University of Southern Indiana
Class on Zoom

From the Students: COVID-19 Insights

All USI students have had to adapt to new ways of learning during the coronavirus pandemic, but a very unique project occurred in Dr. Steve Gruenewald’s Healthcare Quality junior/senior class during the Fall 2020 Semester. The students were asked to examine USI’s handling of the pandemic and offer suggestions for moving forward.

“In a typical semester, students present their assessment of a healthcare organization’s policy, program or procedure to evaluate the quality. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing major adjustments and changes in the USI community, the opportunity to conduct an assessment with real-world application presented itself,” said Gruenewald. “The students studied the COVID-19 response on the USI campus and were able to present their findings to USI administration at the end of the semester. This assignment gave students the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines to develop a presentation that would benefit the entire USI community today and in the future.”

The students represented a variety of majors, including Health Services, Psychology and Radiology, according to Gruenewald.

The students chose the slogan: “USI … We’re Still Here!” In their Zoom presentation on December 4 to USI administrators, they said:

  • The campus could have more common areas open with controlled access.
  • The face covering mandate should continue to be enforced.
  • Library hours could be adjusted to be more accommodating to students’ schedules.
  • Sodexo “Munch Money” should be rolled over until the pandemic is declared “over.”
  • A link for the COVID-19 information on the myUSI app would improve communication of safety protocols

Presenting to the USI administration on Zoom posed some challenges to the students, according to Gruenewald. To help the students be more comfortable with a Zoom presentation, he invited a former news anchor to provide tips on remaining calm when presenting before a virtual audience.

After several practice presentations and critiques of individual performance, the time came to deliver the presentations. “Presenting is our primary form of communication in healthcare,” said Gruenewald. “I wanted to make sure that the students were well prepared and presented their assessment in a professional and concise manner.”

USI administrators in attendance included Dr. Mohammed Khayum, Provost; Dr. Jennifer Hammat, Dean of Students; Laurie Berry, Assistant Dean of Students; David Bower, Vice President for Development; Dr. Khaliah Doss, Vice President for Student Affairs; and Dr. Ann White, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

USI President Ronald Rochon was not able to attend the Zoom presentation because of a schedule conflict, so he met with the students separately, a week later. “Members of the class heard  President Rochon’sappreciation for the dedication they showed to the USI community in this time of great uncertainty by providing this information to the USI administration and COVID-19 Task Force,” said Gruenewald.

Gruenewald said the student-lead project is an example of innovative curriculum adaptation. “Maintaining the status quo with the directed assessment of an external healthcare organization could have been done, but the students saw the opportunity to use the knowledge of quality assessment gained through class lecture and discussion to benefit the USI community,” he said.

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