Citizen instructors: Academic citizenship, graduate student instructors, and COVID-19


  • Neil Dhingra University of Maryland, College Park
  • Monica Anthony Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Virginia Byrne Morgan State University
  • Erin Hogan University of Texas, Austin



COVID-19, academic citizenship, distance education, graduate/postgraduate education, neo-Aristotelianism


Academic citizenship entails seeing the academic community as worthy of love beyond what might prove useful for an annual performance review, even amidst a pandemic. The academic community must deserve what Harry Broudy called ‘enlightened cherishing’. Through a qualitative longitudinal study of graduate student instructors (GSIs) at a U.S. public university during the recent pandemic (2020-2022), involving multiple interviews and focus groups, we discovered that the GSIs remained academic citizens during emergency remote teaching necessitated by COVID-19 by adopting the notion of hustle. They were motivated to act with intensified resourcefulness and creativity because of a future-orientation in which a better tomorrow for the community was envisioned. They found more resources than those provided by their university, embraced flexibility, and recognized their students not just as students but as fellow human beings. The academic community, as opposed to the official institution, remained worthy of ‘enlightened cherishing’ because individuals within it could continually show flexibility and empathy in difficult times. To support this hustle, without it leading to burnout, we recommend that academic institutions foster, as an important part of academic citizenship, the virtue of misericordia, which Alasdair MacIntyre calls ‘grief or sorrow over someone else’s distress’—here for students caught up in tragedy.




How to Cite

Dhingra, N., Anthony, M., Byrne, V., & Hogan, E. (2024). Citizen instructors: Academic citizenship, graduate student instructors, and COVID-19. Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, 6(2), 80–90.



Special Issue: What is academic citizenship?