n June of 2020, the ARC Network hosted a town hall to discuss issues and challenges and share resources for ensuring equity is integrated as institutions respond to COVID-19. During the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had thrust STEM higher education into an unprecedented state of emergency. As state and local governments responded in varied ways to the public health crisis, administrators and faculty had to act quickly to manage courses, research, family responsibilities, and a plethora of other complications. While managing the current academic school year’s problems, administrators and faculty still had to consider the upcoming academic school year as cases, hospitalizations, and mortality rates surged in many places. Much of the workforce charged with tackling the many unknowns of COVID-19 were housed at higher education institutions which represented yet another remarkable undertaking. The pandemic also laid bare – and exacerbated – enormous inequities experienced by marginalized populations which had unique impacts on marginalized folk in higher education. Responding to its mission to support stakeholders in the drive intersectional gender equity in the STEM academy, the ARC Network held a town hall to hear from its community regarding the challenges in ensuring equity in institutional COVID-19 responses.
Now that we have spent over a year in the pandemic, including another academic year, the ARC Network will engage our STEM equity stakeholders on topics including how institutions have done in advancing equity in the time of COVID-19, what are the new and ongoing issues and challenges for integrating equity, what practices seem to be working, and what new research and methodologies have arisen to address this critical issue.