Reimagining In-Person Learning

In this article, Tammy L. Henderson of Lamar University reflects on her experience as an attendee at the first session of the 2021 Leadership Academy Series held August 8. 

Tammy L. HendersonWhile Congress and the National Conference of State Legislators (Smalley, 2021) monitor and update the public on the impact, resources, and policies used to address COVID-19, administrators in educational institutions have their boots on the ground. During the first session of the virtual Leadership Academic Series, When We all Get Together Again: Returning to Campus with New Opportunities, administrators, the essential workers of learning, met to discuss, share, and identify innovations. When disclosing and reimagining ways to promote quality education, health, and overall well-being, participants shared the significance of following policies, negotiating ways to teach and touch base with students, negotiate pathways of safe, sound instructional delivery, and adhering to the requirements of state governors, the Centers for Disease Control, and their administrative leaders. My reflections around self-care and leading with compassion became more profound in my awareness while listening to others. I left the session with a renewed sense of energy and ideas to champion health, innovations in education, and administration innovations for contemporary times.

Pauline BossTo make the transition into our new normal and preserve and support the needs of others requires administrators to continue to lead with compassion and care. In other words, the care offered to students is needed for administrators, faculty, and staff. The four Cs: (a) concern, (b) care for self, and (c) compassionate discourse (Rosenberg, 2015), and (d) clear language are needed to combat compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue refers to the decline in the capability to offer empathy, heightened irritation, and indifference toward the overall well-being of others (Figley 1995; Kamo, Henderson, Roberto, Peabody, & White, 2015). The four “Cs” will open the space for clear, proactive decision-making needed as tangible and ambiguous losses manifest, meaning losses with no resolution (Boss, 2021) and an emerging new normal to give rise in education and elsewhere (see video).

I offer these words because of the great experience during the first session of the 2021 Leadership Academy. I look forward to joining AACTE members on October 20 as we deconstruct our emerging new normal, discussing the theme, When Thinking Wrong is Right: Purposeful Disruption of the Status Quo.


Boss, P. (2021, May 4). The myth of closure: Ambiguous Loss in a time of a pandemic. Retrieved from Pauline Boss The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic.

Figley, C. R. (1995). Compassion fatigue as secondary traumatic stress disorder: An overview. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Compassion fatigue and coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized (pp. 1–20). New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Kamo, Y., Henderson, T. L., Roberto, K. A., Peabody, K., & White, K.* (2015). Perceptions of older adults in a community accepting displaced survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Current Psychology, 34, 551–563 (2015).

Rosenburg, M. B. (2015, 3rd ed.). Nonviolent communication: A language of life. Encinitas, CA: PuddleDancer Press.

Smalley, A. (2021, March 20). Higher education responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved from NCSL Higher Education Responses to the Coronavirus.

Tammy L. Henderson, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Hospitality, and Human Services at Lamar University.


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