CESL COVID-19 Resources

All of us at CESL hope that you, your family and loved ones are all as well as possible during this challenging time.
As you know, due to increased public health concerns related to COVID-19, UMass Amherst has moved to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester. This means that faculty and students will no longer be partnering with community organization through CESL courses and programs.
Below you will find some resources on teaching/supporting service-learning courses, academic engagement and our local community partners as we respond and adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on civic engagement and service-learning at UMass Amherst. We recognize that during this unprecedented time our ability to teach community-based and service-learning courses will be challenged in many ways, and that current crisis brings many questions to mind: How can we deliver a learning experience that is predicated on community engagement, on face-to-face contact, in a moment where such contact is impossible due to the health and safety consequences? How do we continue to connect, create solidarity, and support community care in a time of social emergency and social distancing?

These conditions seem to be antithetical to the social justice and social change frameworks important to many of us, and we know that none of these challenges has easy answers. The simplest advice that we can provide at the moment is that faculty and staff should work closely with their community partners and students to find equitable, ethical, realistic, reflective and—most importantly—safe and healthy ways to continue to meet our goals within a distant learning framework. This is a human and social crisis and I believe what we need the most is compassion and patience.
Below, we've organized a few categories and selected resources. There is so much being shared right now across a number of higher education platforms, so what I attempted to create is a curated listing with a focus on community engaged teaching. Most of these resources are drawn from connections/links through the Higher Education Service-Learning list-serve (he-sl-listserv@nylc.org), and I’m grateful for the varied and timely remarks, resources and reflections that have been shared. We have also included a category on, “Important Reflections / Messages,” as those messages ask us to keep our eyes and hearts open, and to be mindful of the effects of social distancing as we imagine a time in the future where we will be re-building community and re-activating our public spaces.
This page will be updated throughout the crisis, and we will share updates and new information as it becomes available. We welcome your questions, comments and resource recommendations. Please feel free to email CESL Director Joseph Krupczynski: jkrup@umass.edu.


Campus Compact of Minnesota and Iowa, and the “Lifting Bridges” blog by PSU faculty Jennifer Alkezweeny have comprehensive resources for academic engagement on newly created pages. They emphasize the need to reach out to your community partner to better understand their needs, as well as to be mindful of students’ who may need extra support to be successful in this new learning landscape. They also emphasize the possibility of transitioning to remote/online engagement with your community partner through research, content/product creation, virtual connecting/volunteerism and/or on-line advocacy and activism.
Campus Compact (Minnesota)
Community Based Learning in times of Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine
CBL & COVID-19 (Portland State University)

These resources emphasize that we are in a moment of uncertainty as we curtail in-person interactions. They encourage faculty to be creative, resourceful—and to plan, with structured improvisation, flexibility and empathy for your students as this is a difficult time for them as well. They note that much can be done to integrate critical reflection to generate discussion and learning.
Resources for Supporting Community Engaged Teaching during COVID-19
IUPUI Center for Service and Learning (Indiana University) https://csl.iupui.edu/resources-support/Response%20to%20COVID-19.html
Community Engaged Teaching during Suspension of Face-to-Face Classes (Indiana University)

Webinar: "Utilizing Service-Learning Projects in an Online Class"
Jonathan H. Westover / Center for Social Impact, Utah Valley University
Slide deck available here: https://tinyurl.com/ujg2bdj

These resources provide basics for moving towards distant learning with on-line tools (applicable to all types of courses, not only service-learning). Marshall Ganz’s webinar is particularly useful to see how building a strong learning community online is connected to principles and practices of teaching for social action.
Teaching an Online Social Action Course: Webinar 3/13/20
Marshall Ganz (with Sarah ElRahib and Aditi Parekh) Bonner Foundation
video link:  https://youtu.be/9sCIy3KPq-o 
link to slides: https://www.umass.edu/cesl/sites/default/files/teaching_social_action.pdf

UMass Disruption-Resilient Instruction https://www.umass.edu/provost/disruption-resilient-instruction
Online Teaching: Do This, Not That
Alison Yang
Teaching Remotely in Times of Need presentation, 
Torrey Trust, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst
Transforming Your Online Teaching From Crisis to Community
Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis / Inside Higher Ed

These resources explore ways that virtual volunteering can become a tool for supporting your students through on-line engagement. Although we are practicing social distancing, in this moment of multiple on-line platforms and tools, we can re-direct ways that students can engage with community organizations and issues.  
How to Get Involved with Virtual Volunteering
Coronavirus Epidemic: Join the Vast Community of Virtual Volunteering

Virtual Volunteering

Many of our CESL community partners are at the forefront of critical work in our local community during this time. We are deeply grateful and will continue to seek ways to support their efforts over the coming months. If you are in a position to help these organizations respond to this crisis, there are a variety of ways you can be of assistance. Please consider remote/online activities, strategic volunteering, and/or providing financial support for critical needs. Use the links below to learn more about how you can help CESL partners and other local community-based organizations: 

Amherst Survival Center

COVID-19 Response Fund-Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

The Food Bank of Western MA

Not Bread Alone

Pioneer Valley Workers Center

Safe Passage

United Way of Hampshire County (includes listing of current volunteers opportunities)

WMA Community Mutual Aid


Many of these reflections advocate for creatively strengthening social supports and mutual aid networks. They ask us to keep our eyes and hearts open, and to be mindful of the effects of “social” distancing, and how it can produce greater isolation and individualism—qualities and characteristics that are the opposite of what we will need when we end our distancing and seek to re-build community and re-activate our public spaces. As Kenneth Bailey and Lori Lobenstine note in “Social Justice in a Time of Social Distancing,” that once this crisis wanes we can build on our new capacity to step out of our everyday lives and create a new future.
“Activating public spaces to bring people together will break our habits of isolation and individuation and help us lean into collective healing, sense-making and problem-solving. It will give us chances to see each other, to acknowledge our humanity but also to say, “How do we take on these arrangements?” Can we step far enough out of our individually wrapped solutions to create new, more effective, just and collective ones?”
Social Justice in a Time of Social Distancing
By Kenneth Bailey and Lori Lobenstine / The Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI)
Community Care in the Time of Coronavirus
The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC)
Love vs. Pandemic
Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS)
We Need Social Solidarity, Not Just Social Distancing
Eric Klinenberg / New York Times / Opinion

UMass information on the Coronavirus
UMass Center for Teaching & Learning
"Keep Teaching" page: https://www.umass.edu/ctl/keep-teaching

“Psychological Tips for Managing Coronavirus Concerns"
UMass Center for Counseling and Psychological Health 

Read the "Message Regarding Community Partnerships with UMass Amherst Civic Engagement & Service-Learning (CESL)" that was sent to partner organizations on 3/12 Link here.