“I’m really stressed out anyway.”
The email from a faculty member prompted Victoria Russell, director of the Washington Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Mary, to print it out and keep it on her planner and in her mind for nearly a year.
That reminded her and her colleagues as they plan to address a growing issue in college classrooms—the challenge of meeting growing student mental health needs while maintaining meaningful, rigorous coursework. The plans came to life earlier this month with a keynote speech and workshop by renowned psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh. Beating the Monster: Supporting Youth Mental Health through Compassionate Challenges.
Those last two words — “compassionate challenge” — are key to promoting mental health among teens on campus, said Kavanagh, a psychology professor and senior associate dean for teaching and learning at Simmons University.
“As teachers, we can support and encourage students’ mental health through nursing pedagogy,” she said, sending out materials ahead of her presentation. “Nursing pedagogy involves high-touch practices such as frequent communication, flexibility, inclusive teaching practices, learning new technologies and techniques, and enthusiasm and enthusiasm.”
She told UMW Group that recent stressors — the COVID-19 pandemic, political polarization, racial tensions, environmental concerns and more — have led to a critical moment in higher education, leaving students confronting a difficult past, uncertainty present and unstable future. At the same time, teachers find themselves searching for ways to meet the emotional needs of individuals and deliver engaging lessons while also retaining the joy they find in their jobs.
Host Sarah Rose Cavanagh shares real-life examples from the research she conducted for her latest book, Mind Over Monsters: Supporting Youth Mental Health through Compassionate Challenges.
Faculty and staff, including Center for Teaching and Learning Director Victoria Russell (second from left), who hosted Kavanagh’s talk, discussed classroom challenges.
UMW faculty and staff discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in the classroom regarding student mental health.
“I think interacting with each other is much more difficult than it used to be,” said sociology professor Leslie Martin, one of the faculty and staff from across the university’s departments and offices who attended the Cedric Luck University Center event. many.”
Kavanagh heard similar sentiments as he traveled the country writing in the wake of the pandemic Defeat monstersExplore the topic of adolescent mental health with students, clinicians, and educators. At UMW, she shares her research findings, cites real-life experiences, theory, and resources, and encourages participants to exchange ideas.
Mary Washington head athletic trainer Beth Druvenga emphasized goal setting, the theme of Kavanagh’s afternoon seminar, as a way to engage students and build confidence. “Studying students’ goals before the semester can give professors insight into their motivations,” Drewinga said of the strategies she employs in this area. “It also gives them a chance to check whether they’re meeting their goals or what they need to do differently.”
Kavanagh said these strategies—encouraging challenge, stimulating energy, and building inclusion—can enhance the learning environment. chronicle of higher education and blog psychology today.
Sarah Rose Kavanagh (far left), author of “Focus on the Monsters: Supporting Youth Mental Health through Compassionate Challenges,” in the UMW Chandler Ballroom with Keith Melling, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Chatting with faculty members including Grid (far right).
Earlier this month, faculty and staff shared experiences and thoughts during a presentation on student mental health issues in the classroom.
Faculty and staff from across the university attended this month’s in-class presentation on student mental health by psychologist and author Sarah Rose Cavanagh.
“Teachers can do the best for their students by designing their classrooms with purpose and supporting students in processing things that may feel uncomfortable,” said Russell, who hopes to bring more opportunities to explore mental health issues to the UMW community.
Cavanagh calls the key to the concept of intentionality “flexibility with guardrails.” Combining clear expectations with deadlines and assessments tailored to individual needs can help create a sense of security.
“I think students need compassion, and they also need challenges,” she said. “Compassion must come first.”
UMW offers 24/7 mental health services to students through TimelyCare and to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program. In addition, the university supports the mental health of student-athletes through the Eagles Let’s Talk program.