The Tufts Intersections Project aimed to pilot an initiative to develop an intentional structure for students to have these interactions; to engage in dialogue that would be constructive so that they would provide a positive  “powerful influence” that would contribute to students’ well-being. 

The overarching purpose of this project was to support the psychosocial well-being of students at Tidewater Community College through promotion of Social and Cultural Understanding, a core general education learning outcome. The initiative sought to impact student learning across the college through supporting a learning environment that provides students with knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be aware, understand, appreciate and respond to the interconnectedness of the social and cultural dimensions.

A two-tiered approach to this purpose included faculty development, as well as engaged learning for students. Analysis of survey results indicates attainment of specific project outcomes, including engagement of faculty and students beyond the classroom, and students increased their awareness and psycho-social well-being through Social and Cultural Understanding knowledge and skills. Intended outcomes not fully realized were increased faculty confidence in infusing content related to Social and Cultural Understanding into their teaching, and development of assignments that align with the college’s Social and Cultural Understanding rubric, adapted from AAC&U. Through collaborative college –wide efforts, steady progress toward attainment of the outcomes continues and strategies are on-going.

According to the Cultural & Social Understanding Value Rubric adapted from AAC&U, student self-awareness of ethical systems and social institutions is characterized as “knowledge”. In this project, the social institution identified was that of the healthcare system. The adapted rubric also characterizes the students’ ability to “demonstrate understanding and awareness of social, economic, geo-political and cultural systems” as skills to be attained. This project introduced students to an experiential learning scenario using simulated patients with specific socio-cultural needs within the healthcare system. Debriefing sessions at key points during and after the experience fostered students’ awareness of their own cultural beliefs and value systems related to healthcare practices and preferences. This insight created the context for promoting students’ ability to assess and respond to the unique needs of the simulated patients for which they were caring. As defined by the adapted rubric, the participants’ self- awareness, and demonstrated understanding reflected enhanced knowledge and skills. The Virginia Community College System defines social and cultural competence as “…an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the interconnectedness of the social and cultural dimensions within and across local, regional, state, national and global communities.” The project team linked the qualities of awareness, understanding and appreciation to specific characteristics of psychosocial well-being, identified by AAC &U, specifically “personal growth, social development, empathy, perspective taking, and mindfulness.”

Primary Investigators: Laura Soulsby, Associate Director of Intercultural Learning: Lsoulsby@tcc.edu

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Our project set about to Dig Deepin three ways:
a) Create and establish a social capital network of cross divisional and interdisciplinary departments, programs and services (including students, staff and faculty) to promote and inform the campus of the purpose and long-term sustainability of the project;
b) Embrace a shared lexicon and messaging around well-being and flourishing campus-wide;
c) Create experiences and activities for students, beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, to provide them with a tangible understanding of how to thrive at Evergreen and promote models of individual and community practice of well-being.

  • “Establishing Roots: Building up Reserves”:Specific Orientation messaging about climate, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Vitamin D and maintaining well-being particularly during the dark fall and winter months;
  • “Playing atthe Top of Your Game: Work, Purpose, Challenge and Grit”:Showcase of good student academic and co-curricular work; and
  • “Give it Back and Pay it Forward”: Collective day of service.

Primary Investigators: Elizabeth McHugh, mchughe@evergreen.edu, and Nancy Murray, murrayn@evergreen.edu

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While Syracuse University promotes students’ engaged learning in innovative ways, more work is needed to capture the fullness and complexity of student engagement in and outside of the classroom. Through this project - From Self to Civic: Promoting Student Well Being through Communities of Engaged Learning - we developed and implemented a multi-method approach to study the impact of engaged learning on well being for college students on our campus. Some of the questions addressed include: How has engaged scholarship been integrated in academic courses? What are some key examples and how can we better understand the implications of such learning including through the narratives of students? How does or might Syracuse University promote student well being through communities of
engaged learning?

With support from Bringing Theory to Practice, we measured facets of socio-emotional well being for students enrolled in three courses that illustrate SU’s commitment to educating the whole student and that draw students from across disciplines. The courses include: Intergroup Dialogue (SOC/WGS/CFE 230); Personal and Social Responsibility (SPM 101); and Cognitive Behavioral Approaches to Stress Reduction (HTW 405/605). Faculty who lead these courses share a commitment to
experiential learning that addresses self-inquiry and critical thinking, empathy and perspective-taking, personal and social identities, agency and civic engagement. The three courses served as the basis for the development of survey instruments and interview protocols to better understand the impact of engaged learning on college student well being

Primary Investigators: Gretchen E. Lopez, Intergroup Dialogue Program, Cultural Foundations of Education, School of Education, gelopez@syr.edu

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The UCLA Stress and Resilience Assessment (SARA) Project aims were to:

1)    Develop a novel, brief self-assessment tool called the UCLA Stress and Resilience Assessment (SARA) that enables individuals to assess their own recent life stress, and current resources and capacities that promote or sustain psychological resilience. 

We completed this development, and used a programmer to design it into an engaging survey instrument that took about 20 minutes to complete. The survey evaluated stress and resilience-promoting factors, along with awareness of current resources (see Appendix). Results show strong early psychometrics for the instruments in the survey.  In addition we added a series of 8 brief weekly email reminders, or “nudges,” that were sent to those in the study and which provided suggestions about different activities that would help promote resilience, and linked these explicitly to campus resources.

2)    Implement SARA in pilot testing of UCLA undergraduate and graduate students, to assess the basic psychometric properties of the new instrument, to collect preliminary data on the concurrent and predictive validity of the assessment tool, and to explore the possible effects of increasing awareness about stress and resilience on participation in resilience-promoting activities and on well-being (increased positive and decreased negative affect, increased satisfaction with life). 

We delivered the instrument via email to 4,000 students (2,000 graduate, 2,000 undergraduate) who were randomly selected from the registrar’s database, as planned. We then randomly assigned those who consented to SARA+ and SARA- conditions, to see if there might be an effect of the stress and resilience assessment itself. The program automatically randomized 1,249 individuals who consented to the active SARA+ condition (n = 651) or a control group, the SARA- condition (n = 598).  A total of 880 students completed baseline assessments at Time 1 (T1) (SARA+ [n = 464]; SARA- [n = 416]), and 440 completed follow-up assessment at Time 2 (T2) (SARA+ [n = 232]; SARA- [n = 208]).  We found the psychometric properties of our stress and resilience assessments to be good (Resilience Index, alpha = .88), perceived stress alpha = .82, .83 at T1 and T2 respectively, and the chronic stressful life event index alpha = .75.  We also found robust concurrent validity of our resilience and stress measures, which showed positive and negative correlations, respectively, with increased satisfaction with life; lower depression and anxiety; higher positive and lower negative affect; and better general health (r’s range .2 to .74; all ps<.001).  We found a major pre- to post-study difference reflecting increases in resource awareness and utilization, which we believe is primarily due to exposing students to information they were not previously aware of, and to weekly reminders about the availability of these resources.

Primary Investigators: Robert M. Bilder, Ph.D., Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviorrbilder@mednet.ucla.edu

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Under this grant project, the University of La Verne planned the implementation of a Sophomore Seminar experience as part of its La Verne Experience initiative. This was to be a course offered in a seminar style format with a small student cohort that extends the curricular experience into the co-curricular.  The course was to be facilitated by a full-time faculty member who was assisted by a peer student drawn from the Junior or Senior class. The ideal was to scaffold onto the Freshman La Verne Experience by expanding the student experience beyond the classroom and integrating opportunities for personal and social responsibility with relationship building between students, peer, faculty, and the community at large. Ultimately it was expected that the seminar would build on the values of the university while encouraging an appreciation for the co-curricular. It was also expected to provide a safe space for students to identify and develop their strengths and creativity, while they learned how to practice the art of leveraging their unique talents; in short the seminar was expected to offer a transformative experience directed toward a budding wholeness. 

Primary Investigators: Kat Weaver, Director of La Verne Experiencekweaver@laverne.edu, and Felicia Beardsley, Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, fbeardsley@laverne.edu. 

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ngaged learning–the bridging of rigorous classroom instruction and relevant community-centered experiences–is recognized nationally as a high impact practice in undergraduate education. The University of Michigan’s Engaged Pedagogy Initiative (EPI) is a joint project of Arts of Citizenship Program (artsofcitizenship.umich.edu), a program of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and the Center for Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL: www.lsa.umich.edu/ceal), a program of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. The EPI supports the University of Michigan’s commitment to engaged and community-based learning by providing training in the design and implementation of community-based learning courses for graduate students interested in incorporating engaged pedagogy into their career goals and professional skills. Arts of Citizenship’s participation in the EPI emerges from its dual commitment to the professional development of graduate students and to building sustainable communitycampus partnerships. Its programming helps graduate students develop skill sets valued in the academic job market, in the non ‐tenure ‐track “alt‐academic” sector, and in the non ‐ profit, policy and government sectors. Through Arts of Citizenship, graduate students have expressed the need for enhanced teacher training and professional development programming focused on community ‐centered pedagogy. The Center for Engaged Academic Learning’s mission to support, enhance, and generate new engaged learning opportunities for undergraduate students is similarly grounded on the principle of reciprocity and mutual benefit for students and partnering communities

Primary Investigators: Matthew J. Countryman, Faculty Director, Arts of Citizenship Program, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, mcountry@umich.edu

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Allies for Diversity: Creating Conditions for Student Well-Being is a dialogue based project nested in a larger, comprehensive university effort to make the campus more welcoming and a place where all students have the opportunity to flourish. Although we recognize the need for all members of the UNL community to share responsibility to address the complex issue surrounding race and ethnicity, this project focuses on helping faculty and staff develop their skills to facilitate difficult discussions around race, diversity and inclusion. The project, entitled “Dine, Dialogue and Pass It On,” was informed by a series of lectures by Dr. Shelly Tochluk, author of Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It. “Pass It On” is an interactive conversation using customized playing cards featuring questions that prompt healthy and challenging discussions. Ultimately the goal of “Pass it On” is to develop and/or practice skills that can be passed along to increase the inclusivity of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus community and reduce the student self-identified barriers to intervening when observing a problematic situation.

Primary Investigators: Linda Major, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Lmajor1@unl.edu

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Wagner College, as a participant in the Bringing Theory to Practice Psychosocial Well-Being Initiative, conducted research into questions of student well-being, students’ use of time and technology, and student reports of their parents’ behavior. Data collection primarily was by student surveys. The data show that most students are receiving input from parents that is supportive of the student’s autonomy, encouraging them to take independent action with respect to important decisions. Parental behavior that encouraged students to do things for themselves predicts higher levels of student well-being.

Primary Investigators: Lily McNair, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, lily.mcnair@wagner.edu

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Our project examined the impact of a Living-Learning Community on first-year students’ well-being and college adjustment throughout their first year of college. The project had both a quantitative and qualitative component. For the quantitative component, we compared first-year students who participated in the Living-Learning Community (LLC) with first-year students who did not participate in the LLC (non-LLC) but who were enrolled in the required first-year Writing Seminar course (INTD105) in Fall 201 4. All LLC students completed INTD105 during their first-year (either in Fall 2014 or Spring 2015). The incoming first-year students selected for the project completed surveys at three different times, at the beginning of their first year (Time 1: August 2014), after the first semester (Time 2: January 2015) and at the end of the academic year (Time 3: May 2015). The surveys contained the following measures: demographic information, two measures of psychological well-being, a measure of college adjustment, and measures assessing factors that have been found to predict students' well-being, college adjustment, and success in past research. LLC students also completed a survey assessing their perceptions of and satisfaction with the LLC. For the qualitative component, the main goal was to determine if and how living in the LLC improves students’ first year experience, focusing on both their academic and social well-being. Two focus groups were conducted in November 2014 on students who were in the LLC for the 2013-2014 academic year, and three focus groups were conducted in Spring 2015 on students who were in the LLC during the 2014-2015 academic year. Results from this project were presented to the campus community and have been used to modify the LLC (now called Tesla House). In addition, the project has provided valuable information regarding the role that baseline psychological measures play in students’ adjustment across their first year of college. Lastly, this project has been used to implement changes in other initiatives on campus.

Primary Investigators: Monica E. Schneider, Associate Professor of Psychology: schneid@geneseo.edu

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