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Final Task Force Recommendations

We all have a role to play in supporting the well-being of our students, as their success is at the heart of our mission. 

In early September 2021, Provost Lewis charged a Student Well-being Task Force to “assess SLU's health and well-being ecosystem for students and develop recommendations to advance a culture of well-being for all students.” 

The final version of the Student Well-Being Task Force Report that follows provides a set of recommendations which support the vision that SLU is an educational community that supports the flourishing of all students. The strategic priorities were developed through consultation with our community, are aligned with our mission, and informed by research. While the task force charge focused on student well-being, this work has implications for faculty and staff well-being, as well.

We all have a role to play in supporting the well-being of our students, as their success is at the heart of our mission.

The Student Well-Being Task Force is thrilled to share its final recommendations, built with the tremendous support and engagement from the University's students, faculty and staff.

View the final recommendations as a PDF

View the final recommendations with explanatory notes

View the draft recommendations on which the Task Force sought and received community feedback

Please email with any questions.

The Charge

The Student Well-being Task Force was charged by Provost Lewis to assess SLU's health and well-being ecosystem for students and develop recommendations to advance a culture of well-being for all students. 

While student mental health often is the most visible aspect of student well-being, the Task Force’s charge was intentionally broad, including but not limited to mental health. A holistic approach to student well-being is fundamental to the Jesuit charism of cura personalis, as well as to all aspects of student success. Importantly, although our charge focused on student well-being, this work has implications for faculty and staff well-being, as well. Creating a culture of well-being goes beyond individual pursuit of well-being and emphasizes community well-being. 

Ultimately, the Task Force developed this set of recommendations, in collaboration with the campus community, to serve as a Student Well-being Strategic Roadmap for the University. 

Foundational Assumptions and Beliefs

Throughout this process, we grounded our work in a set of core assumptions and beliefs. Because these inform the way the recommendations were developed, we offer them here as important foundational context in understanding what is – and what is not – in the final recommendations.

We believe that . . . 

  • Our Jesuit values offer essential foundations for our pursuit of a culture of well-being. Cultivating meaning and purpose, prioritizing spiritual practice, and serving our communities are just some of the ways in which our Jesuit values enhance our individual and collective well-being.
  • Responsibility for student well-being at SLU is a shared responsibility. The University must play its distinctive role in creating a culture of well-being and providing adequate resources to support students holistically, and individuals must take appropriate action to enhance their own well-being.
  • The human experience involves struggle and difficulty, and learning involves discomfort. Learning how to respond to and move through these builds the resilience needed for true well-being.
  • To advance a culture of well-being at SLU, immediate actions are needed, and shifting our campus culture will take time. It is important to remember that the recommendations offered here are necessary for shifting the culture, but they are not the only actions we need to take. 
  • Academic rigor and student well-being are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, there are well-being benefits that come when students strive for – and reach – rigorous intellectual and academic goals. There is pleasure in the growth and learning that happen here.
  • The recommendations offered here can advance a culture of well-being for all students, and different students will need different kinds of support and community. We have tried to create recommendations that can benefit all SLU students –including graduate/professional students, online/nontraditional students – and to acknowledge the particular needs of students from historically marginalized identities and experiences.

We believe it is important to name these assumptions explicitly. Throughout this process, the Task Force (and University stakeholders) made clear there are a number of tensions inherent in the work of creating a culture of well-being. These include the tensions between individual and institutional responsibility, faculty and student perspectives on academic stressors, and internal and external services and resources. 

Such tensions persist because of the complexity of any university. Our aim throughout has been to acknowledge these tensions and strive for recommendations that can lay the groundwork for continuing education and change over time.

Guiding Principles
  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. It does not mean there won’t be concrete actions for individuals and departments to take in order to advance this work.
  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 Priorities

Expand each of the following to view the strategic priorities and their respective goals. View the full report through the PDF linked above to see timelines associated with each goal.

Strategic Priority #1

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

  • 1.1 – Develop a well-being toolkit that can be used to examine our systems, structures, policies, and work through a well-being lens.
  • 1.2 – Prioritize student well-being in our Academic Strategic Plan.
    • 1.2.1 – Review and begin revising academic policies in evidence-based ways that balance academic flourishing and socio-emotional well-being.
    • 1.2.2 – Review and revise the academic calendar in evidence-based ways that balance academic flourishing and socio-emotional well-being.
    • 1.2.3– Ensure shared awareness among instructors and academic leaders of the ways in which curriculum design and instructional methods can support or inhibit student well-being, while also maintaining academic rigor.
  • 1.3 – Identify and review current practices/policies related to institutional communications regarding matters of student well-being.
  • 1.4 – Create a centralized hub or platform where all members of the University community can easily find information about well-being resources (both on and off campus).
    • 1.4.1 – Create an interactive campus well-being map.
Strategic Priority #2

We take evidence-based approaches to supporting student well-being, including understanding disparate outcomes for particular groups of students.

  • 2.1 – Create an accountability structure to oversee progress for these recommendations and to ensure we take evidence-based approaches to student well-being.
  • 2.2 – Regularly assess student well-being using valid, reliable, and culturally inclusive methods and use the data to continuously enhance the student well-being support system.
  • 2.3 – Inventory and assess the capacity of the University’s student mental health and well-being resources and services.
Strategic Priority #3

We intentionally create spaces and opportunities for connection and belonging for all students, with particular attention to the distinctive needs of students from marginalized backgrounds and experiences.

  • 3.1 – 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.
  • 3.2 – Provide ongoing opportunities for graduate and professional students to be in community across the University.
  • 3.3 – Create and/or enhance physical and virtual spaces explicitly and specifically for historically underserved and marginalized student groups to find each other and to be in community together.
  • 3.4 – Create a well-being mentors/ambassadors program that is rooted in our Jesuit values and empowers people to share and learn from their hopes, aspirations, and challenges.
Strategic Priority #4

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

4.1 – Review existing mental health crisis response plans for alignment with evidence-based practices.

4.2 – Provide ongoing training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to enhance our community’s ability to support holistic well-being and to prevent and respond to mental health crises.

4.3 – Implement policies and practices across the University that foster a culture of well-being for faculty, staff, and administrators.

4.4 – Invest in community-driven creative projects that advance a culture of well-being for students.