START Affiliate Brooke Fisher Liu, Professor of Communication, has been selected to receive Coronavirus Research Seed Fund Awards from the University of Maryland’s Division of Research.
Her project came in response to a call from proposals from Vice President for Research Laurie Locascio seeking research ideas that rapidly contribute to human health and related outcomes during the pandemic, including prevention, control and response efforts.
In less than three weeks, the Division of Research received and reviewed 36 applications and awarded 11.
Liu’s project, entitled "Universities’ Coronavirus Crisis Management: Challenges, Opportunities, and Initial Lessons Learned,” will survey and interview higher education leaders who are part of their institutions’ crisis management teams to examine how U.S. higher education institutions planned for and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, how they’ve overcome challenges and lessons learned.
Findings will inform institutions’ coronavirus responses as well as inform planning for future mega crises. Liu, who is also associate dean for academic standards & policies in the Graduate School, points to a relative dearth of research on higher education crisis management, with the majority focusing on active shooters and natural disasters, not on infectious disease outbreaks.
“The pandemic is really putting attention on university crisis communications,” she said. “This is knowledge that people need right now, as the impact has been so swift and enormous on universities here and abroad. This is going to be a long-lasting crisis and this project is a unique opportunity to really help university leaders making tough choices in the months to come.”
Among other proposals awarded with Coronavirus Research Seed Fund Awards: an analysis of how companies are responding to the pandemic, a proof of concept for a pop-up COVID-19 clinic inspired by the art of origami, research into ways to allow safe reuse of scarce respirator face masks and research into drugs to fight the novel coronavirus.
This story originally appeared on the UMD College of Arts and Humanities website.