Student health and wellness concerns including stress, alcohol and other drug use, and mental health issues continue to be the most significant problems that get in the way of academics at CCU. As a faculty member, what are some things you can do to make a positive impact?
Know your influence: Faculty can send powerful messages about the importance of positive health behaviors. Even the most robust wellness programs on college campuses rely on students taking the initiative to participate in programming. Faculty will always be able to reach students in the classroom that others on campus cannot.
Use your syllabus: Your syllabus has the power to set the stage for expectations and norms in the classroom. Consider adding wellness resources available to students, like the LiveWell Office, Counseling Services, Student Health Services and University Recreation.
Utilize all five days of the week: By keeping scheduled Friday class times and having assignments due on Fridays, you can dissuade students from engaging in high risk alcohol use on Thursdays. Consider making assignments due at 11:59 p.m. rather than 8 a.m. to encourage a good night’s sleep.
Know the campus norms and your influence: Research on college campuses indicates that students misperceive what is "normal" regarding alcohol use and attitudes about alcohol use, greatly exaggerating how much others drink and underestimating healthy behaviors. Faculty can also be carriers of the misperception that students drink a lot and frequently. How you talk about alcohol, other drugs, and typical college student health behaviors in your class has an impact. Want to know more about social norms on CCU’s campus? Click here for information: The Wally Campaign
Make a referral: If you are concerned about a student’s health and wellness whether it is due to substance abuse, mental health issues, physical health concerns, or other personal issues, let someone know. You can make a referral to Counseling Services or Student Health Services by talking to your student directly, or by calling 843-349-2305 for Counseling Services or 843-349-6543 for Student Health to discuss your concerns. If you want to report a behavior of concern, or you can visit the Dean of Students’ Office’s Advocacy and Intervention page.
Utilize the Don’t Cancel Class Program: The LiveWell office offers a variety of educational presentations to classes, student organizations and other groups on wellness topics and serves as the host of the “Don’t Cancel Class” series of presentations for academic instructors who would like to request a presentation when they must miss a class. If you know in advance that you will be missing a class you can schedule a presentation on the topic of your choice. This will help all of our students take advantage of every possible educational moment to develop not only intellectually, but emotionally and behaviorally as well.
Curriculum infusion provides an opportunity for students to receive information about health related issues as part of academic classes. Several studies have found positive outcomes related to the use of curriculum infusion. Faculty who use Curriculum Infusion play an important part in reaching students who do not self-select into wellness education on campus and also provide messages that students can take with them off campus (White, Park & Cordero, 2010). Curriculum infusion can range from a one-time lecture to ongoing projects or assignments. Any time that faculty discuss alcohol use or other health behavior issues in a classroom setting, they potentially encourage interactive dialogue and make a contribution toward changing the campus social/cultural environment, identified as an effective prevention strategy. There are many different ways to use curriculum infusion:
- Create an assignment: Prevention and wellness work is influenced by theories from a wide range of disciplines including communication, psychology, sociology, history, marketing, nutrition, public health, anthropology, biology, and more. Include an assignment in your syllabus that touches on a health or wellness topic.
- Create a research project: Students learning about survey construction or data analysis can use real world health and wellness topics for their projects. If you are interested in having students work with health and wellness data on CCU students, contact the LiveWell Office to discuss options.
- Service learning: The LiveWell Office collaborates with several faculty on campus to provide service learning opportunities for their students. Experiences can include everything from marketing, graphic design, web design, event planning and implementation, peer education and mentoring experiences, data collection, research, and more. Service learning projects can be implemented for entire classes or for independent study projects. If you are interested in learning more, contact the LiveWell Office.