Quadcast: The “risk-reward” problem of college student substance use
On a new episode of the Quadcast
, MCI reporter Mollie Ames talks to Dr. Amelia Arria, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development and professor of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Dr. Arria discusses the latest trends in substance use among college students, including how their behaviors have evolved throughout the pandemic and the connection to overall wellbeing.
As students turn to substances to avoid uncomfortable situations, and then downplay potential consequences, Dr. Arria explains the challenge is changing this “risk-reward balance.” “What colleges have to offer is this challenging environment where you can really find your purpose in life and find meaningful friendships,” she says. “That’s part of the long-term reward. It’s not this immediate gratification associated with substance use.”
Mental and Behavioral Health
The Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University has released its annual report, finding that reports of trauma and social anxiety are on the rise among college students who turn to campus counseling, as The Chronicle
reports. Meanwhile, Inside Higher Ed
homes into another element of the research: “risk factors for voluntary withdrawal and how counseling can impact students’ academic completion.” You can access the full report here
From the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance (HEMHA), Animals on campus: Current issues and trends
is a guide to managing the presence of Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) on college campuses. While ESAs and therapy animals are becoming more common among students, many administrators may remain uncertain about correct procedure, particularly when it comes to differentiating between legitimate needs and fraudulent requests. The HEMHA guide aims to help these health professionals, student affairs personnel and others learn about the legal, medical and ethical implications of ESAs and make informed policy decisions.
For Higher Ed Dive, John MacPhee, CEO of The JED Foundation and former Division I basketball player, offers university athletic departments several tips to better support student athlete mental health.
In light of the national shortage of K-12 mental health counselors, Higher Ed Dive considers whether counselor training partnerships with higher ed institutions could provide solutions.
After appeals from the indigenous community on campus, Inside Higher Ed reports that mental health treatment options at Syracuse University now include healing services from a faith keeper of the Oneida Nation.
According to GBH, Worcester Polytechnic Institute unveiled its new Center for Well-Being, a space where students can relax and seek mental health resources outside of or in addition to the existing counseling services on campus.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
covers the backlash against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state education department after their decision to reject a new Advanced Placement (AP) high school course on African American studies. The news has raised alarm throughout the higher education community as leaders express their concerns about the suppression and policing of diverse perspectives in op-eds for Inside Higher Ed
and The Chronicle
. Still, Politico
reports that creators of the AP course have denied that political controversy in Florida or elsewhere will change the original plans or content for the class.
Beyond the AP course, higher education in Florida is making headlines after Governor DeSantis required all public colleges in the state to report their spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and critical-race theory programming, The Chronicle
explains. As The Wall Street Journal
covers DeSantis’ broader efforts to counter the perceived proliferation of “woke ideology” in higher education, many worry his efforts to monitor DEI spending will precede cuts to these programs. Meanwhile, DeSantis’ practices are catching on in other states, The Chronicle
says, as public colleges in Oklahoma now also have to submit their DEI spending over the last decade.
In an op-ed for The Daily Bruin, one student in recovery from an eating disorder describes contending with UCLA’s rampant “diet culture,” which she says is perpetuated by not only individual students but the university itself.
The Editorial Board of The Dartmouth suggests that instituting wellness initiatives into everyday classes could be the next meaningful step to mental health support for students.
The Yale Daily News reveals that Laurie Santos, the professor of one of Yale’s most popular lectures, “Psychology and the Good Life,” has developed a new online course centered on teen mental health.
The higher education world is trying to figure out what to do about ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence tool that can write anything from poetry to code. As professors acknowledge that students may turn to the chatbot to cheat, Inside Higher Ed
explores the ongoing debate over whether to redesign assignments to avoid A.I.-generated submissions. The Wall Street Journal
, and GBH
reveal that many educators are looking for ways to incorporate ChatGPT and A.I. generally into their courses, rather than fight it. At the University of Texas at Austin, The New York Times
finds, the study of artificial intelligence will soon receive its own Master of Science program.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, The Washington Post
notes heightened interest in emergency contraception both in general and especially among college students. At George Washington University, members of the student government rallied around the installment of a new, accessible but discreetly located vending machine to supply the “morning-after” pill.
A new report from the ombudsman for federal student aid reveals a significant increase in complaints this year and the need for “robust interventions,” Inside Higher Ed
says. While the Biden administration recently published data on how many applicants in each state stand to qualify for the president’s debt forgiveness plan, The Washington Post
reports new concerns have also popped up about how the Education Department “calculated the cost of the debt relief policy.” And according to Higher Ed Dive
, a report from the Urban Institute anticipates trouble from Biden’s proposed changes to income-driven repayment plans, suggesting it would actually lower the number of borrowers able to fully repay their loans.
Moving forward, Higher Ed Dive
highlights how the Education Department may be urging states to make community college tuition free across the country. The Chronicle
also considers how the potential acquisition of the University of Phoenix may indicate an end to the for-profit higher ed market, which an op-ed in Higher Ed Dive
suggests is often predatory.
The Chronicle explores the lasting influence of Covid on college campuses, particularly due to instances of long Covid. According to research from George Washington University, of the over 1,300 cases of Covid contracted by students, faculty, and staff between July 2021 and March 2022, 36% appear to have experienced symptoms of long Covid.
Inside Higher Ed reviews a new study from Oregon State University, finding that colleges are increasingly doing away with physical education. Although physical activity among young people is in decline, the share of colleges requiring P.E. has dropped from 97% a century ago to 32% now.