Author ORCID Identifier

Rachel L. Rupnow:

Nicole D. LaDue:

Nicole M. James:

Heather E. Bergan-Roller:

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American Chemical Society


This study investigates six university professors' reflections on the shift to remote instruction during the Spring 2020 semester in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The rapid shift in instructional platform presents an opportunity to learn from unresolved challenges that persisted through the semester. Here we present a qualitative study of how experienced (i.e., associate or full) chemistry professors report their teaching practices in light of the COVID-19 disruptions. We observed four major themes: personal factors, contextual factors of the structure and culture, teacher thinking, and teachers' practice. These themes revealed that the professors in this study adapted quickly using institutionally offered platforms, modified their courses as minimally as possible, struggled with assessment, and held diverging beliefs about teaching and students. The outcomes of this study have implications for ongoing efforts to reform instructional practices at the institutional and departmental level. Specifically, we recommend similar studies to ascertain current faculty beliefs and instructional practices in other departments in order to identify shared visions for change and effective supports for enacting that change.

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This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in the Journal of Chemical Education, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

Original Citation

Rupnow, R. L., LaDue, N. D., James, N. M., & Bergan-Roller, H. E. (2020). A perturbed system: How tenured faculty responded to the COVID-19 shift to remote instruction. Journal of Chemical Education. doi: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00802


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry| Department of Biological Sciences| Department of Mathematical Sciences| Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences


Northern Illinois University




American Chemical Society



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