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Supporting Student Mental Health Series

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States, and since then, the University of Rochester faculty and staff have been incredibly resilient and supportive. They have adapted to online pedagogies and have been key supports for U of R students as they navigate not only their academics but also their mental health during these unprecedented times.

Given the variety of stressors that students have faced in the past year, this workshop series will help equip faculty and staff with simple, action-oriented strategies that they can use to support student mental wellness this upcoming year. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a productive dialogue on a variety of topics related to mental health and walk away with additional tools in their toolbox to meet the needs of students and navigate any challenges that may arise with ease.

Please register at the bottom of this page so that we are able to anticipate attendance.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 964 1046 5892
Password: MINDFUL21

Brought to you by the Mindful University Project in collaboration with the following partners: University Counseling Center, UHS Health Promotion Office, Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center, CARE Network, Warner School of Education, RIT Counseling and Psychological Services and M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. 

Wednesday June 9th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Supporting Students’ Mental Health during COVID
Michael Siembor, PhD
Staff Psychologist at the University Counseling Center
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced all our lives. This workshop aims to foster a conversation about the reality of how challenging this year has been as well as discuss strategies and approaches to providing support and resources to struggling students.
Thursday June 10th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Practicing Cultural Humility while Experiencing Compassion Fatigue
Jessica Guzman-Rea, Ed.D, LMSW
Director of the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center
The need for practitioners to move beyond the concept of cultural competence and to be able to practice cultural humility – ability to not view oneself as an expert in other people’s cultures, but as life-long learners – is an ever-growing concept. During the global pandemic there has been a need to practice cultural humility while responding to students in crisis and possibly experiencing compassion fatigue as a result. Compassion fatigue can be an emotional and physical exhaustion that could lead to a diminished ability to empathize for others after being exposed secondarily to trauma or traumatic incidents. This workshop will expose participants to the concepts of cultural humility, opportunities to practice the skills, and tips on how to combat compassion fatigue while responding to students in crisis.
Wednesday, June 16th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Contemplative Classrooms: The Impact on Academic Performance and Student Flourishing
Amy McDonald, MS, CHWP
Associate Director of UHS Health Promotion Office, Certified Koru Mindfulness Teacher
Our students’ ability to be present and learn is suffering. They are entering the classroom carrying overwhelming stressors, unresolved traumas, as well as mindless distractions. How can faculty help students turn down the mental chatter, so they can better tune in? This session will explore the research around mindfulness and academic performance and review the field of contemplative pedagogy. In addition, a series of brief mindfulness interventions will be presented, allowing participants to leave with a practical toolkit to create a contemplative classroom.
Thursday, June 17th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
College Student Mental Health: Prevention and Early Intervention Strategies for Faculty
David Reetz, PhD
Director of the Rochester Institute of Technology Counseling and Psychological Services
As a faculty member, you are well positioned to identify changes in student well-being and mental health. Nonetheless, you may feel unprepared to navigate or act in such situations. During this workshop you will learn important emerging trends in adolescent development, setting the stage for new understandings in college student distress and psychosocial needs. This session aims to bridge the gap between the needs late adolescents are bringing to college life and expected academic demands, guiding insights to teaching faculty and student support staff. This session will identify the faculty dilemma regarding student distress and provide practical tools to better understand how to establish a help-seeking culture, an accepting climate for students with mental health concerns, and effectively guide students to resources before their academic performance has been negatively impacted. We will discuss scenarios and concrete examples that will enable you to engage students in an effective way about the state of their mental health and their current needs.
Friday, June 18th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Self-Communication and Grief Practices as an Act of Love and Social Change
Gwen Olton, MA, BSN, RN
Director of Training and Education at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
When people say the word “communication”, what usually springs to mind is the way we talk and listen to others. However, there’s another kind of communication, our self-talk, that has a huge impact on how we show up for the world, our communities, and ourselves. Join Bianca in exploring strategies for noticing and transforming our self-communication patterns and how establishing a grief practice can support navigating challenges.
Thursday June 24th
1:00 – 2:00 pm
Recognizing and Supporting Students in Distress
Kaitlin Legg, M. Ed / Associate Director of the CARE Network
Issha Travers, LMHC / Assistant Director of the CARE Network
Faculty and staff are in a unique position to intervene early when a college student is in distress or struggling with a mental health concern. However, many higher education professionals report that they do not feel equipped with the knowledge or skills to confidently identify and support a student who is distressed (Healthy Minds Network, 2021). Through real-life case studies and discussion with the UR CARE Network, participants will learn how to confidently recognize and support a student in distress. Participants will gain awareness and knowledge to identify common warning signs, evaluate the severity of a concern, and utilize conversational intervention skills. Participants will also obtain resources for ensuring a student gets connected to the support they deserve.
Friday, June 25th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Educator Self-Care and Self-Compassion
Rebecca Block, MS, CHES, RYT 200
Health Educator at the UHS Health Promotion Office
This unique workshop is designed to provide educators the opportunity to reflect on the various stressors in their teaching practice as well as their own self-care practices. In this session, participants will learn the research supporting self-care and self-compassion, and will walk away with easy ways to incorporate these practices into ones daily life. Lastly, participants will be guided through a self-compassion practice to help reduce self-criticism and combat compassion fatigue to aid in showing up more effectively with students.
Wednesday, June 30th
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: Considerations for Postsecondary Educators
Tricia Shalka, PhD
Assistant Professor at the Warner School of Education and Human Development
In this session we will spend some time exploring what trauma is and how it might show up for students in postsecondary academic settings. We will review considerations for educators both in terms of how-to best support students as well as ourselves.
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