal structure, content, and rationale of the session. We encourage the submission of abstracts by groups of 2-4 presenters. Proposals submitted by individuals may be combined with at least one other accepted proposal. Abstracts can be sent by responding to the Proposal Submission Form.

Breakout sessions are scheduled for one hour. We encourage submissions by a group of 2-4 presenters, which emphasize collaboration and are organized around a common theme. Proposals submitted by individuals (if accepted) will be combined with other proposal topics within the breakout session.

POSTER PRESENTATION: Poster presentations may be submitted by individuals or by groups of any size.

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, May 28, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. EDT

Previous National Symposia


  • 2021 National Symposium: "Redesigning Higher Education After Covid-19"
  • 2020 National Symposium: "Curriculum Innovation for Transformative Learning"
  • 2019 National Symposium: "Critical Conversations and the Academy"
  • 2018 National Symposium: "Transforming Teaching Through Active Learning"
  • 2017 National Symposium: "Engaging With Diversity in the College Classroom"
  • 2016 National Symposium: "Teaching a New Generation of Students"
  • 2015 National Symposium: "Advancing Social Justice From Classroom to Community"
  • 2014 National Symposium: "The Global Imperative for Higher Education"
  • 2013 National Symposium: "Reinventing Liberal Education"
  • 2012 National Symposium: "New Faces, New Expectations"
  • 2011 National Symposium: "Emerging Pedagogies for the New Millennium"
  • 2010 National Symposium: "Engaging Students in the Community and the World"
  • 2009 National Symposium: "Challenge as Opportunity: The Academy in the Best and Worst of Times"
  • 2008 National Symposium: "Defining and Promoting Student Success"
  • 2007 National Symposium: "Advancing Women and the Underrepresented in the Academy"
  • 2006 National Symposium: "The Millennial Student"
  • 2005 National Symposium: "Spirituality and Higher Education"
  • 2004 National Symposium: "Beyond Brown vs. Board of Education: Diversity and Higher Education"
  • 2003 National Symposium: "Approaching Assessment: The Road Ahead"
  • 2002 National Symposium: "Being a Professor..."
  • 2000 National Symposium: "The Future of Liberal Arts Education"
  • 1999 National Symposium: "The Teaching and Learning Continuum"