Weaponizing Resilience: Women in the Trenches and Fringes of Pandemic Pedagogy





COVID-19, resilience, compassion fatigue, higher education, critical autoethnography, online communities


This study foregrounds the conflicting social pressures that women educators in the United States face in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in higher education. Narratives from three standpoints interweave to provide three perspectives on pandemic-informed practices that can build resilience as an inclusive rather than simply an individual process. The three points of view are: a mother in a non-tenure track teaching position who juggles caregiving duties; a male department head navigating how to energize allyship within a neoliberal educational system that suppresses acknowledgment and support of caretaking; and interactions among members of the Facebook group Pandemic Pedagogy, a global social media hub for educators adjusting to the pandemic’s impact. Collectively, these standpoints constitute a critical autoethnographic multilogue to deconstruct and remediate the systemic gender inequities exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic. The three perspectives converge on implementing feminist ethics of care as both a philosophical and practical foundation for constructively cultivating resilience at the personal, community, and institutional levels.

Author Biographies

Roy Schwartzman, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Dr. Roy Schwartzman is a full professor and Head of the Department of Communication Studies and faculty affiliate with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The Global Citizenship Foundation named him among the World’s 100 Leading Thinkers in Education for Global Citizenship in 2021.

Jenni Simon, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Dr. Jenni M. Simon is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Communication Studies Department at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her research focuses on gender and the critical and rhetorical intersections that exist between culture and social movements.