Campus Life and Community: A Holistic Approach to Student Success and Wellness

Published on 02 November 2022

With a mission focused on educating and advancing communities of discovery to foster a healthier society, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy is taking great strides to propel our institution to new heights and provide an exceptional experience for our students. 

Through the addition of new undergraduate programs, colleges and athletics teams, UHSP is focused on finding innovative ways to support students in their journey to become future health care leaders and innovators.

In step with the University's mission, the Office of Campus Life is committed to holistically supporting students' well-being and the pursuit of their academic, professional and personal growth and is reimagining the UHSP community’s approach to creating a positive campus experience. 

Under the leadership of Isaac Butler, Pharm.D., MBA, CDFT, vice president for campus life and chief diversity officer, the office is focusing on assessment, belonging, career readiness, student engagement and wellness to enhance the student experience in measurable and strategic ways that will transform the University community for years to come.

"If our vision as an institution is for all students to be well and equipped to help promote a healthy society, we must make their holistic well-being a priority," Butler said. "We do that by supporting students with four key pillars in their academic, professional and personal growth."

Student Success and Wellness

Through partnerships with faculty, other departments and community partners, the University’s student success and wellness services have never been more immersive and engaging. Using creative approaches, services are designed to address all areas of student development, and new programming is being tailored to address specific student needs.

The tutoring program has been expanded to reach more students at all levels of education, while also providing services that meet their schedule demands. This approach includes leveraging the accessibility of tutors who are also student athletes. For transfer students, the University is working to establish a sense of connection and community with programming that focuses on helping them adjust to a new academic environment. Efforts to expand student accessibility to create a more equitable academic experience also have been growing, from testing accommodations to providing international students with language support. 

"We aim to provide holistic academic services to our students and really meet them where they are," said Kim Hill, director of academic support and coordinator of the Health Care Summer Immersion Program. "Each student enrolled at UHSP is as unique as a fingerprint, from the resources they need to their dreams and professional aspirations. Supporting our students holistically involves intentionally designing programming to address the academic and personal needs of our students — undergraduate, graduate and professional. We are continuously identifying best practices to ensure our students are academically supported and can thrive."

The Counseling and Wellness Center 

Susan Moore, LCSW, took the helm as UHSP’s director of counseling and wellness at the end of spring, and she is already making waves in how the University approaches wellness for students, faculty and staff. Moore is passionate about helping people define their goals and needs to create and attain well-being. She also is focused on leading through service and developing wellness initiatives on campus that promote balance. 

In the month of September, the Counseling and Wellness Center provides students with educational and creative outlets to explore their wellness needs. 

"I am very passionate about mental health and how it impacts well-being," Moore shared. "I love working with UHSP students because they are so inspiring. It is an honor and delight to help guide them on their path and participate in their growth and development as they transform into their most authentic and vibrant selves. To be a part of that process is such a gift." 

Moore's vision for the Counseling and Wellness Center is for it to be a place where students can get the support they need to achieve wellness and balance, with the primary goal of the center to be a haven for students to de-stress, engage in the process of discovery and heal so they can be their best selves.

Student Engagement and Leadership

A vibrant and diverse campus community is an integral part of a positive, impactful and memorable college experience. With the recent additions of A.J. Friedhoff as director of student engagement and leadership, and Ethan Miller, coordinator of student engagement, Maryam Ouechani, assistant director of residential life, and the student engagement leadership team is excited to make the UHSP campus a vibrant and diverse community that can come together to celebrate longtime traditions, as well as create new ones. From spirit week to Holi to field day, students are encouraged to take a break from their academic responsibilities and have fun.

Efforts to expand student engagement will include work to grow and diversify student organizations and Greek life on campus.

"I really want to expand Greek life so that it is more inclusive of our undergraduates and encourage more students to get involved in the numerous organizations on campus," Miller said. "This is important because students who are involved in at least one organization have higher levels of satisfaction, retention and performance."

There also are plans to create two more student-focused spaces on the first and fourth floors of the Recreation and Student Center where students can conduct meetings and host events, with the first-floor space being lovingly referred to as "Eutopia." 

"We are focused on taking steps to be thoughtful in expanding Greek life on campus and continuing to explore and be innovative with our campus events by working with departments across campus to connect our community," Friedhoff said. "Student engagement is essential to not only the success of our students but of our institution. We want our students to have a positive experience in these formative years of their lives when they call UHSP home." 

Career Services and Employer Relations

Investing in the future careers of our students and in the professional growth of our alumni is a passion that Jordan Watson, LPC, director of the Center for Career Services and Education, pursues with a creative zeal that puts career readiness and the pursuit of meaningful careers front and center. 

Through campus and employer partnerships and virtual and in-person career fairs, individual career coaching, workshops, and so much more, Watson has transformed the center into the go-to resource on campus, where students and alumni can gain insight and guidance into what drives them through a holistic assessment of their skills and interests.

"Understanding what their needs are collectively as a student population, no matter what college they are a part of, in addition to the generations of alumni who came before them, begins with understanding their individual stories," Watson said. "What brought them to UHSP? What do they want to get out of their academic experience, and where do they want to go professionally? It's all a part of building a brand and successfully connecting them with opportunities that make them feel inspired." 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Promoting and cultivating a community that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for all is integral to creating a safe space for students, faculty, staff and alumni to be their true selves, and encouraging others to do the same in their communities.

Creating a Supportive Community

The staff within the Office of Campus Life is excited to partner with departments and offices across the University to ensure all students have what they need to succeed, while also providing them with a life-enriching experience. 

United with the campus community, the office is committed to providing students with the best student experience possible. Whether it’s volunteering on Move-In Day, serving as a faculty representative for student organizations to just simply being present and engaging with students, support from the entire campus community is the University’s path toward a vibrant, diverse and positive college experience.

"Our focus on holistic student development is critical for student success and for the success of the University," Butler said. "If we want to be successful as an institution, everyone needs to be engaged in cultivating a community of support and resources for our students and alumni. Only together can we transform our institution and community into a haven where students, alumni, faculty and staff can flourish."

This story was first published in the fall 2022 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive. 

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