Aerial Norwich Campus View in early spring

SPECIAL EDITION: Thinking about COVID-19? So is Norwich faculty.

Everyone is adapting to new realities as we learn to work remotely, educate students and serve people in need and this transition has stimulated intellectual curiosities. Norwich releases a series of interdisciplinary essays featuring faculty members’ perspectives on the coronavirus to help us all think through the consequences our nation is facing.

We are not finished with COVID-19 yet, or more precisely, it is not finished with us. However, there are many lessons we have hopefully learned as we prepare for the next pandemic. I will outline how an understanding of exponential growth, thoughtful improvements in education and an increased public involvement in support of science can all be part of our societal strategy for an improved response next time this happens.

On Feb. 24, as Russia started a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, the mainstream media’s grim accounts of COVID-19 progression around the world were replaced by no less dramatic reports of the battles in that country. By the war’s fifth day, it became clear that Russia’s aims in Ukraine were unlimited, the main goal being the destruction of Ukraine’s statehood.

The recent news of a serial killer identified as the “Shopping Cart Killer” in the Virginia area once again highlights the insatiable appetite for crime news, particularly with respect to serial murder. Typically in these narratives, the victims are often summarized simply as a number, with their names and histories subsumed by every last detail of the offender. For example, most people would be able to identify Jack the Ripper as a notorious serial killer who was never caught. Few would be able to point to any significant details of the five women commonly cited as victims of Jack the Ripper — Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddows and Mary Jane Kelly. Author Hallie Rubenhold (2019, Page 292) argues these women “were daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and lovers. They were women. They were human beings, and surely that in itself is enough.”

The word resilience is really seeing its moment in the light. Deep-rooted in the fields of psychology, ecology and engineering [1], the past two years allowed this word to be adopted by multiple causes and domains. In some instances, it was the call to action — let’s fight back, let’s make change in ways that challenge status quos and transform cultures and systems to make them even better than before. In others, it induced a reluctance, a resistance that said — let’s take a moment and feel and experience the loss and just grieve, let’s not rush into responding and rebuilding.

As the tidal wave of the COVID-19 pandemic pulls back, it is important to assess its aftermath. The pandemic highlighted the contribution of nurses carrying out their primary directive, which is caring for the sick. A shortage of nurses predated the pandemic and was already having an impact on the provision of nursing care. Then, the pandemic created a demand for more nurses in all health care areas, but specifically at the bedside.

In the runup to the 2020 election, states implemented more voting options due to COVID-19 — more drop-off boxes, no reason absentee voting, mail-in voting. These options brought up concerns about the security and legitimacy of the outcome of the election.

2020 ushered in the convergence of multiple societal, political, environmental, and health crises, many of which have continued to churn at a near-constant roil since the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic two years ago. In a context ripe with rapidly evolving variables, acute unrest and destabilizing uncertainty, we’ve consistently been presented with the challenge to guide students through curricula while ensuring that the importance of the moment, the depth of its complexities, and associated sociopsychological impacts have been appropriately and adequately conveyed over the past two-plus years. As scholars and educators, questions of how to best engage in what are undoubtedly “difficult dialogues” in accessible and meaningful ways while not succumbing to (or accidentally encouraging) counterproductive actions like doomscrolling and echo chambering have remained constant.

Two years ago, as we watched COVID-19 emerge, spread and impact so many lives throughout the world, my focus as a biologist was almost entirely on the virus and how scientists would respond. There was so much we didn’t know yet — how far would the virus spread? How would it change?  How quickly could we develop a vaccine so we could get back to normal? 

Coronavirus pandemic reminds us that global challenges are best solved through rigorous scholarly experimentation, innovation

Over the past few weeks, Norwich University faculty have used their areas of expertise as frameworks to deliver perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented crisis. What unites these voices is their emphasis on the power of research to shed light on today’s challenges and to formulate potential solutions to global problems. As teacher-scholars engaging students in research, it is more crucial than ever that Norwich University stand by its commitment to supporting faculty research and innovative curriculum development to prepare students to find novel solutions to the world’s new challenges.

Coronavirus, global warming are parallel problems we can conquer, if we act

In my native country of India, pink flamingos descended upon the once bustling city of Navi, Mumbai, in numbers never seen before — reports say as many as 150,000 or a 25% increase. Farther north in Punjab, people can now marvel at views of the snowcapped Himalayas, something that hasn’t been possible for decades.

Left unchecked, COVID-19 could have spread in a frightening flash; math can help us calculate just how fast

The novel coronavirus permeates all quarters of worldwide daily life in the first part of May 2020. We are hunkered down at home, trying to stay safe by minimizing the number of trips out into the world. Many of us wear masks when we do venture out. The objective in doing this, of course, is to try and keep COVID-19 from spreading further than it has already. Every night on the local or national news, the continuing spread of the coronavirus is the lead story. These stories often lead with a welter of numbers, charts and graphs. Two mathematical terms are also mixed into the stories: “exponential growth” and “flattening the curve.” At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, the former is known to be bad and the latter to be good.

After gun sales spike, researchers wonder whether shootings will rise when pandemic abates, criminal justice professor says

Several news outlets reported March 2020 was the first March since 2002 without a “typical” school shooting (i.e., while there were several instances of school shootings on school campuses, they consisted of unintentional discharges, took place between adults on school property or occurred on college campuses, but did not involve students (see, for example, Lewis, 2020). Researchers and gun safety advocates are already beginning to wonder if the recent increased spike in gun sales will result in a return to high numbers of mass shootings once the pandemic ends.

Norwich University admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Norwich University collects personal data about visitors to our website in order to improve the user experience and provide visitors with personalized information about our programs and services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you accept the information policies and practices outlined in our Privacy Policy.