Student Affairs: Supporting Students through Transformational Relationships—Facts, Initiatives, and Results

Posted on 4/5/21 2:33 PM

Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Segar is joined by Malaika Turner, assistant vice president for Student Affairs; Ann Sesti, director for Student Wellness and Engagement; and nursing major Mary Kate Johnston to talk about the Division of Student Affairs and its offices and services.

Student Affairs: Prioritizing People over Policies, Procedures, Processes, and Protocols

Student Affairs believes in prioritizing people over policies, procedures, processes, and protocols and strives to support IUP as a student-centered institution.

Some best practices for the IUP community to consider in supporting students, recommended by Vice President Segar, include the following:

  • Ask yourself, “What do students need?” The key in answering this question is to listen to their experiences.
  • Approach interactions with students with warmth, care, and support. This means having fewer transactional interactions and more transformational relationships. So, for example, instead of telling a student about an event, consider taking the time to attend the event with the student. It goes a long way.
  • Engaging with students is everyone’s job.

Programming to Enrich the Student Experience

  • Efforts are focused on a variety of programs centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion:
    • Weekly Meetup
    • Lunch and Learn
    • Breaking the Barrier
    • Building Bridges
    • Speaker Series on Social Inequities for Student-Athletes
  • The Guides program is managed by the division’s Student Support and Engagement Committee and supported by employee volunteers from across the university.

Center for Health and Well-Being

  • The center offers programs and services in person and virtually, as well as personalized presentations and workshops.
    • Health Service—telehealth and in-person appointments, including COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students
    • Counseling Center—free, confidential individual therapy and group counseling via Zoom
    • The Haven Project—information and services that address sexual violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking
    • IUP Green Dot program—training for people who want to assist those hurt by power-based personal violence
  • Student Wellness and Engagement and Health and Wellness Promotion offices offer the following:
    • Educational opportunities
    • Sessions with the therapy dogs—as a group and in individual settings with Ranger

From a Student’s Perspective

Mary Kate Johnston shared the following about her student experience:

  • She lives in Suites on Maple East and works with the Center for Health and Well-Being.
  • The therapy dogs have helped keep her and her friends engaged. They actively participated in the Pup Bucks program.
  • She was engaged through Zoom programming during spring 2020 and is now engaged with in-person and virtual events.
  • She is completing the Green Bandana Project training and is applying to become a peer educator.