American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
May/June 2020
Volume 
48
Issue 
3

ASA Advocacy during the Pandemic

Capitol Building, Washington, DCASA’s advocacy efforts are guided by our mission to serve sociologists in their work, advance sociology as a science and profession, and promote the contributions and use of sociology to society. In response to COVID-19, ASA has led the following efforts: 

Statement on Student Educational Progress during COVID-19

ASA released a formal statement, endorsed by more than 33 other scholarly associations, calling on institutions of higher education to consider appropriate temporary accommodations for students whose degree progress has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement contains recommendations that institutions modify timelines for student progress and completion, such as extending funding eligibility and time-to-degree requirements, and adjust expectations for learning and scholarship by, for example, offering pass-fail grading options and amending graduation requirements. “Tangible policy changes like these are important for students’ educational progress and well-being, and we encourage departments and institutions to offer these and other protective measures that are appropriate for their students and context.” Read the statement.

Statement on Faculty Review and Reappointment Processes during COVID-19

ASA released a formal statement, endorsed by more than 50 other scholarly associations, calling on institutions of higher education to consider appropriate temporary adjustments to their review and reappointment processes for tenure-track and contingent faculty during the COVID-19 crisis. The statement contains recommendations to limit the use of student evaluations of teaching during the current term and to adjust expectations for faculty scholarship through this period. Further, administrators are encouraged to communicate such changes to faculty expeditiously. “We ask that institutions support the extraordinary efforts of faculty by allowing them to focus on immediate needs without worrying that this will compromise how they are reviewed for tenure, promotion, and reappointment.” Read the statement.

Letter to Congressional Leadership on Relief Funding for Higher Education

ASA sent a letter to Congressional leadership asking for substantial additional funding for higher education in future COVID-19-related relief bills. The letter recognizes that, while the pandemic has affected all of us, its consequences are not uniform, with the most marginalized institutions and individuals hit hardest.  We urge that resources allocated to higher education be distributed to the students and institutions who need them most. The letter was authored by ASA and co-signed by almost 40 other scholarly associations. Read the letter