Welcoming a new piece from CITAP senior faculty researcher Shannon McGregor and co-authors Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, Emily T. Cripe, Brooke Foucault Welles, Katy E. Pearce, Nikki Usher, & Jessica Vitak on the need for institutional support for crises.
Crises, whether society-wide or personal, are endemic to the human condition. Yet academia and its associated institutions persist in having insufficient scaffolding to support its members during periods of crisis. No one knows this more acutely than academic caregivers of children, elders, disabled adults, and other loved ones with special needs. Academic caregivers are disproportionately women, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light our precarious position and the lack of structural and institutional responses to cope with crises. Academia is decades behind other sectors in family leave and accommodation policies, and caregivers are suffering the consequences. In this article, we outline recommendations for shifting away from individual approaches to resilience, instead building organizational and community resilience in academia. Our focus is on caregivers in academic teaching and research roles; however, these recommendations will help everyone in academia, especially institutions, withstand future crises and are critical for academia’s sustainability.