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JSARP Special Issue Call for Submissions -- COVID-19 Impact on Accessibility and Success for College Students

Health, Safety, and Well-being Student Success Supporting the Profession Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
November 23, 2020

The Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (JSARP) is planning a special issue for 2021 that will feature articles on the theme of “COVID-19, Accessibility, and Marginalized Students.” 

Please review the information below and consider submitting abstracts for this special issue no later than January 15, 2021.

Abstracts should be limited to 500 words and describe the proposed article and which category of publication it best matches:

  • Media Features and Reviews
  • Innovations in Research and Scholarship
  • International Features
  • Innovations in Practice

In your abstract, please include the following information:

  • Research purpose or question(s)
  • Methodology (instrument, participants, variables, analytic techniques)
  • Principle findings
  • Significance to student affairs practice

Selected authors will be notified by March 19, 2021 of their invitation to submit a full manuscript by June 18, 2021 for consideration through the standard editorial board review process. Please adhere to all requirements for JSARP submissions and be mindful of the vision of the journal's visionto publish the most rigorous, relevant, and well-respected research and practice making a difference in student affairs practice. JSARP especially encourages manuscripts that are unconventional in nature and that engage in methodological and epistemological extensions that transcend the boundaries of traditional research inquiries.

Topics for the special issue could include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-academic factors that impact student success
  • Teaching and online support
  • Impact on first generation and minoritized students
  • Support structures to assist faculty and staff with students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • Identifying and supporting student hardships in a virtual environment
  • Food and housing insecurity
  • Victims/survivors of abuse
  • Student home/school/work/social balance
  • Well-being disparities across race, gender, academic performance, and income
  • Barriers to student engagement and online delivery
  • Online communities of practice
  • Designing programs and services for culturally diverse learners
  • Advocating for students through a social justice and equity lens
  • COVID-19 impact on practitioners/self-care/mindfulness
  • Effects of COVID-19 on student outcomes (e.g. success, wellbeing, engagement, employability, and learning)
  • Strategies for advising students during COVID-19
  • Co-curricular innovations

Submit abstracts and send any questions to the guest editors for this special issue of JSARP:

Jeffery Wilson, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, [email protected]

and Quincy Martin III, Assistant Professor, Governors State University, [email protected].



The COVID-19 global pandemic transformed the higher education landscape. Countries across the globe are increasingly adopting measures to mitigate the disease’s spread while ensuring continuity of learning in higher education institutions. Quarantine and isolation procedures, social distancing practices, and campus closures have significantly impacted and transformed the nature of teaching and learning in the academy in various forms. Adopting technological approaches, such as online learning, helped create safe and effective environments purported to maintain momentum and serve as alternative methods to learning for some. For others, such as first generation, students of color, students with disabilities, and other marginalized students, the transition has not proven to be as seamless.

Higher education leaders frequently mobilize to mitigate the impact of the virus on students. Whilst for many the efforts are sufficient, higher education institutions must assess the impact of these efforts on marginalized and minoritized students and deconstruct systems that may be considered oppressive.

As a result of the COVID-19 virus spread, institutions in the Spring of 2020 were forced to alter, mid-semester, daily operations to include moving courses online, clearing residence halls, and adjusting how critical services such as advising and academic support would be delivered. 

            The coronavirus pandemic has taken away many of the most rewarding aspects of

            the college experience for students, from socializing with peers and conversing face-to-

            face with professors to having access to unique cultural and entertainment resources

            on campus. (Bohanon, 2020, p. 1)

The impact of COVID-19 has implications on accessibility and success for college students, particularly marginalized students who may have been disproportionately impacted with limited resources for academic and co-curricular success. Black and Latinx students were far more likely than their white counterparts to stop out of college during the pandemic (Byrd & Lopez, 2020). A failure to plan properly to meet the needs of the vulnerable further widens the disparities.

In a reported study following the immediate impact of the pandemic, students were asked, “How has your access to mental-health care been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?” Over 50% responded Much More Difficult or Somewhat More Difficult (June, 2020).With the closure/limited access to campuses and switch to digital instruction and online services, issues around accessibility and success became increasingly apparent. For many marginalized students, there was no Plan B on what to do next as it related to food, shelter, safety, and access to reliable internet.

In light of this pandemic, examining the short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19 on higher education systems based on gender, race, ethnicity, and other social stratifications among student learners will be advantageous in gauging the effectiveness of adopted measures. This special issue of the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice for 2021 seeks to help broaden the scope of awareness of accessibility and success to center racism, classism and ableism.


Bohanon, M. (2020). Colleges and universities must make marginalized students a priority during the pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.insightintodiversity.com/colleges-and-universities-must-make-marginalized-students-a-priority-during-the-pandemic

Byrd, W.C. & Lopez, W.D. (2020, July 20). College students will bring racial economic disparities of the pandemic back to campus. Are universities ready? Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/20/college-students-will-bring-racial-economic-disparities-pandemic-back-campus-are-universities-ready

June, A.W. (2020, July 22). College students have been stressed out during the pandemic. Here’s how it’s affected their mental health. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/college-students-have-been-stressed-out-during-the-pandemic-heres-how-its-affected-their-mental-health