An Exploration of Leaders' Responses to Grief and Loss

Project Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has systemically peeled back the layers of our ways of life and exposed the most delicate parts of our society. With the immense losses experienced of loved ones, jobs, and daily activities, there is an increased importance to understand the ways in which faculty, staff, students, and community members are navigating the various dimensions of grief and loss. More specifically, there is a need to not only understand their stories of navigating loss, but to also gain more insight into how leaders are stepping to the forefront themselves to address emerging issues around mental health and grief. Thus this qualitative research study will explore the following research questions:

  • How, or to what extent, do leaders acknowledge, affirm, and/or support those in their
    organizations who are navigating grief and loss?
  • How do leaders hold space for themselves to navigate their own personal grief and loss?
  • What resources, support, and/or strategies if any, do leaders deploy to help them move
    through seasons of loss while still showing up for those they serve?

Project Department

Educational Leadership (students from all departments are welcome to apply for this opportunity)

Researcher Requirements

Research Team Criteria:

The research team is designed to provide unique learning experiences for students as they engage with the different stages of research through this project. As part of this research team, Dr. Elue will extend mentorship to students through weekly meetings, training sessions for the group, as well as opportunities to present and publish research. The weekly meetings and trainings will be rich and will focus on various topics including but not limited to: how to search for pertinent literature on the research topic, conducting literature reviews, writing workshops to construct cogent arguments in preparation for constructing a literature review, intensive qualitative methods trainings, data collection preparation, understanding how to code data once collected, data analysis training, grant writing, becoming an effective public speaker, as well as how to compile findings and begin to disseminate to strategic outlets. As a team member you will also learn how to write proposals for conferences in addition to publication outlets. Currently, this is an unpaid opportunity, but as funding is secured, team members will be compensated in accordance with university guidelines. One of Dr. Elue's primary goals is to contribute to mentoring and nurturing the next generations of researchers through meaningful engagement with all aspects of the research process in order to provide them with opportunities to expand their skills, knowledge, and access to engaging in high quality research.

Team Organization:

The research team is flexibly structured to enhance creativity and provide opportunities for student growth. First-year undergraduates through graduate students are welcome to apply, and all will be encouraged to stay on the team for more than the two-semester minimum. Students will have opportunities to have their progressed on the team assessed monthly by Dr. Elue to highlight areas for potential growth and improvement. Students will also be able to provide Dr. Elue with feedback on their experiences on the team and what they would also like to learn from their experiences regularly. Leadership roles are available on the team, and experienced students will be a natural fit for these positions as their knowledge grows over time.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Gather relevant articles and books and conduct literature reviews
  • Carry out experiments and research according to protocols
  • Bring in ideas for additional research questions of interest for the team to explore
  • Assist in the creation of interview questions
  • Attend trainings and workshops offered by Dr. Elue
  • Generate ideas for additional research projects of interests
  • Assist with data analysis and coding
  • Conduct interviews and assist with data analysis
  • Create presentation slides and posters to disseminate findings
  • Review print and online sources to gather information
  • Check facts, proofread, and edit research documents to ensure accuracy

Research Assistant Skills & Competencies:

To be successful in this role, student applicants will generally need the following skills and qualities:

  • A high level of intellectual curiosity and willingness to learn
  • Strong organization skills
  • Great interpersonal skills in order to develop strong working relationships and trust with a broad range of people
  • Excellent teamwork skills that will be used to work synergistically on individual and group projects
  • Concise and meaningful high level written communication skills for publishing work, conference proceedings, and funding bids
  • Great time-management skills and attention to detail
  • A strong passion for your discipline and motivation to continue learning, reach deadlines, and targets
  • Tech-savvy and able to assist with recruiting participants via email and social media
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • 2-semester minimum commitment to the team

Application Criteria:

  • Letter of Interest: 1-page statement (maximum), single spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font describing your qualifications, the reason you are interested in this project, what you hope to learn, as well as a description of any previous research experiences, and your career goals.
  • Resume (Please include best contact number you can be reached and your email)
  • Current transcript: unofficial transcripts are acceptable

Project Duration



Dr. Chinasa Elue

Undergraduates interested in serving as undergraduate researchers on this project should complete the form located here