School of Professional Studies

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


School of Professional Studies

Chief Instructor

Mary Piecewicz


MPA, higher education, Clark University, COVID-19, pandemic, responses to crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an existential challenge to universities and other academic institutions at a time when they are already grappling with other weighty issues that may alter the fabric of higher education. COVID-19 has forced these institutions to consider and employ new ways of conducting its work with a sense urgency that is unprecedented in the recent history of the academy. The rate of learning around these models is rapid, and Higher Education is ripe for change.

Clark University has addressed the pandemic with a plan to protect and pivot using strategies that support the continuation of its core enterprises. Leadership, planning, tactical framework, digital capacity, and communication are essential elements of this plan. The University has pursed this work with a focus on adaptability for all solutions, and a commitment to provide wellness resources for all in the Clark community. It has also strived to support its most vulnerable students.

Some universities, as well as businesses and other organizations, will not survive the economic pressures that COVID-19 imposes. Many argue that this pandemic is a once in a hundred years public health event. However, the academic community will surely face other significant crises. Studying the successes and failures will yield important learnings that could be applied to future landscape of Higher Education and elsewhere.





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