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Draft Task Force Recommendations

2030 Vision: SLU is an educational community that supports the flourishing of all students

In September 2021, the Provost charged the Student Well-being Task Force to "assess Saint Louis University's health and well-being ecosystem for students and develop recommendations to advance a culture of well-being for all students." 

At this time, the Task Force is pleased to share draft recommendations with the University community. On this page, you will find key Guiding Principles that informed our drafting process, in addition to four Strategic Priorities and multiple Recommended Actions, which are meant to serve as starting points for advancing a culture of well-being for all students. For each item, you can click the arrow to show detailed explanatory notes that provide context and suggestions for what it might look like to operationalize each recommendation.

We also have prepared the recommendations in two different PDF documents (one brief, one more detailed), to allow multiple ways to engage with the draft recommendations.

View the Full Report as a PDF

View the Brief Report as a PDF

Video: How We Got Here (About the Process the SWTF Used)

Video Transcript

The Task Force collected feedback on the draft recommendations through April 25 and has assembled a summary review of the roughly 600 feedback responses.

View the feedback summary as a PDF

Please email with any questions.

Guiding Principles for the Student Well-Being Task Force (SWTF)
  1. Focus on holistic health and well-being (including physical, intellectual, emotional, environmental, spiritual, social, etc.), not just on mental health.
  2. Create recommendations that have the potential to benefit all types of students, while also acknowledging that different students have different needs. Here, we thought explicitly about different categories of students (e.g., undergraduate and graduate/professional, in-person and online, residential and non-residential, etc.) and individuals of differing identities, backgrounds, and experiences.
  3. Ground recommendations in evidence-based practices, our Jesuit mission, values, and identity, and in our shared commitment to inclusion, equity, justice, and belonging.
  4. Balance University responsibility with individual responsibility, and create space for shared ownership of student well-being initiatives.
  5. Focus on future-looking, broad/overarching actions that can lead to culture change, rather than on specific solutions to specific problems. (Although some recommendations allow us to begin to address challenges identified during the data collection process.)
  6. Avoid creating “to do lists” for specific departments or individuals (this allows us to honor expertise, enact subsidiarity, and respect the importance of context).
  7. Lay the groundwork for future working groups that will implement recommended actions, while also leaving space for creativity and innovation. We know there will be a need for working groups to operationalize any accepted recommendations, and we will provide data toolkits for those groups after the Task Force’s work concludes.
  8. Create an expectation of accountability and continuous improvement over time. (This work cannot and will not be a one-off endeavor.)

Strategic Priority #1

Our commitment to student flourishing is embedded throughout the institution and is reflected in our priorities, actions, and communications.

Contextual Information for This Priority

Key components for this priority include: policies that support (or do not unnecessarily inhibit) student well-being; a commitment to taking a collaborative approach to supporting student well-being; and effective communication strategies that regularly share information in multiple formats about available resources, well-being priorities, and progress on well-being initiatives.

Some of the data that informed this Priority:

  • Evidence-based practices described in common readings, including American College Health Association standards of practice for health promotion in higher education, the Okanagan Charter, A New Campus Model for Health: Integrating Well-Being Into Campus Life, Creating Environments for Flourishing,  and Framing Well-Being in a College Campus Setting.
  • Suggestions from stakeholder listening sessions and input forms, including suggestions to:
    • Make changes to the academic calendar (e.g., only have classes on MTWR, make all classes 75 minutes, make 12-1 p.m. a class-free hour, etc.);
    • Make changes to academic policies (e.g., more Pass/No Pass grading options, extended deadlines for Withdrawal, etc.);
    • Enhance communications (e.g., create a landing place on the SLU website for all the opportunities for student support, diversify the ways in which we communicate with students about well-being, etc.);
    • Embed well-being content into curricula across the University and particularly the new Core for undergraduates;
    • Promote strategies for curriculum design and instruction that support well-being and align with universal design principles;
    • Make sure resources and programming are available and appropriate for graduate and professional students, online students and on-campus students;
    • Make sure resources and programming are available and appropriate for students from a range of backgrounds, experiences, and identities.
  • “Big idea” suggestions like the development of a well-being toolkit to review policies and processes and the development of an Oath of Well-being (similar to our Oath of Inclusion).
1A: Develop a well-being toolkit that can be used to examine our systems, structures, policies, and work through a well-being lens.

This big idea was offered as an analogy to toolkits that help organizations bring an equity lens to the structures and systems of their organizations. Initially, it was conceived as a toolkit to promote the examination of policies with a well-being lens. Broadening the idea of the toolkit would allow its application to many aspects of our work–policies, practices, processes, communication strategies, organizational structures, rewards and incentives, and more–at the University level and at the level of specific groups or units within the University.

Depending on how the toolkit is developed, it also may help individuals discern their own contributions to creating a culture of well-being for all students. The toolkit may include questions to guide reflection activities, frameworks and definitions to use when reviewing our work, etc. Importantly, such a toolkit would allow leaders across the University (including student leaders) to review policies, practices, etc. that fall under their purview. University leaders could set an expectation that units use the toolkit to assess their contributions to a culture of well-being.  

We expect the toolkit would explicitly reflect our Jesuit values (such as our commitment to cura personalis, but also practices like communal discernment and the importance of spiritual well-being). Creating a toolkit that could be brought to bear on many different aspects of our work would help to ensure that creating a culture of well-being for all students is shared work, not simply the responsibility of specific individuals with specific titles or roles. 

1B: Review and begin revising academic policies in evidence-based ways that balance academic flourishing and socio-emotional well-being.

Early steps may include review/consideration of permanent changes to policies for P/NP, Withdrawal deadline, and others identified by campus stakeholders. Each academic policy will need to work through proper shared governance processes, which should include input from students. Policies may be reviewed using the toolkit described above. Any changes should consider potential impact to academic rigor and potential disparate impacts on particular groups of students.

Importantly, some academic policies are established at the University level, while others are established at the department/program and school/college. This action is one many stakeholders could help to advance, at their own levels of influence (which supports our desire for shared ownership for creating a culture of well-being).

1C: Review and revise the academic calendar in evidence-based ways that balance academic flourishing and socio-emotional well-being.

Early steps likely will include creating a working group of relevant stakeholders (including students) that can work together to identify: external constraints that govern the academic calendar (such as federal financial aid, accreditation, and other regulatory requirements), internal constraints (such as the number of classes offered per semester, the number of available classroom spaces, etc.), any research on optimal balance of class time and down time, etc. Importantly, any changes must balance University-wide priorities with school-/college-specific constraints (i.e., accreditation restrictions, etc.).

The SWTF can provide a summary of specific suggestions from campus stakeholders related to possible academic calendar changes. Any final recommendations for specific, long-term changes to the academic calendar would ideally have the support of both faculty and students.

1D: Prioritize student well-being in our Academic Strategic Plan.

Incorporating student well-being into the ASP will help to underscore that student well-being is a part of academic success, for individuals and for our institution. The SWTF final report will be shared with those leading the ASP process to ensure any SWTF recommendations accepted by the Provost are integrated into the final ASP as appropriate.

1E: Ensure shared understanding among instructors and academic leaders of the ways in which curriculum design and instructional methods can support or inhibit student well-being.

Different instructors and administrators likely have varying degrees of knowledge about the ways in which curricular structure, course design, and instructional methods can impact student well-being both positively and negatively. Additionally, they may have varied understandings of the ways in which even small amounts of content focused on well-being strategies may be incorporated into their classes.

This recommendation could be enacted in multiple ways, including programming and resources, instructor communities of practice, and/or professional development for curriculum committees just to name a few. Essential partners in this work likely would include: the Reinert Center, faculty who are engaged in research on the intersections of curriculum/instruction/well-being, the Provost, the Deans, the Associate Provosts who lead UAAC and GAAC, the Director of the Core, and leaders of other curriculum committees, to name a few.

1F: Identify and review current practices/policies related to University-wide communications regarding matters of student well-being.

The SWTF has heard a number of things related to University communications around student well-being, from the ways in which we do/don’t communicate student deaths to the ways in which we share information about available student support resources. This recommendation is intended to develop a shared understanding of how such communications are approached today and (if appropriate) to lay the groundwork for enhanced communication strategies in the future.

Different offices and departments have different strategies, and most campus stakeholders (including parents and families) do not have a clear understanding of the philosophies or policies informing those strategies. Having a shared understanding of what happens today, and why, will allow our community members (including parents and families) to better understand what sorts of changes would be appropriate. This recommendation also could be undertaken by the same working group that tackles recommendation 1G and 3C.

1G: Create a centralized hub or platform where all members of the University community can easily find wellness-related resources.

Throughout this process, SWTF members have heard repeatedly about the challenges of not knowing where to find certain kinds of information and/or not knowing which resources are available to students. We’ve also heard about the importance of proactive approaches to wellness and well-being, including health promotion and prevention strategies. A centralized hub could take a variety of forms and could include (or not) different kinds of information for different audiences. Minimally, campus stakeholders have expressed the need for an easy-to-find and easy-to-use resource that maps the various resources and services available to students (with explicit information that addresses services available to both undergraduate and graduate/professional students, and to on-campus and online students, as well as information specific to students from backgrounds and experiences).

Stakeholders also want easy-to-find information about recommended off-campus resources and partners, as a kind of one-stop location for information. Early steps connected to this recommendation likely would include identifying an appropriate “owner” for this platform, as well as creating a working group (which includes students) to assist with design and implementation. This recommendation also could be undertaken by the same working group that tackles recommendation 1F and 3C.

Strategic Priority #2

We take evidence-based approaches to supporting student well-being, including understanding disparate outcomes for particular groups of students and advancing knowledge-creation focused on student well-being. 

Contextual Information for This Priority

Key components for this priority include: evidence-based research, frameworks, and benchmarks; resource investments and staffing levels that are appropriate for our institutional size/type and that are culturally appropriate; regular collection, sharing, and use of data on student well-being; and a culture of continuous improvement, where students feel safe sharing their experiences. 

Some of the data that informed this Priority:

  • University assessment data, including Missouri Assessment of College Health Behaviors (MACHB), ACHA National College Health Assessment, NACCC, IDEALS, and others
  • Existing educational/health promotion activities at SLU including: Everfi Healthy Campus learning modules, Culture of Respect, Ask.Listen.Refer, Mental Health First Aid Training, Bystander Intervention training, other education on substance misuse and sexual assault
  • Suggestions from stakeholder listening sessions and input forms, including suggestions to:
    • Assess the capacity of key units – like the Student Health Center and the University Counseling Center, among others – and add staff if necessary;
    • Enhance communication around the full array of support options for students, both on campus and off
    • Create a JED Campus partnership in order to take a strategic approach to enhancing student mental health at SLU
    • Create a Center for Well-being that brings together faculty, staff, and students in research partnerships, well-being activities, health promotion
    • Create a Center for Well-being that houses all student well-being support units in the same place
    • Regularly assess student well-being, using valid, reliable, and culturally affirming instruments
  • “Big idea” suggestions like creating a student well-being council/coalition as a standing group to serve as a formal structure of accountability for these recommendations
2A: Regularly assess student well-being using valid, reliable, and culturally inclusive methods.

The work of enacting this recommendation would include identifying appropriate, evidence-based instruments/methods for assessing student well-being; establishing baselines for all students (undergraduate and graduate/professional, on-campus and online); establishing a timeline and frequency for on-going assessment; sharing data from the assessments widely; and working with key stakeholders to identify (and implement) actions suggested by the data.

We believe it is imperative that we demonstrate we are acting on the data from these assessments, not simply collecting data for the sake of collecting it. Additionally, we believe we may need a diversified approach to assessing student well-being that allows us to understand well-being across all students and within particular groups of students.

2B: Document and assess the capacity of the system of student well-being resources and supports.

Consistent with our Jesuit values and with what we’ve heard from campus stakeholders, the SWTF takes a holistic view of student well-being. We believe an array of supports and resources are needed for student flourishing, but we also have heard that our campus community is not always clear about the broad ecosystem of support available to students. Thus, we believe it is important to document the full array of services and resources available to support all aspects of student well-being and to understand any gaps in our current structures and systems.

The work of enacting this recommendation would include inventorying (and publicizing) all the kinds of resources available to support students, including resources that address basic needs insecurity, support spiritual health, assist with academic flourishing, support physical well-being, respond to physical or mental health concerns, and much more. Documenting the various resources – and assessing their capacity to address student needs, using benchmarks and evidence-based frameworks – are essential first steps in ensuring that service units are appropriately structured and resourced. We also might consider partnering with an external organization to ensure we’re taking a holistic, evidence-based approach to this work.

2C: Inventory and assess the capacity of mental health services available to students on campus.

Although mental health is just one component of student well-being, there can be a lack of clarity about the mental health resources and services available to students, as well as confusion about which services are available to which groups of students. For instance, can students who never come to campus access clinical counseling through the University? Do graduate students have the same level of services as undergraduates? Some campus stakeholders also believe we do not have the right number of clinical practitioners available to support students’ mental health needs. Some do not fully understand the differences between different types and levels of support for student mental health (i.e., prevention vs. treatment).

Acting on this recommendation likely would mean documenting the full set of services available to support student mental health. It also would likely involve departments that provide mental health services to students conducting appropriate, evidence-based assessments to determine whether they have the right balance of resources (personnel, space, etc.) and offerings for the size and type of institution we are. These are important aspects of educating our campus community about what they can and cannot expect from mental health services on campus, as well as differences in types of support offered by different services (i.e., some supports are preventive in nature, while others serve as a triage until students can seek more specialized and immersive treatment off campus, similar to the ways in which medical care works). We may find value in partnering with an external organization (like JED Foundation) as we engage in this work.

2D: Identify and create opportunities to share SLU-based research on wellness and well-being.

Actions in this area could take many different forms. The important elements are to amplify SLU-based research that touches on well-being, to create opportunities for SLU researchers in these areas to connect, and to better connect this research to our own student well-being initiatives, as appropriate. There are a number of faculty and staff at SLU who are engaged in research related to well-being, and we have not always connected them – to one another or to our efforts to support student well-being. Essential partners in this area would include: faculty and staff engaged in wellness and well-being research; the Office of the VP for Research; student wellness groups; others tasks with wellness and well-being work at the University.

2E: Create a Student Well-being Council/Coalition to serve as an accountability structure to oversee progress on student well-being initiatives and ensure we take evidence-based approaches, using data to inform continuous change.

This might be a student well-being coalition or council, or some other standing group that meets regularly and seeks to continuously work on and evaluate student well-being efforts on campus. Essential partners in this work likely would include: the AVP for Student Well-being, student representatives (from student government but also from wellness-focused organizations), staff representatives of related departments/areas (such as Campus Ministry, Campus Rec and Wellness, the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources, DICE, staff overseeing wellness within schools/colleges), faculty members who conduct research in and/or incorporate wellness into their curricula, individuals involved in the Task Force, and others.

Creating a permanent structure would provide a sustainable way to ensure that University community members see that the SWTF is not a single, one-off initiative, but instead see that there is a body dedicated to tracking and communicating progress on these recommendations and to continuous improvement.

Strategic Priority #3

We intentionally create spaces and opportunities for connection and belonging for all students and designate specific spaces and opportunities for students from marginalized backgrounds and experiences to heal and flourish together. 

Contextual Information for This Priority

Key components for this priority include: the need for community, connection, and belonging across geographical campus boundaries, including for remote/distance students; particular need for social connection for graduate/professional students beyond their academic programs; the reciprocal nature of individual/personal well-being and community well-being (including the ways in which service and justice work contribute to personal wellness, sense of meaning, and purpose); the importance of social connection bringing together students, faculty, and staff; and the need/desire for student-led/peer-to-peer well-being support.

Some of the data that informed this Priority:

  • Research that affirms the intersections of personal well-being, community well-being, and the natural, built, and digital environments
  • Suggestions from stakeholder listening sessions and input forms, including suggestions to:
    • Designate spaces specifically for graduate and professional students to connect informally
    • Add health promotion signage around campus as cues to self-care (reminding people to take a breath, pray/reflect, unplug from technology, drink water, etc.)
    • Develop a peer-to-peer student support network
    • Create faculty and staff “well-being mentors”
    • Ensure virtual spaces for connection, support for remote students
    • Offer more retreats specifically aimed at graduate/professional students
    • Create more/different opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to gather socially (as we saw with wellness days in fall 2021)
  • “Big idea” suggestions like: create an interactive well-being focused campus map, develop a well-being ambassadors program, create a Well-being Examen
3A: Review the University’s campus footprints with a well-being lens and ensure the physical campuses continue to integrate the built and natural environments in ways that support well-being and human connection.

Early steps here might include reviewing the University’s Campus Master Plan (a.k.a., a strategic plan for the built environment of the University and possible changes over time), which intentionally integrates built and natural environments, conducting a campus-wide assessment of physical and natural spaces, spaces for movement, recreation and leisure, green spaces, additional walking/biking paths. It also might include an inventory of other existing, student-driven initiatives to create more wellness and inclusion spaces within our physical campus.

Essential partners for this work would likely include Facilities; student organizations; the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources; the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project; members of SLU’s Laudato Si (care for our common home) planning team; possible external partners; faculty engaged in relevant research; and others interested in the intersections of physical space design, human health and well-being, and sustainability.

3B: Create and/or bolster physical and virtual spaces explicitly and specifically for underserved and marginalized student groups to find each other and to be in community together.

This recommendation is, in part, an adaptation of a recommendation that stemmed from our recent National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) assessment. This recommendation also recognizes the importance of affinity spaces for individuals of particular identities, experiences, cultures, and relationships to the University. For instance, students from minoritized racial and ethnic groups need spaces free from the racial stressors that come with being in predominantly white spaces.

Additionally, the SWTF heard repeatedly that graduate and professional students needed designated spaces in which to connect with peers from outside their own academic department/program. Similarly, we heard that our fully online students and non-traditional students need virtual spaces to connect and be in community with others. Essential partners for enacting this recommendation likely would include: Facilities staff, student affinity groups, graduate/professional students, online students, and others.

3C: Create an interactive campus well-being map.

The idea here is to create a well-being-focused version of our campus maps, layering in information about spaces for prayer and meditation (like chapels, Campus Ministry, College Church, Manresa Retreat Center, gardens, the Clock Tower, interfaith spaces, the wellness room in Pius Library, etc.), spaces that allow/promote physical activities (like Simon Rec Center, the pool, the track on the south campus, athletic fields, maps for guided walks, etc.), the sites of clinical support units (like Student Health Center, University Counseling Center, SLUCare locations, other clinics, etc.) and so on.

The map could also identify affinity spaces for specific groups (as described above), sensory spaces (like the sensory room in CADR), lactation spaces, and more. Such a map would not only enhance communication – which we’ve heard a lot about – but it also could serve as a kind of informal “assessment,” highlighting gaps and showing where additional work may be needed. Finally, this sort of interactive map also could be accompanied by new signage throughout the physical campuses to promote healthy mind/body/spirit (e.g., signs that cue specific healthy actions, like reminders to breathe). This recommendation also could be undertaken by the same working group that tackles recommendation 1F and 1G.

3D: Evaluate (and supplement as needed) existing opportunities for graduate and professional students to be in community across the University.

All of the recommendations have the potential to enhance graduate/professional students’ experiences, but we also feel it is important to explicitly focus a recommendation on the needs of this population. While there are numerous student organizations and opportunities to connect outside of one’s program of study for undergraduate students, the SWTF heard a lot about the need for more University-wide opportunities for graduate and professional students to connect with others and to be in community. Graduate and professional students asked specifically for more retreat opportunities and opportunities to connect to the University’s Jesuit mission.

Without a comprehensive inventory, it is unclear whether this desire stems from a lack of available opportunities or a lack of clear communication about which opportunities are open to graduate/professional students. This recommendation could include adding/enhancing affinity groups or other kinds of organizations that allow graduate and professional students to connect, both on campus and off (even online).

3E: Create a wellness mentors/ambassadors program that is rooted in our Jesuit values and allows people to share and learn from their hopes, aspirations, and challenges.

The SWTF heard several big ideas and suggestions that connect with this recommendation. Some stakeholders really wanted SLU to create a mechanism for faculty and staff who are invested in wellness and well-being work to find and connect with each other and with students. Other related ideas involved creating a robust peer-to-peer support program for students (expanding out further than our current HEAT peer educators). A lot of stakeholders expressed the desire to have spaces and relationships that allow people to speak openly about struggle, to acknowledge that being human has challenges and a part of flourishing is about learning how to respond to challenges, and to destigmatize mental health concerns. Someone suggested that we look at Well-being Ambassadors programs at other universities.

For SLU, there is an opportunity to create a program that builds on evidence-based approaches but is shaped by our Jesuit values, to ensure spiritual well-being, purpose, and meaning are embedded in our understanding of well-being and in our conversations with students about their well-being (consider using Mission Liaison F/S/A as a model). Such a program also would create one way for faculty and staff to bring visibility to their well-being work in annual review processes. Another big idea we heard – create a well-being examen – could also be a part of the work in this recommendation.

Strategic Priority #4

Our community models an ethos of cura personalis that explicitly prioritizes and integrates mind, body, and spirit. 

Contextual Information for This Priority

Key components for this priority include: care of the entire person - mind, body, spirit; individuals taking ownership over wellness and planning proactively as they are able; faculty, staff, and students are well-prepared to respond to mental health challenges; mental health is not stigmatized; faculty and staff model self-care; and civic and community engagement contributes to individual well-being.

Some of the data that informed this Priority:

  • Existing educational/health promotion activities at SLU: formal education/learning activities; spiritual formation and retreat opportunities; immersion, community engagement, and social action experiences; recreational sports leagues; cultural organizations and events; engagement in research and scholarship experiences
  • Suggestions from stakeholder listening sessions and input forms, including suggestions to:
    • Promote the role of service and justice work in well-being, satisfaction, sense of purpose, spiritual development
    • Create a culture that normalizes struggle, challenge, and resilience as an essential part of flourishing
    • Foreground the importance of spiritual and/or religious practices, silence & solitude, retreats, pondering life’s big questions, reflection, values, meaning, purpose
    • Partner with external organizations or adopt frameworks like Exercise is Medicine On Campus
    • Encourage faculty and staff to model well-being (taking breaks, using out-of-office alerts, etc.)
    • Encourage faculty/staff to share their own experiences and challenges
      Offer well-being retreats (some specifically for graduate students, medical students, professional students, and online students)
  • “Big idea” suggestions like asking all students to create preventive wellness/well-being plans, which could be updated regularly and connected to wellness coaching; encouraging all students to sketch out/name all the people and offices in their own well-being “network”; adopting or creating a wellness incentive app or program; and creating regular “well-being innovation challenges” or a structure to fund/support well-being “big ideas,” which could be proposed by anyone; faculty/staff also could model these so students see we’re all invested; also injects creativity and innovation into this work.
4A: Empower students to enhance and advocate for their own holistic health and well-being whenever possible. 

This recommended action stems from several big ideas the Task Force heard: (a) having students create personal plans for their own well-being (sometimes called “wellness plans”); (b) adopting or creating a wellness app to encourage students to take concrete actions that support their own health and well-being (an idea originating in the SGA Mental Health Task Force and raised by students again in this process); and (c) having students create a “map” of their wellness support network (which could include friends, counselors, academic advisors, parents/families, faculty, etc.). We also heard from numerous stakeholders about the importance of normalizing challenges as being a part of life and as a part of learning, and about the importance of students developing their own proactive plans for how they will respond to challenges.

This recommendation recognizes that with the right support, tools, and knowledge, students can enhance and advocate for their personal wellbeing through activities such as: reaching out for help when needed, taking care of their bodies, unplugging from technology periodically, serving the community, engaging in justice work, practicing their faith or engaging in other spiritual practices, and so on. Ultimately, there are a number of ways to act on this recommendation, and student creativity and input would be essential for arriving at effective strategies. (Ideas may even be generated through a “big ideas” program as described in Recommended Action 4B.) As a Jesuit university, we also should explicitly foreground the interconnectedness between individual well-being and community well-being; participating in service opportunities, immersion experiences, and social advocacy work are all other-focused actions that can also increase personal satisfaction, sense of purpose and meaning – critical aspects of individual well-being. 

4B: Create a “Big Ideas” program for student well-being initiatives.

The SWTF heard a number of ideas we thought of as “big ideas” throughout this process, and those have been incorporated into the recommendations. But we also thought it would be important to create a mechanism by which creative, innovative approaches to student well-being could continue to come forward on an ongoing basis. This is something like the research “big ideas” program, though obviously different. The idea would be to elicit and support creative ideas from within/across the University community, to foster shared ownership and to allow for students themselves to shape the work ahead. A Big Ideas program for student well-being could include partnership with SGA and GSA, Student Development, Academic Affairs, and numerous others on campus. Big Ideas could focus on subsets of the student body (e.g., Law students, online students, Medical students, LGBTQIA+ students) or be open to all students (or all community members). A program like this also underscores that the work of these recommendations is not the only work to be done.

4C: Review existing mental health crisis response plans with best practices in mind.

Early steps likely include creating a working group to review our current mental health crisis response plans, identifying best practices in the field (e.g., Higher Education Mental Health Alliance Postvention Plan), and consulting with campus first responders including, but not limited to, Student Development, University Counseling Center, and Public Safety. The criteria for review may include strategies to stabilize the environment, facilitate grief processes, promote healthy coping, and limit the risk of suicide contagion.  

4D: Document existing training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students, and develop plans to address any identified gaps.

Many in our campus community do not know what training opportunities are available to them in key areas focused on student well-being. Additionally, it is clear that we likely need to significantly expand certain kinds of training (such as Mental Health First Aid Training for faculty and staff). If we are going to shift our campus culture from a crisis response to a place that truly embodies cura personalis, we also will need training and education in multiple aspects of student well-being, focused on the full spectrum from health promotion and prevention to crisis response and intervention, and more.

We expect the University will need to invest in more opportunities for training, such as increasing the number of trained MHFA trainers who can lead training sessions on campus in order to increase the number of training sessions available to faculty, staff, and students. We also expect there may be work to do to ensure all students complete the Everfi learning modules focused on student health and well-being, but there may be other ways to layer in education and information (such as integrating into coursework in professional programs, the new Core, or other things). Ultimately, the University may even want to require all student-facing roles to be certified in key areas. Note: there also may be other kinds of training/education needed to support student flourishing, such as the ways in which we prepare new Billiken parents to support their student’s transition to college in ways that bolster well-being.

4E: Create the conditions in which faculty, staff, and administrators can model self-care.

The SWTF heard repeatedly from students that they would find it helpful for faculty, staff, and administrators to actively model self-care. At the same time, we heard from faculty, staff, and administrators who felt the University needs a corollary task force focused on employee well-being (particularly in light of the strains the pandemic has added and in light of the particular burden some staff, administrators, and faculty carry during student mental health crises on campus). Likely this recommendation will require a working group to examine opportunities for and limitations of consistent self-care among staff, faculty, and administrators.

This may include examining best practices around culture signals like out-of-office messages and email expectations during paid time off. It also may include assessing the kinds of support staff, faculty, and administrators may need in order to practice consistent self-care, such as, using family medical leave when needed, taking time in their workday for lunch, etc. Lessons learned during the pandemic may foster more intentional flexible work strategies going forward. This recommendation underscores the interdependent nature of student well-being and faculty/staff/administrator well-being.