University Park, IL,
16:24 PM

Social Work faculty "meeting students where they are" with COVID study


Governors State University (GSU) faculty are examining the needs, challenges and adjustments social work students have faced since the pandemic began through a study. This study is part of a joint effort with Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). The group will also compile recommendations from students about improving remote teaching and learning.

Faculty from GSU’s Department of Social Work are trying to understand how their students are navigating online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anajali Buehler, Dr. Vickki Coffey, Dr. Giesela Grumbach, and Dr. Linda Campos-Moreira are conducting this study. Dr. Campos-Moreira and partners from NEIU came to this work  due to the documented disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. 

“Since both NEIU and GSU have diverse student bodies they thought it would be important to understand their needs and use that information to strengthen their experience and advocate for shifts in delivery of learning and support,” said Buehler, an Assistant Professor, who is also project lead for the study. 

Data will be collected through online surveys and virtual focus groups at both universities. The goal is to use the findings to improve teaching and learning experiences for students. That’s in addition to more fully understanding the impact the pandemic has had on student life. 

Another key part of the study includes examining how students’ lives outside of school has impacted their studies, Buehler said, noting the researchers hope that “by having a more nuanced understanding of what is going on in our students' lives, we can better support them both during this pandemic and moving forward.”

“Social workers always work to meet people… where they are,” she said. “As social work educators, we are committed to meeting our students where THEY are. We hope to understand their experiences through this research and examine how our practices can better support them in their success.”