OVID-19 upended worldwide norms, including those in higher education. A new book published by the Council of Europe has taken stock of the ways in which various universities responded to the pandemic, with the goal of contributing to a dynamic and equitable post-COVID world.
“Higher education’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Building a sustainable and democratic future” contains 31 chapters by 43 authors from all over the world, and is the seventh book edited by leaders from the Global Cooperation for the Democratic Mission of Higher Education. Ira Harkavy, associate vice president at Penn and the Netter Center for Community Partnerships’ founding director, is the book’s co-editor. Harkavy contributed three chapters, one of which, “Chapter 7: Past, present, future: Re-thinking the social responsibility of U.S. higher education in light of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter,” was co-written with Rita A. Hodges, Netter Center associate director.
Penn Today talked with Harkavy to discuss social responsibility at Penn, the democratic purpose of higher education, and the role of universities in a post-pandemic world moving forward into the “next normal.”
The Global Cooperation for the Democratic Mission of Higher Education began in 1999 as a collaboration between the Council of Europe and the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy (with representation from the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and the Magna Charta Observatory). The Global Cooperation has expanded in recent years to include the Organization of American States and International Association of Universities. The International Consortium is housed at the Netter Center and is chaired by Harkavy; Hodges serves as executive secretary.
A global webinar was hosted on March 16 to launch the book; additional regional webinars are planned for the United States, Ireland, and Ecuador.