The New Tradition of the Non-Traditional Student and What that Means for Teaching and Learning


COVID-related lockdowns created unique challenges as we moved to online/Zoom formats because our work/school lives collided with one another. We were all forced into an online learning environment and became uninvited guests into each other's homes and personal lives. Having a demanding career or school-related commitment outside of caregiving can be challenging, especially for women. These two topics, along with apologies and excuses, will provide opportunities for faculty and students to share their experiences with the overarching theme of recognizing similarities that both faculty and students faced, and continue to face. Now that we’re moving back on campus, it’s important that we don’t forget these additional challenges we continue to face, although no longer overtly shared in the classroom. Eastern Michigan University is a designated Age-Friendly University and is dedicated to the inclusion of students of all ages.

Non-Traditional Students


Session Details:


When: February 3, 2023 @ 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Where: Halle 217 & Zoom
Facillitator: Cassandra Barragan

This session was an interactive, engaging conversation with professors and students about the chaos experienced in their homes as caregivers and how their shared experiences have impacted their work and education. Caregiving can span from caring for children to caring for relatives, or even neighbors.  During COVID-related lockdowns, we were all forced into an online learning environment. This was a significantly different experience for students and faculty who are parents or caregivers. Parents with preschool or school-aged children had to also manage supervision, care, and online learning environments. Students and faculty who were caregivers of loved ones or relatives found themselves without support or breaks. 

Apologies & Excuses

When: February 15, 2023 @ 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Where: Halle 217 & Zoom
Facillitator: Cassandra Barragan

This lighthearted session was about feeling the need to apologize or make excuses in the face of a global pandemic. Participants commiserated with professors and students on their shared experiences and the sometimes humorous things they have had to apologize for during Zoom meetings and classes. Many faculty and students found themselves unable to focus their attention and energies due to other priorities in their homes, often during times that had previously been dedicated to working or school. This resulted in unprecedented levels of stress and competing obligations. Faculty may have had children who interrupted class sessions, fallen behind on grading, or had internet issues. Students may have also had children or other family members in the home that made learning difficult, inability to access computers or other technology they would normally access on campus, or not having a dedicated space at home for classes. 

Work/Life/School Balance

When: March 8, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Where: Zoom
Facillitator: Alankrita Pandey

This session focused on telling stories about how things worked, and how they didn’t, and to overall commiserate on our shared experiences. Faculty and students are always balancing competing priorities outside of the classroom. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, we were also not always aware of the challenges each of us faced. Because of our unique circumstances, we were forced to find ways to balance all of the things in our lives, sometimes successfully, and oftentimes not. 


The registration deadline for these workshops has passed.