In the past two and a half weeks, higher education has changed significantly. As campuses across the country began planning for closures, we were ready for a surge of requests for crisis communications assistance. But what came next was unexpected. In the midst of moving courses online, participating in endless Zoom calls, homeschooling their children, and making sure to stock up on groceries, more faculty and administrators started making time to write op-eds than at any other point in our careers.
To be clear, this is not a signal that professors and senior leaders have “down time” while campuses are exceptionally quiet. (We know they don’t.) Instead, it’s a response indicative of one of the things I love most about higher education—a shared responsibility to help people make sense of our world. Our colleges and universities are home to some of the world’s top researchers, preeminent experts and most effective teachers. They have spent their careers forming insights, backed up by data and facts, that can help others understand, process and appropriately react to this pandemic—and many feel a responsibility now to share what they can. This is a wonderful byproduct of an unsettling and difficult situation.
However, it also means that competition for op-ed space is intense and submission volume is up exponentially. To break through in the coming weeks and months, submissions will need to be stronger than ever, which is why I shared some tips for writing op-eds during the COVID-19 pandemic with Inside Higher Ed.