We know that in order to be successful in the classroom, a student must be of healthy mind and body. Supporting the whole student is something the Signature Course program strives to achieve, through investment in faculty support and partnerships with campus colleagues.
With students experiencing swift and substantial changes to their academic lives, social connections, jobs, and living situations, their well-being is more important than ever. UT Austin’s SHIFT initiative aims to make student wellness, with an emphasis on alcohol and other drug use, central to the work we do as educators.
Pilot one of SHIFT engages first-year students in their Signature Courses. This new initiative kicked off in 2019-20 with 38 instructors who taught over 1,700 students in their UGS 302 and 303 courses. Faculty involved in this initiative integrate the evidence-based protective factors in their Signature Courses (creativity, responsibility, value varied perspectives, self-compassion, achievement motivation, etc.) that we know reduce substance use and mitigate its risks. These small shifts in instruction add up to large contributions toward changing campus culture.
To learn more about integrating SHIFT into your Signature Course, contact Jeff Mayo, SHIFT Academic Pilots Lead and Assistant Director of the First-Year Experience.
Counseling & Mental Health Center
The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) serves UT’s diverse campus community by providing high quality, innovative and culturally informed mental health programs and services that enhance and support students’ well-being, academic and life goals. The CMHC also provides services to assist faculty and staff in providing support to students. Learn more about virtual visits to your class, consultations for faculty about supporting student mental health, and a Canvas well-being module.
Longhorn Wellness Center
A student’s health and their ability to thrive academically are closely linked. The Longhorn Wellness Center (LWC) supports the missions of University Health Services and the Counseling and Mental Health Center by addressing priority college health issues. The LWC does this using multi-level, evidence-based prevention strategies such as peer education, social marketing, social norm campaigns, environmental changes, and strategic campus partnerships.
Texas Well-Being aims to promote well-being in UT Learning Environments. The strategies they suggest are based on research, and are also based on ideas and techniques that other UT faculty have found to be effective in supporting student well-being. When considering strategies or ideas you’d like to try in your class, think about your personal interactions and teaching style. Not every strategy is the right fit, so pick one that feels comfortable and do it well. Some are easier than others to embed. According to students, some of the simplest ideas can have a huge impact when done authentically. Learn more:
Behavioral Concerns Advice Line
The Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL) is a service that provides UT’s faculty, students and staff an opportunity to discuss their concerns about another individual’s behavior. This service is a partnership among the Office of the Dean of Students, the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC), the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD). An individual can either call the line at 512-232-5050 or report their concerns using the online submission form.