Those who think they’ve heard everything that can be said about COVID-19 can guess again.
Experts at the University of Mary Washington are sharing their perspectives through COVID-19 in Context, an eight-week online summer course starting June 1 that will be open free of charge to not only UMW students, faculty, alumni and staff, but also the broader community. The 16 classes will be delivered right to cell phones, tablets and computers via Zoom. All participants need is Internet access.
Each session will look at the coronavirus pandemic from a different angle – the effect on climate change, the history of pandemics, the potential impact on our upcoming presidential election, the chemistry of disinfectants, and even how COVID-19 has influenced the fine and performing arts.
Each Monday and Wednesday through July 22, at 4 p.m., faculty from varied disciplines across the University, from psychology and communication to geography and economics, will broadcast a 30-minute lecture followed by an interactive Q&A session. The inaugural class, on June 1, will be a biologist’s look at the virus itself.
Political Science Professor Rosalyn Cooperman, who is teaching one of the classes, said, “Many of us have tried to find ways to use the skills we have to be helpful to our communities during this public health crisis.” She added, “This allows us to use research and knowledge of our own disciplines to come together and teach about the impact of COVID-19.”
The interactive, interdisciplinary offering is the University’s gift to the community. Participating faculty and administrators are donating their time and expertise so that incoming and continuing UMW students, whose education was disrupted this spring, can take the course for academic credit at no cost.
“The last several weeks have been very difficult for all of us,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences Keith Mellinger, a facilitator for COVID-19 in Context. “This course has pulled together experts from across the University to talk about all of those challenges, and it has solidified our strong sense of community and commitment to service.”