Lessons from the Pandemic

Call for Submissions

Lessons from the Pandemic: Trauma-Informed Approaches to College, Crisis, Change


Phyllis Thompson, East Tennessee State University
Janice Carello, Edinboro University


We invite proposals for a collection of essays on trauma-informed teaching and learning in higher education after COVID/during crisis. While studies abound on trauma-informed approaches for mental health service providers, law enforcement, nurses, and K-12 educators, strategies geared to college faculty, staff, and administrators are not readily available and are now in high demand.

COVID shines new light on this need, is a wake-up call on crisis, and galvanizes us to re-envision pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning not only in response to the current pandemic but in acknowledgement of crisis everywhere. Conceptualized as a method to create interventions sensitive to the complexities of crisis while fostering resilience and promoting belonging, trauma-informed approaches to teaching and learning answer this call and provide a pathway to change.

We seek contributions from researchers, teaching faculty, administrators, activists, counselors, and theorists on aspects of teaching, learning, and working in higher education in/after COVID/during crisis, including writing that is theoretical, experiential, practical, and inspirational. The aim of Lessons from the Pandemic is a research-based, practical guide for faculty, staff, and administrators in higher education that cuts across disciplinary boundaries, provides field-tested tools, and offers insights from population groups, especially those already at risk in higher ed: LGBTQ+ people, non-binary people, people of color, women, people with disabilities, young people and seniors, poor and working-class people, first-gen learners, and others who are marginalized. The intention is to connect trauma-informed principles to practices in higher education. This collection joins a conversation in place about what COVID has taught us and how we are using what we have learned to construct a new discourse around teaching and learning during crisis.


We are inviting several types of submissions. Collaborative authorship and multiple submissions are welcomed.

  • Narrative Inter Views: Narratives of experience that take up the struggle and success of trauma-informed teaching and learning during the covid crisis (1000-2000 words). Questions to help elicit a narrative are provided below.

  • Infusing Trauma-Informed Principles: Essays that illustrate one or more trauma-informed principles in practice (2000-5000 words).

  • Approaches to Working with Specific Populations: Essays that illustrate trauma-informed approaches to teaching specific populations (3000-5000 words).

  • Trauma-Informed Teaching Across the Curriculum: Essays that illustrate trauma-informed approaches to teaching in specific disciplines (3000-5000 words).

  • Trauma-Informed Teaching Toolbox: A collection of concrete strategies, tips, policies, practices, assignment prompts, and activities for teaching during times of crisis (400-800 words). These may be tools that are mentioned in the other submission types or separate submissions. Guidelines for tool submission are provided below.

Target audience: Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Graduate Students in Higher Education

Abstract submission deadline: August 17, 2020

Tentative publication schedule:

· Selected submission authors notified by September 21, 2020

· Submissions due to editors by December 1, 2020

· Final submissions to publisher by March 1, 2021

Narrative Inter Views Questions

The questions below are designed to elicit a narrative about your experiences teaching during the coronavirus pandemic. You may skip questions to which you do not wish to respond. When writing about your experiences, please refer to others either by role (e.g. colleague, student, staff member) in order to protect their identity.

1. How has the pandemic affected your teaching? What adjustments have you had to make?

2. How have your relationships with your students and colleagues been affected by the pandemic?

3. What has been the most distressing or challenging part of teaching during the covid crisis?

4. What policies and practices did not work very well during the crisis, and what did you learn from these disappointments?

5. What policies and practices did work, and what did you learn from these successes?

6. Looking back, what do you think and feel about how the Spring semester ended?

7. What losses, if any, are you grieving?

8. What accomplishments, if any, are you celebrating?

9. What questions do you still have about teaching and learning in times of crisis?

10. What have you learned about yourself as a person and as an educator?

11. What things might you do differently in your courses in coming semesters? What help might you need to do this?

12. Are there things you would like to see others do differently in coming semesters? What help might they need to do this?

13. What else might you want others to know about teaching and learning in times of crisis?

Trauma-Informed Teaching Toolbox Guidelines

For each tool, please include the information below. An example is provided.

· Title

· Wording of policy or assignment prompt or description of practice or activity

· Goals or hopes for this policy, practice, assignment, or activity

· Trauma-informed principles exemplified, if any

· Any additional information you’d like to share about this tool


Title: Late Days Policy

Wording: Each student has a total of 5 late days that may be used on the Independent Learning Showcase and on any part of the Case Analysis Project without any consequence to the assignment grade. Late days cannot be used on the Check-Ins, Forums, Quizzes, or Exam. To use late days: notify me by email at least 30 minutes before the assignment is due. Late days start immediately after the due date and run for 24 hours. If more than 5 late days are accumulated, or if you do not notify me in advance, the assignment will be graded as late. Late assignments cannot receive a grade higher than B.

Goals or hopes: This policy acknowledges that life happens and that all of us need an extended deadline occasionally. With this policy, there are no questions asked: students are empowered to assert their right to these days without explanation. I’ve tried increasing the number of late days, but I have found that limiting them to 5-7 helps provide needed structure and accountability. Should students require extra time, the late work policy permits them to earn a grade as high as B. Since implementing these late work policies over the past decade, I have literally eliminated conflict with students over deadlines and late work grades.

Trauma-informed principles exemplified: Safety, Trustworthiness, Collaboration, Resilience

Additional information: I have policies that cover the assignments the late days do not. For example: Quizzes, when used in a course, can be taken at any point during the semester without penalty, and late forum posts can earn partial credit. Also, sometimes students do choose to share the reason they are using one or more late days. The best reason a student has given me is that she was outside playing with her child and it was such a beautiful summer evening and she had been so busy with responsibilities lately that she just wanted to enjoy that time together as long as she could.


Contact Phyllis Thompson at thompsop@etsu.edu or
Janice Carello at
jcarello@edinboro.edu for more information.

Please use the Submit button below complete the submission form and to upload your proposal.