When Teaching is Impossible: A Pandemic pedagogy of Care
By Oumar Ba, Morehouse College
I teach at Morehouse College, an all-male, historically Black institution. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established to provide opportunities for access to higher education for African Americans when legal segregation characterized the United States. Currently, there are 101 accredited HBCUs, both public and private. Located predominantly in the southeastern United States, HBCUs enroll 300,000 students, 80% of whom are African American and 70% of whom are from low-income families. Although there is variation among these institutions, to a large extent they nevertheless share many features. They tend to be burdened by a lack of financial resources, even before the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, in 2018, only 1.4% of total major gifts (i.e., more than 1 million dollars) to US colleges and universities went to HBCUs (Price 2020). In such a climate of scarcity, how do we adjust the classroom in response to the disruption caused by the pandemic in the middle of the 2020 spring semester?