This study aims to describe and illuminate the ways in which Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) – an urban, undergraduate institution with a strong focus on teaching, learning and related research and scholarship, and a substantial international student population – adapted to pandemic conditions in 2020 in an effort to meet community and pedagogical priorities, institutional/legal responsibilities and strategic goals.
Three institutional leaders at KPU draw together their respective insights and experiences, reflecting on how governance, pedagogy and operations were impacted by COVID-19.
After two years of continuous operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the strong support of its learners and the faculty, KPU has undergone significant pedagogical and technological shifts to become a multi-modal university for study, teaching and administration.
This is a “practitioner paper” with a practical focus on institutional leadership and adaptation in a period of rapid adjustment. It is more of an accounting and reflection piece than a critical analysis.
It offers post-secondary leaders’ insights into ways in which institutional values and community needs inform policy-making, operations and innovation in education.
KPU’s domestic and international student constituencies are complex and required unconventional post-secondary strategies regarding faculty autonomy and growth, de-colonization and inclusion.
KPU has a distinctive mandate in British Columbia and its commitment to experiential learning – typically associated with hands-on education – presented unusual challenges for delivery. While research-and-teaching universities were tested by COVID-19, their tests were largely alike. KPU’s experience illustrates what practical- and teaching-focused institutions confronted.
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