Today@Sam Article

SHSU Creates Nationwide Research Study On COVID-19 Response

July 2, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

CARESGroupShotwebSam Houston State University, in collaboration with the state of Texas, established the Center for Assessment, Research, and Education Safety (C.A.R.E.S.) in early 2020 to focus on school safety. 

Originally tasked with creating a statewide needs assessment on school safety, mental health and violence in schools, C.A.R.E.S is now going nationwide. Education leaders across the country are invited to participate in a new research study related to institutional responses to COVID-19.

This new project, which launched July 6, uses a crowdsourcing data collection method (IdeaScale) to examine decision-making processes and ideas for future responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators can join the community and start offering ideas here:

“The ideas we collect will help our researchers create guidelines for the current and future pandemic response in higher education,” said Matt Fuller, director of C.A.R.E.S. “We understand things are changing every day and anticipate collecting data for at least a year on this topic. We want to learn what institutions of higher learning have done across the country and what could be improved for future crises.”

CampaignsThe study has seven categories, called campaigns, and members are encouraged to share any ideas in each of the different areas. As this is a yearlong study, other campaigns and topics could emerge, but the current categories include remote learning transition, decision making/timing, communication, students, employees, research, and finances.

Stacie Szaal, project manager for C.A.R.E.S, explained that this project will continue to evolve as the higher education response to COVID-19 across the country changes.

“One of our thoughts on starting this right away is, ‘what better time to learn from this pandemic than when we’re right in the middle of it?’” Szaal said. “We want to know what went well and what could have been improved. Ultimately, we want administrations to be able to study and use these tools for the future.”

CARESCoverThe website works similarly to a typical social media platform. Members can post, comment and vote on any active campaign or topic.

“Since this will be going for a year, our results can be studied and adapted as we go,” Fuller said. “We are hoping in a few months we can also get the angle of how reopening has gone for our members.”

This site will be shared with more than 45,000 people in higher education across the U.S., and members will be encouraged to invite other fellow educators and public leaders to be involved.

“This tool is used by many Fortune 500 companies and government sources. It is robust and works well for what we need to learn. The only challenge is getting it out to as many people as possible,” Fuller said. “This work is needed right now. We do not have time to wait. We want to write the book for the next pandemic or crises.”

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