Livable City Year

Opportunities to engage UW faculty and students to address COVID-19

In recognition of the intense needs of local governments around COVID-19 response and recovery, the LCY program has compiled a list of existing UW courses whose faculty and students are seeking to assist local communities in COVID-related projects. Most projects can start in Autumn 2020 — some as early as Summer 2020. The list of projects is sorted by UW college, department, and faculty.  If any of these projects resonate with your community’s needs, please contact the Livable City Year program so that we may connect you with the faculty for further discussion.

This list is meant to stimulate thinking by local governments regarding how they could leverage the skills, passion, and energy of UW students and faculty to address COVID-related challenges in their communities. It is a partial list, not an exhaustive one, but it shows the ability of the UW to address a broad range of local needs. If you work for a city, county, tribe, or state agency and have a project need that is not listed here, please contact the Livable City Year program so that we may explore matching your project to an existing course, independent study, or capstone/practicum project on one of our three campuses, starting as early as Summer 2020.

College of Arts and Sciences

School of Art, Art History, and Design

Applying Visual, Interaction, and Industrial Design to a Public Service Campaign or Public Service Application/Experience
Faculty: James Pierce
Course: Design Graduate Studio
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This is a course for first year master’s candidates in the Division of Design; the cohort includes visual designers, interaction designers and industrial designers. The students would be eager to address both a communication design problem (providing information as a public service campaign) and a service design problem (helping to design a public service application or experience).

Ideal Partner: A non-profit or governmental organization that has a particular service problem and/or communication problem

College of Built Environments

Urban Design and Planning

Neighborhood Change Through the Lens of Gentrification and the Pandemic
FacultyMackenzie Waller, Urban Design and Planning; Ariana Cantu, Social Work
Course: Special Topics in Urban Design and Planning / Special Topics in Generalist Social Welfare
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This course examines neighborhood change through the lens of gentrification and the pandemic, particularly highlighting the historical impacts of racism, white supremacy, and capitalism as they contribute to gentrification and the pandemic. Groups of interdisciplinary students from the College of Built Environments and the School of Social Work select a neighborhood site to research and come up with visual tools and recommendations for how to address these issues, with a focus on collaboration and community engagement. Students use StoryMaps, which is a visual mapping and narrative tool, to tell the history of a place and its people, as well as the impacts of the pandemic and gentrification on the community. From this past quarter, several of the community organizations we partnered with and interviewed have asked that they be given access to the StoryMap tool to use for their own community purposes. Students can also make recommendations and suggest next steps about ways to potentially address community needs surrounding the pandemic and gentrification, using this as a tool to bring community efforts together.

Ideal Partner: Any community-based organization being impacted by the pandemic and gentrification in the Seattle/King County area

Milgard School of Business, UW Tacoma

Business

Business Analytics

Possible projects will be added soon.

School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Tacoma

Writing Instruction

Communicating Scientific Knowledge to Inform Public Health Decision-Making
Faculty: Rubén Casas
Course: Argument and Research in Writing
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This course asks undergraduate students to consider how scientific knowledge informs public opinion and decision-making — by individuals and policymakers — around large-scale social issues, including public health. Students could work with a community partner to produce materials intended to invite greater uptake of expert knowledge by the public and policymakers.

School of Public Health

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and Environmental Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2
Faculty: John Scott Meschke
Course: Water, Wastewater, and Health
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: The graduate students in this class could help design, coordinate, and analyze data from environmental surveillance samples for SARS-CoV-2.

Ideal Partner: Sewer district or municipal waste water utility, city council, mayor’s office

Environmental Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, Recommendations for Aerosol Control and Surface Decontamination
Faculty: John Scott Meschke
Course: Detection and Control of Environmentally Transmitted Microbial Hazards
Quarter: Winter 2021

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This course focuses on detection and control of infectious diseases. The students could contribute to ongoing environmental surveillance monitoring begun in fall quarter in the “Water, Wastewater, and Health” course listed above, or they could focus on designing aerosol control strategies and surface decontamination protocols. Deliverables include recommendations for aerosol control, surface decontamination, and environmental surveillance, as well as a report.

Ideal Partner: sewer district, municipal waste treatment plant, city council, mayor’s office, chamber of commerce, local businesses, other city government, transportation

Epidemiology

Applying Epidemiology in Public Health Practice: Outbreak Investigation, Public Health Preparedness, and Response
Faculty: Janet Baseman
Course: Field Epidemiology: Student Epidemic Action Leaders Team
Quarter: Summer, Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: These graduate students have already helped with COVID response providing surge capacity to state and local public health agencies. They would be great at helping with recovery as well.

Ideal Partner: Public health, other government, or NGOs involved in public health work

Health Services

Examining and Addressing Health Disparities
Faculty: India Ornelas
Course: Health Disparities
Quarter: Winter 2021

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: Students will examine patterns of health across social groups, with a focus on designing research and public health programs to address health disparities. Possible deliverables include writing up data or creating data visualization, making infographic, creating health education materials, as well as a literature review or some other kind of evidence review.

Ideal Partner: county public health departments

Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance

Public Policy

Data Analysis and Policy Evaluation
Faculty: Jacob L. Vigdor and Mark C. Long
Course: Advanced Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: Students in this course work on a data analysis/policy evaluation project. Students could apply quantitative methods to study a county or municipal policy initiative using high-frequency data such as ESD’s weekly data on unemployment claims by county. There will be 35-40 students in the course so there may be capacity to engage in multiple such projects.

Ideal Partner: Municipal or county government agency

School of Social Work

Social Welfare

Neighborhood Change Through the Lens of Gentrification and the Pandemic
Faculty: Ariana Cantu, Social Work; Mackenzie Waller, Urban Design and Planning
Course: Special Topics in Generalist Social Welfare / Special Topics in Urban Design and Planning
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This course examines neighborhood change through the lens of gentrification and the pandemic, particularly highlighting the historical impacts of racism, white supremacy, and capitalism as they contribute to gentrification and the pandemic. Groups of interdisciplinary students from the College of Built Environments and the School of Social Work select a neighborhood site to research and come up with visual tools and recommendations for how to address these issues, with a focus on collaboration and community engagement. Students use StoryMaps, which is a visual mapping and narrative tool, to tell the history of a place and its people, as well as the impacts of the pandemic and gentrification on the community. From this past quarter, several of the community organizations we partnered with and interviewed have asked that they be given access to the StoryMap tool to use for their own community purposes. Students can also make recommendations and suggest next steps about ways to potentially address community needs surrounding the pandemic and gentrification, using this as a tool to bring community efforts together.

Ideal Partner: Any community-based organization being impacted by the pandemic and gentrification in the Seattle/King County area

Needs Analysis of Existing Public Data and/or Policy Information
Faculty: TBD
Course: West Coast Poverty Center Seminar
Quarter: Autumn 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This is a one-credit class of masters and doctoral students. Deliverables could include a needs analysis of existing public data and/or policy information.

Interviewing, Documenting, and Reporting Stories and Experiences of Individuals and Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Faculty: TBD
Course: Social Welfare Practice
Quarter: Autumn 2020

Social Work

Providing Data for Community Action in Regards to COVID-19 Response and Recovery
Faculty: TBD
Course: Research and Evaluation Methods for Advanced Standing Social Work Students
Quarter: Summer 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This course introduces a range of methods for informing evidence-based social work practice, including data collection and analysis. Students will provide and support data, assess risk, look at racial and economic disparities as well as other risk factors for COVID and potential recovery.

Applying a Social Justice Framework to Policy and Services Relevant to Child and Family Inequalities
Faculty: TBD
Course: Child and Family Inequalities: Policy/Services Platform
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This course takes students through an advanced study of policy and services relevant to practice with children, adolescents, and families. It applies a social justice framework to understanding policy context and organization of services responses to child and family inequalities, especially for historically oppressed and marginalized populations. It also examines social construction of policies in historical, political, and comparative context. Deliverables could include assisting an agency in creating an agenda for state and federal policy advocacy efforts, and supporting that legislative ask effort.

Ideal Partner: agencies engaged in state and federal policy advocacy efforts

Applying Quantitative Research Methods to a COVID-Related Social Science Research Study
Faculty: TBD
Course: Quantitative Research Methods and Design
Quarter: not yet scheduled

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: Focusing on COVID-related questions posed by the partner organization, students will work with data and design a study to be implemented by the organization. Deliverables could include an executable study that answers the client’s questions.

Adaptive Leadership in the Context of COVID-19
Faculty: TBD
Course: Strategic Program Management and Change Leadership in Human Services
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This class has groups of students examine adaptive challenges that organizations are facing and work to identify ways the organization and its stakeholders can engage in adaptive change from within. Particularly with the COVID-19 impacts on organizations’ “normal” ways of doing business and engaging in community, it will be interesting to map what is happening and highlight what forms of leadership are taking on this work. Student groups could explore the organization’s SWOT’s, then use the adaptive lens to identify challenges and approaches to mitigate or address those challenges. Students could also provide examples of the adaptive leadership process for internal leaders to use as a framework.

Ideal Partner: Non-profit organizations, community centers, programs supporting basic needs, advocacy groups

School of Urban Studies, UW Tacoma

Urban Design

Design Intervention in Pedestrian Corridors and Public Spaces
Faculty: Bara Safarova
Course: Urban Design Studio
Quarter: Autumn 2020

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This urban design studio addresses local stakeholders’ needs, focusing on neighborhood-level design interventions. Possible COVID applications may include identifying main pedestrian corridors and public spaces in need of adapting to social distancing needs, developing strategies for side walk widening / street closures / circulation patterns, etc., and identifying areas where an intervention could have an impact. Deliverables could include drawings and visualizations of proposals. The students are undergraduates so the project would be an initial stage and not ready for implementation, but they could help stimulate discussions and interest.

Ideal Partner: City of Tacoma or nearby cities, specifically partners that have jurisdiction over the right of way and public spaces

Analysis of Social Distancing Conditions: Issues and Opportunities
Faculty: Bara Safarova
Course: Urban Design Studio
Quarter: Winter 2021

COVID-19 Application and Deliverables: This class could be used to analyze existing social distancing conditions on a site in Tacoma (downtown or other) or nearby city. The class could provide an analysis of existing right of way, streets, public spaces, and circulation with regards to social distancing issues and opportunities. This class is a final project for undergraduate students; the results would need further professional input, but could stimulate discussion and could identify catalyst projects.

Ideal Partner: City of Tacoma or nearby cities, specifically partners that have jurisdiction over the right of way and public spaces