The Myth of the COVID-Transformed Workplace: New Podcast Series

Listening with headphones while using laptop

Starting in March 2020, widespread changes to work life prompted by COVID led many to declare the workplace had come to a “new normal.” Since then, there’s been a greater implementation of remote work, video conferencing, and a general shift in balance between home and work life.

This podcast series from CHOICE’s The Authority File asks if these changes will remain permanent or, over a year and a half later, are we headed toward a pre-pandemic “normal” instead?

In this four-part series, Cynthia Clark of Bentley University, Gwendolyn Combs of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Hari Rajagopalan of Francis Marion University, and Rhonda Sharpe of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race join the podcast to discuss the trap of the “transformed workplace” narrative.

Bringing together expertise in business and management, higher education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, the panelists discuss what changes may remain post-pandemic, unequal effects of work environment adjustments, and how to support students entering today’s workforce.

  • The Myth of the COVID-Transformed Workplace: Unpacking Impact Disparity
    • Since the beginning of the pandemic parts of higher education that were once optional, such as asynchronous learning, have become the norm. But what about the digital divide and underlying iniquities? In this final episode the panel discusses the impact disparity of these new policies and mandates.

About the guests


Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe

Rhonda Sharpe | President, Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race

Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe is the founder and president of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race. She was named a “Black Scholar You Should Know” by TheBestSchools.org and BlackEnterprise.com. She is the co-editor of the Review of Black Political Economy and served as the past president of the National Economic Association. In 2020, she was selected to serve on the Center for American Progress National Advisory Council on Eliminating the Black-White Wealth Gap. Sharpe’s research focuses on three areas: gender and racial inequality, the diversity of STEM, and the demography of higher education.

Sharpe serves on the boards of the International Association for Feminist Economists and Diversifying and Decolonising Economics. She is the co-founder (with Sandy Darity) of the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics, for which she served as the associate director from 2008 to 2014. She is the co-recipient of the 2004 Rhonda Williams Prize from the International Association for Feminist Economists.

Cynthia E. Clark

Cynthia Clark | Professor of management at Bentley University

Cynthia E. Clark serves as the director of the Harold S. Geneen Institute of Corporate Governance, an institute dedicated to bridging corporate governance research with practice. She has conducted numerous training sessions on ethical decision-making, activism and optimal nominating and governance procedures to boards of directors. Clark’s research interests concern ethics and governance issues in organizations, such as conflicts of interest, shareholder activism, privacy breaches and disclosing information, with a particular focus on how firms address them.

Additionally, she is an active member and Governance Fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Society for Governance Professionals and 2020 Women on Boards. Clark was a member of the faculty at Boston University, following a career in the banking and securities industry.

Gwendolyn Marizett Combs

Gwendolyn Combs | Associate professor of management, College of Business, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Gwendolyn Marizett Combs serves the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in both faculty and administrative roles. Academically, she is an associate professor of management in the College of Business. Administratively, she is the director for faculty diversity and Inclusion in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor; and coordinates the work of the three UNL Chancellor’s Diversity Commissions (Commissions on the Status of People of Color, the Status of Women, and on the Status of Gender and Sexual Identities). Her scholarship has focused on the dynamics of human resource management, diversity, and inclusion practices on organizational outcomes and employee behaviors, and well being.

Combs teaches a variety of courses in human resources management and advises students interested in careers in that professional field. Her scholarly publications and conference presentations are framed more specifically within the areas of recruitment and selection, individual identity and inter-group behaviors, workplace equality, and organizational environments for diversity and inclusion.

Hari Rajagopalan

Hari K. Rajagopalan | Dean of the School of Business / Eugene A. Fallon Jr. Professor of Management, Francis Marion University

Hari Rajagopalan teaches management science, operations management, and statistical model building and does research in location models, supply chain management and complex adaptive systems. His research has been published in academic journals such as Journal of Operations Research Society, European Journal of Operational Research, Computers and Operations Research and Decision Support Systems. He is also an active participant in INFORMS: Decision Sciences Conference, European Working Group in Transportation Meeting, and Mini EURO Conference.

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