We asked a dynamic group of faculty and staff, each with different perspectives on academic and student life, to answer two questions: How do you think the pandemic changed the nature of your work, profession or the things that matter to you? Which of these changes will — or should — stick around in a post-pandemic future?

In response, we received a glimpse into a year that “shocked our understanding of almost every aspect of our lives,” as Baker College magisters Luis and Angela Duno-Gottberg said. “It was a year of running elementary schools out of our homes, of missing research opportunities and of mastering new technologies that enabled essential work to go on.” It was a year of keeping up with constantly changing visa rules for international students, of attending conferences and lectures worldwide without traveling, of experiencing professional life in ways that were both closer and more distant. In this paradoxical pandemic year, there was one constant: The value of presence was brought into sharp relief.

Rallying the Public
As director of health and human services for Dallas County, Texas, Philip Huang has won praise for his steady leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Meeting the Moment
Reimagining routines, lessons and labs meant taking leaps of faith to get through the past year. Read more

Locked in, Locked Out
For Adria Baker, executive director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, the pandemic wreaked “a year of frustration and hardship” for Rice’s international students. The impact of the global pandemic on international travel is not over. Read more

Possible Futures
What are the changes that we found useful? What lessons should we take to heart?  Read more

Pharmacy’s Front Line
As a resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and then a clinical staff pharmacist, I spent the last year making sure hospitalized patients received critical drug treatment for COVID-19. Read more

What Mattered
The dynamic of classroom conversation, the value of presence, informal chit-chat with co-workers and the “necessity” of the office commute and who could work safely — divisions and values were brought into sharp relief. Read more

Speaking for Science
Peter Hotez reflects on public health advocacy and the urgent need to increase vaccine production and access. Read more