Through pandemic, faculty find ways to bridge the distance

When COVID-19 put an end to most in-person learning, in March 2020, UW faculty had to get creative. How do you put on a play when actors are confined to their own apartments? Teach furniture design when students can’t use the shop? Show students how to mix concrete online?

More than a year later, we celebrate the innovation of UW faculty who worked hard to ensure that their students could continue to grow and learn, the resilience of students who adjusted to a drastically different learning environment, and an entire community who came together to redefine what is possible in a world of physical distance—and digital connection.

Above, Professor Laura Prugh (in front) held most of her Wildlife Research Techniques course online, but for the lab component, students were able to meet safely in local natural areas to learn hands-on skills for careers working with wildlife. Together they learned how to identify species, use tracking equipment and estimate animal populations. After months of isolation, a trip just down the road to the Union Bay Natural Area—to see northern shovelers foraging along the shore, red-eared sliders sunning on logs and red-tailed hawks circling above—felt like a true expedition.

Read more about UW faculty members’ innovative approaches to teaching hands-on courses during the pandemic at