“I love you all”: Centering a critical theory of love while teaching during and after the pandemic(s)





critical theory of love, higher education, social sustainability, pandemic


Informed by autoethnography, this scholarly personal narrative highlights my pedagogical practices and reflections from students during the 2020–2021 academic year amid the COVID-19 health and racial unjust pandemics. Specifically, by employing a critical theory of love and social sustainability, I share how I engaged in love, care, humanizing, and culturally engaging and sustaining practices that positively affected class discourse and relationship-building among graduate students and myself. The findings highlight some of my personal reflections, thoughts, and feelings while teaching during the 2020–2021 academic year and some email communications received from graduate students that year, condensed into three identified themes: (1) moments of transparency and engaging in critical topics transparent and not asking the students to do anything I wouldn't personally do, (2) offering grace and being flexible, and (3) checking-in with students. Recommendations for instructors are offered to better support students in online formats.


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Author Biography

  • Dr Stephen Santa-Ramirez, University at Buffalo

    Stephen Santa-Ramirez, PhD, (he/him) is an assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, USA. His research broadly addresses the historical, ideological, and structural inequities impacting racially minoritized and other underrepresented communities.   




Data Availability Statement

Due to anonymity purposes, the author has not made their research data available for open access.

How to Cite

“I love you all”: Centering a critical theory of love while teaching during and after the pandemic(s). (2024). Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 21(3). https://doi.org/10.53761/5qfdzx11