WKU to host COVID-19 webinar series, topics range from public health to impacts on industry fields

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Michael J. Collins

The Office of Global Learning & International Affairs and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning announced a COVID-19 webinar series that will be hosted over the next several weeks.

John Sunnygard, associate provost for Global Learning & International Affairs, will host the series and said the purpose was to prepare students for life during and after the pandemic.

“All of our degree programs, in one way or another, can connect to COVID-19,” Sunnygard said. “What our students are learning in classrooms is very valuable in terms of addressing life and career prospects in a post-COVID world.”

The first installment will be held on April 9 at 2:00 p.m. central time and will cover public health amidst the pandemic. Sunnygard will be joined by Tania Basta, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, and Michelle Reece, professor of Public Health.

While COVID-19 made an impact on many students only in the past month, Sunnygard and the Office of Global Learning have been paying attention to the spread since early January.

When Sunnygard first planned the webinar, he couldn’t help but be reminded of Nightline, the NBC News segment originally created to give special reports on the Iranian Hostage Crisis but went on to become its own program.

“I started thinking about organizing some of these webinars in February, back when the perception for many in the U.S. was just a hoax,” Sunnygard said. “I think it would be really cool to be able to remove the name COVID from it and focus on what our students, faculty, institution and alumni are doing.”

Sunnygard said in future episodes, topics will go more in-depth with how students can prepare for changes that are a result of this crisis.

“This is more focused on who we are as an institution and what we’re doing in our community,” Sunnygard said. “We’re going to have sessions with students in which we discuss what they’re doing to prepare for the future and how they’re making an impact. We’ll probably be talking with someone in history as well and students who’ve studied abroad.”

Sunnygarde said students can expect anywhere between seven and 20 installments over the coming weeks.

“Like everything in the COVID world, this is learning to fly the airplane while we’re in the air,” Sunnygard said. “There’s going to be a lot of breadth and depth with those areas.”

The webinar can be viewed by following this link.

Reporter Michael J. Collins can be reached and [email protected] Follow Michael on Twitter at @NotMichaelJColl.