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Teaching Excellence Program

Student Mental Health and the Classroom

Date: 1:00pm - 1:50pm PST February 14 Location: JR Howard Hall 302

JR Howard Hall 302

It’s that time in the semester when we feel we “know” something about the students in our classes. We know who arrives to class late, who turns in unfinished work, and who misses class altogether. It’s that time in the semester when we find ourselves filling out notifications of academic concern (formerly known as Advising Alerts). But what’s driving these student behaviors? Often the answer is mental health.

In Tuesday’s Pedagogy Lunch, we will be joined by Dr. Michelle Kirton (the Associate Director of Lewis & Clark’s Counseling Service). Our discussion will undoubtedly touch on the fact that college counseling centers nationwide are Stretched to Capacity (as described in a November 2016 Chronicle article by Kelly Field). But in an article titled, Are you Being Rigorous or Just Intolerant?, Catherine Savini argues, “The work of promoting mental health shouldn’t always be outsourced to the counseling center; it must be part of the fabric of our institutions, including our classrooms.” 

Few professors are trained in mental health assessment, let alone techniques for promoting mental health in the classroom. So how do we help students who are struggling with their mental health? According to the Strategic Primer on College Student Mental Health (the result of a collaboration among Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the American Council on Education, and the American Psychological Association), it all begins with the recognition that “mental and behavioral health problems are learning problems.” 

Questions to consider:

 -Are your students open with you about their mental health struggles? And how (un)comfortable are you with these disclosures? 

 -To what extent do you believe that mental health promotion must take place in our classrooms?

 -What do you know about the resources that are available on campus for our students? What do you wish you knew more about?

 -How do you go about upholding standards of rigor in your classroom while simultaneously validating the mental health needs of a sub-set of your students?

-What are some ways of teaching and creating assignments so that students who are struggling still have a chance to succeed?

Although an RSVP is not required, a rough ​headcount is always appreciated. If you plan to attend, please RSVP below. Please feel free to bring your own lunch. Coffee, tea, and cookies will be provided.

Registration for this event is now closed.