The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on educational institutions. This paper presents
the results of a multidisciplinary case study conducted at a university of applied sciences in Switzerland. The study aimed to understand how the pandemic affected the activities of different professions, how staff perceived the measures taken by senior management, what good practices were developed and what elements should be improved following this period of instability. The study was based on a multi-method qualitative design, combining documentary research,
chronicle workshops, and semi-structured interviews. The paper focuses on three findings. First, we present a story of how the institution dealt with the pandemic. For each chapter of this story, we list the typical problems faced by managers and staff. Second, we show how different professionals were affected by the crisis and what new skills and practices they have developed.
Finally, we analyse the impact of the pandemic using a socio-technical approach. The analysis of the focus groups led to the identification of 7 chapters and 18 typical situations. The pandemic affected main professions of the institution in very different ways. Within a few weeks, teachers had to switch to online teaching. They developed new skills and experimented
with new pedagogical approaches. Administrative staff struggled with teleworking, which had not been widely practised in these professions. They were also faced with additional responsibilities, particularly related to managing the sanitary measures. The pandemic gave some of them greater autonomy and responsibility, at least temporarily. The use of online meetings
quickly became the norm and is still very common today. Cleaning and technical staff were heavily involved in implementing hygiene measures and disinfecting premises. They were very active even though the premises were often empty, leading them to question the purpose of this activity. Finally, managers had to take responsibility for the health and safety of staff and students, as well as the continuity of teaching and other priority activities, in a complex, tense and everchanging context. The sharing of experience and skills between managers in different parts of the institution proved crucial. Finally, local managers played an important role in supporting their teams and maintaining social ties. Future studies could explore some of these issues in more depth. It would also be useful to compare case studies, in order to identify regularities and better understand which factors are
important for the resilience of an academic institution.