University Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-being

To: The RIT community

From: David Munson, President
Ellen Granberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Sandra Johnson, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Subject: University Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-being

As members of the RIT community, we share an obligation to create an environment that maximizes the full potential of our students. This includes not only providing an environment that facilitates intellectual growth and development, but also one that promotes mental health and well-being. Research shows that this requires supportive people, programs, and services.

RIT and the greater Rochester community already have many outstanding health and well-being resources. However, the university will be well-served by thinking strategically and planning accordingly in a holistic manner. To assist in this process, we are establishing a University Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-being. The task force will be charged with conducting an overarching review of programs, services, and educational efforts as they pertain to prevention and early intervention strategies to assist students.

The task force will consist of students, faculty and staff, and will be co-chaired by Dr. Jodi Boita, Executive Director of Assessment, Technology and Communications in the Division of Student Affairs, and Dr. Andrew Herbert, Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts. Full membership of the task force will be announced to the university community before the end of the fall semester. It is expected that the task force may need to form a number of smaller, more nimble working groups that would include additional members of the University community as well as outside consultants with key expertise in the field of college student mental health and well-being. Our objective is to tap into the considerable expertise available both internally and externally to ensure that a diverse set of voices are brought into the discussions. This will help inform recommendations developed by the task force.

The Charge

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of existing campus programs, services, and education efforts in mental health and well-being;
  • Prepare short- and long-term recommendations to enhance our holistic and inclusive approach to mental health and well-being.

Plan of Action

  • Work with RIT’s Institutional Research and Policy Studies, as well as other campus offices to capture existing information on student mental health and well-being
  • Review research on best practices at other universities
  • Facilitate town hall meetings for various constituent groups such as, undergraduate students, graduate students, representative student organizations (RSO’s), and the student community at large
  • Conduct listening sessions with: Student Government, Academic Senate, Staff Council, CaPS staff, Student Health Center staff, Wellness programs and services staff, Residence Life staff, Public Safety, academic advisors and dean’s offices in all RIT colleges
  • Consult with industry experts to benchmark programs, services, and educational efforts
  • Submit an interim report by April 1, 2019 and a final report by May 20, 2019.

We wish to re-emphasize that RIT is committed to creating a community that actively promotes and supports mental health well-being and fosters a culture of caring. We are taking steps to enhance resources in this area. We seek to continuously improve in this arena and we believe that creation of the task force will take us further down this path.