The “Silver Lining” of COVID-19 impacts on an IUSE ICT Capacity-Building Project: Adapting to Efforts to Promote Positive Change During times of Uncertainty and Change

Tobin Walton
Assistant Professor of Sociology
North Carolina A&T State University

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted higher education in the US in myriad ways. This reality has not been lost on efforts aimed at improving STEM education. This poster will present information on the adaptive efforts taken by researchers that are part of a collaborative IUSE ICT Capacity-Building project that launched just 5 months prior to the beginning of the pandemic. The over-arching goal of this IUSE:EHR ICT project is to build the capacity to enhance undergraduate STEM education by linking students to the campus and broader community through engagement with citizen science. To achieve this goal, we pursued three primary objectives:Objective 1: Conduct needs assessment activities for meeting the project goal and scaling the project up Objective 2: Build knowledge, awareness, and relationships that will support meeting the project goal Objective 3: Build an information technology infrastructure capable of achieving the project goalThe primary activities impacted by the pandemic involved the needs assessment, faculty training and workshops, and student engagement with the campus and local community. Although the pandemic restricted planned in-person activities, our shift to virtual activities supported greater independence among geographically dispersed students as they engaged in citizen science, and produced an online, self-guided training tutorial for all instructors in Higher Education. Our new model and products support the sustainability and scalability of the project, as well as new directions, such as instructor professional development in the form of a citizen science summer fellows program.


Caren Cooper, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; Kelsie Bernot, NC A&T SU, Greensboro, NC;Anna Lee, NC A&T SU, Greensboro NC; Sharon Parker, NC A&T SU, Greensboro NC; Kalynda Smith, NC A&T SU, Greensboro, NC; Stephanie Teixeira-Poit, NC A&T SU, Greensboro, NC; Chelsea Kreig, NC State University, Raleigh, NC; Terry Gates, NC State University, Raleigh, NC;