University’s Board of Regents will consider new data on systemwide efforts to address student mental health needs

University seal

Next week, University President Joan Gabel and the Board of Regents will examine the preliminary results of a comprehensive scan of University programs and services that aim to address the mental health needs of students systemwide. The scan is a first step initiated by Gabel to prioritize this issue during her presidency.

The scan found that individual units and colleges continue to make “significant efforts” to invest in student mental health support. However, the environmental scan suggests that some efforts could be more efficiently centralized and scaled to meet the needs of more than 50,000 students throughout the University system.

The scan also shows positive effects from faculty and staff training about student mental health and illustrates that there are many ways the University can support students outside of clinical services.

Carl Anderson, assistant vice provost, director and chief health officer at Boynton Health, will join Gabel to discuss the scan results with the Board, as well as potential next steps the University could take in response to the findings.

Gabel first outlined her priority to address mental health during her interview process last winter. Over the past several months, the Office of the Provost and the University’s Auditor conducted the environmental scan, which reflects a snapshot of University activities, resources and programs related to mental health that are available across the institution’s five campuses.

National data indicate that current and future college students are dealing with more mental health concerns than previous generations. Results from the 2018 College Student Health Survey show that every University of Minnesota campus has a growing population of students with mental health diagnoses. Between 33 and 50 percent of all students on each campus report such a diagnosis in their lifetime. Demand on the clinical and counseling services at the University has understandably grown as a result.

February’s Board discussion is expected to be the first in a series to take place this year.

The Board is also expected to:

  • Discuss progress on systemwide strategic planning with Gabel and provide input on proposed goals.
  • Review proposed naming policy amendment recommendations as part of an ongoing effort to more clearly define the University’s approach to building names.
  • Hear strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion among University faculty as part of a conversation with Michael Goh, vice president for equity and diversity.
  • Act on the 2019 University Performance and Accountability Report, a draft of which was presented for Board feedback in December 2019 by Gabel and Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson.
  • Consider a report from Huron Consulting that benchmarks University spending against higher education peers. This report continues the use of benchmarking to enhance operational effectiveness.

For more information, including future meeting times, visit regents.umn.edu

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
03/13/2020