‘Understanding and Surviving a Pandemic’ A Week of Scholarly Webinars

‘Understanding and Surviving a Pandemic’
A Week of Scholarly Webinars
April 27-May 1, 2020

Each day, a panel of experts from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, guest practitioners, and elected officials will examine a different aspect of the coronavirus crisis, from politics to health care to intelligence. Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School, will host the programs. The virtual sessions are open to the public and may be followed by a question and answer period, if time allows. See below for topics, times, and viewing information.

For media queries, contact Buzz McClain at bmcclai2@gmu.edu. For the latest, see and please bookmark the Schar School Coronavirus News Blog and follow us @ScharSchool.

Monday, April 27, noon-1:15 p.m.
Exit Strategies from a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic effects have been devastating both in health and economic terms across the globe. Experience around the world suggests that easing off the current lockdown measures even slightly may well accelerate the spread to an unmanageable degree. At the same time, accelerating business failures and rising unemployment suggest that even substantial support through fiscal stimulus measures may not be enough. Once new case numbers are down, there is an urgent need to find an exit strategy from the lockdown that contains the human life and health costs—by flattening the curve—while allowing the economy to get back in gear.


  • Maurice D. Kugler, Schar School Professor, Economist, and former Head of Research for the United Nations’ annual flagship Human Development Report
  • James Olds, Schar School Professor, Neurobiologist, and former Director of Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation

Register for the Zoom webinar


Tuesday, April 28, noon-1 p.m.
Infection Control and Surge Capacity in Hospitals and Health Systems in a Pandemic

Though the possibility of a pandemic has been known to public health officials for decades, yet health systems and hospitals have been caught short in having supplies and protocols in place. How is the medical establishment addressing critical issues such as infection control, protecting healthcare workers and the public, community spread, and hospital surge capacity. And how are hospitals faring with regard to shortages of tests and medical equipment? 

Bonnie Stabile, Schar School Associate Professor and Editor of World Medical & Health Policy


  • U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.)
  • Laurie Schintler, Schar School Associate Professor, Director of the Transportation, Policy, Operations, and Logistics Master’s Degree Program
  • Saskia Popescu, Schar School Biodefense PhD Alumna, Infectious Disease Specialist and Infection Preventionist

Register to participate on Zoom


Wednesday, April 29, noon-1 p.m.
Congress and the Postal Service in a Pandemic

The Postal Service delivers stimulus checks, prescription drugs, medical supplies, the 2020 Census and, come November, mail-in ballots. Listen in as current and former members of Congress discuss the role of Congress in determining the future of the U.S. Postal Service. 

Mark J. Rozell, Dean, Schar School of Policy and Government


  • Tom Davis, former U.S. Representative (R-Va.; 1994-2008) and Rector of George Mason University
  • U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Congressman Connolly is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations. In this role, he is responsible for shaping government-wide policy for a broad range of issues, including the United States Postal Service.
  • John M. McHugh, former U.S. Representative (R-NY), was chairman of the Oversight Committee's Postal Service Subcommittee for six years, and worked to pass legislation to significantly reform the U.S. Postal Service for the first time since it was demoted from a Cabinet-rank department with passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (Pub.L. 109–435) in 2006.

Register for the Zoom session


Wednesday, April 29, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Stimulating an Economy in a Pandemic 

Steven Pearlstein, Robinson Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University, won a Pulitzer Prize for his Washington Post columns anticipating and explaining the country’s 2008 financial collapse. Mason Economics Professor and Bloomberg columnist Tyler Cowen is the author of one of the country’s most popular economics blogs, Marginal Revolution. Join them in a conversation that explores the depth of the coronavirus crisis, the lasting ramifications, and possible solutions for repairing the inevitable damage.


  • Steven Pearlstein, Robinson Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University and Washington Post Columnist
  • Tyler f Cowen, Economics Professor and Chairman and Faculty Director of the Mercatus Center, Mason’s market-oriented research center

Register for the Webex program.

Thursday, April 30, noon-1 p.m. 
National Intelligence and International Security Amid a Pandemic

Gathering intelligence is difficult in the best of times, but how do the country’s intelligence agencies operate during a global lockdown? How will the jobs of intelligence professionals change after the crisis? Join a conversation between two longtime intelligence leaders as they examine the state of intelligence during a pandemic.

Laurence Pfeiffer, Director, Hayden Center


  • Michael Morell, Schar School Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security, former Acting Director and Deputy Director of the CIA
  • Glenn Gerstell, former General Counsel of the National Security Agency

Register for the Webex session.

Friday, May 1, noon-1p.m.
Crisis and Power-Grabbing: Government Expansion of Power During the Pandemic

National leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere are exploiting the coronavirus lockdown to their own benefit. The “elites” are expanding their power over citizens, siphoning money, and creating social discord that may undermine efforts to recover from the crisis. Corruption has never had it so good.

Bassam Haddad, Schar School Associate Professor and Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program


  • Janine Wedel, Schar School Professor of International Commerce and Policy and Author of Shadow Elite
  • Jennifer Victor, Schar School Associate Professor of Political Science and an Expert in Social Network Analysis

Register for the Zoom program