In an effort to meet the moment of this pandemic with education and support, St. Edward’s University is inviting students, staff, alumni and the community to take part in a free, online “Staying Well in a Global Pandemic” course.

Innovative faculty members at St. Edward’s originally designed the course for entering freshmen last summer. After seeing it resonate with students, the university has made the course available online so that the greater community can benefit. The course is aimed at helping individuals process the pandemic and its implications, and learn ways to better care for themselves and their communities during this challenging time. 

The three-part, three-hour course examines the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic through the lens of history, art and psychology.  

The course is ideal for educators who are teaching similar topics in their classroom, college-bound students and adult learners. We encourage everyone to dive into the course, sharpen your critical thinking skills and learn how to stay well during this global pandemic.

Suggested Readings

Access articles and other readings that complement the course.

Part 1: People and Power: Plagues as Disrupters

Instructors: Mity Myhr and Christie Wilson, professors of History
Time: ~45 minutes

This class session investigates how plagues over time have disrupted society and even brought fundamental changes to societies impacted by their devastation. We examine how they highlight social, political and economic inequalities; how they have the ability to tear down, build up or reinforce existing structures; and how such changes could endure. We also consider how similar forces might be at work in our own era of pandemic.

Part 2: Healing Power of the Arts: Coping, Community-Building and Re-Emergence

Instructors: Kathryn Eader, associate professor of Theater Design, and Michelle Polgar, managing director of Mary Moody Northen Theatre
Time: ~60 minutes

This class session examines the healing power of art, taking an in-depth look at how communities have relied on art to help connect and cope during pandemics in the past and how our modern community has harnessed that power during Covid-19. Additionally, it explores how the arts can help us emerge from our current environment.

Part 3: Living with Unpredictability: Stress, Coping and Resilience during Covid-19

Instructors: Katy Goldey, associate professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and Kadie Rackley, assistant professor of Psychology
Time: ~60 minutes

This session examines the impact of Covid-19 on psychological wellbeing. Right now, many people are grappling with anxiety caused by Covid-19 itself, the mental health implications of lost employment or disruption to routines, and loneliness. The term “quarantine fatigue” is becoming a popular way to describe feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion stemming from social distancing. This session discusses why the pandemic is a unique stressor and the impact of stress on the body and brain. It also discusses what we can do about it — concrete strategies based in social and behavioral science for students seeking to maintain social connections, mental health and academic performance during a global pandemic.