IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 96

Last Word
Last Word
Reflection for a More Equitable World
Post-Pandemic
Christine Perakslis
College of Management, Johnson & Wales
University, Providence, RI 02903 USA
 Reflective thinking [1] [2] allows humans
to examine the past with intentionality, learn from
what happened, and adapt accordingly. We explore
thoughts, feelings, and actions, mine out insights,
and enhance awareness. Our community incorporated
reflective thinking to learn from a unique year
in which our world was significantly disrupted due
to COVID-19.
Reflective thinking yields new knowledge. We can
use it to modify our ways of thinking and enhance our
understanding. Our community benefitted from the
power of reflective dialogue as educationalists, engineers,
and technologists taught us about their own
realizations during the pandemic. Fresh context-dependent
pedagogical approaches became necessary
due to dramatically altered environments in
institutions of higher education. The authors showed
us how the pandemic exposed unidentified digital
divides not only due to access, but also due to ability.
Reflective thinking allows us to better explore
diverse perspectives as we scrutinize our assumptions,
norms, and values. Our community reflected
on how the pandemic became a lightning rod for
disparate viewpoints relative to masks, vaccinations,
and delegation to digital technologies.
Reflective thinking is a vigorous and dynamic process.
As we look back to past experiences, we explore
our thoughts and beliefs during events as they happen,
and contemplate actions we may wish to take
in the future. Our community highlighted how the
pandemic necessitated a fluid approach to privacy as
we sought to balance this fundamental (versus absolute)
right with public health and safety during the
pandemic. Through reflection, our authors proposed
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MTS.2021.3077048
Date of current version: 3 June 2021.
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0278-0097/21©2021 IEEE
future adaptations to better complement such technologies
as test and trace systems with well-rounded
support systems that better address the human elements
of trust and emotional needs.
Reflective thinking is best as a cyclic process to
enable us to enact continuous improvement. Our
authors offered durable solutions to redesign macro-level
approaches (e.g., governmental centralization),
transparency relative to data management,
and ongoing feedback loops that give an uninterrupted
voice to society.
As we move toward a post-pandemic world with the
hopes of herd immunity, our herd gathered to use
rich reflective analysis [3] so we can move forward
stronger by better determining strategies, prioritizing
objectives, and developing, executing, and managing
plans as we move toward a post-pandemic world
that builds back fairer, not just better.

 References
[1] J. Lacan, The Mirror-Stage as Formative of the
I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience, (Écrits:
A Selection), A. Sheridan, Ed. New York, NY, USA:
Norton, 1977.
[2] D. A. Schon, Educating the Reflective Practitioner:
Toward a New Design on Teaching and Learning in
the Professions. San Francisco, CA, USA: JosseyBass,
1987.
[3] D. Goleman, R. Boyatzis, and A. McKee, Primal
Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional
Intelligence. Boston, MA, USA: Harvard Business
School Press, 2004.
Christine Perakslis is an Associate Professor
in the MBA Program, College of Management,
Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI, USA.
Contact her at christine.perakslis@jwu.edu.
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

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