Updates from OVC HQ
All Hands Meeting
Save the date! Our first All Hands Meeting for the academic year will be held on September 17, 2018, at 3:15 pm in 10-250. Each meeting this year will include short updates from the vice chancellor, refreshments, and socializing. In addition, we will use some of these sessions for topic-based discussions led by MIT experts. Our first meeting features Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo, who will highlight recent and ongoing legal issues impacting MIT and higher education more broadly.
Wellness Team Launches
A new cross-functional OVC Wellness Team is being formed to strategize about how to take a holistic approach to developing and sustaining a healthier workplace environment for all OVC staff. Co-chairs Aleshia Carlsen-Bryan of Career Advising and Professional Development (formerly GECD), Michael Rutter of OVC HQ, and Jodi Swain of the Admissions Office will lead the team to identify, recommend, and implement solutions and programs to meet staff needs. They plan to take a holistic approach, considering issues from the point of view of staff, supervisors, and customers. Stay tuned for more details.
As we advance OVC’s mission and priorities, we are also looking for ways to ensure that we are providing top-notch academic and personal support to our students, specifically when it comes to well-being and mental health. Particularly for those of us who work with students, it is crucial that we feel equipped to recognize those at risk and know how and when to refer them to appropriate resources.
Here are some sobering statistics: According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 39% of college students in the US have reported experiencing a serious mental health issue. MIT students are not immune to these challenges. The Institute has data that utilization of Student Support Services and MIT Medical’s Mental Health & Counseling has risen steadily in the past 5-7 years.
In light of this data, the OVC Leadership Team is encouraging all staff to complete a 45-minute online training module by Kognito, a health simulation company, by October 1, 2018. The training, entitled “At-Risk for University and College Faculty,” is available in the Learning Center via Atlas. While the target audience is faculty, the training is also suitable for staff. It is designed to help build confidence, knowledge, and skills to best support students exhibiting signs of psychological distress. The program saves your progress as you work through the module, and there is a pre-and a post-survey to complete along with the training
Staff who have direct interaction with students will be required to complete the training. OVC office heads will handle communication within their offices regarding staff who are encouraged vs. required to take the training.
For those who complete the training, we will offer a follow-up discussion session facilitated by staff from OGE, DSL and MIT Medical for any OVC staff. More details about the session will be announced soon.
—Mary Markel Murphy, OVC HQ