Quadcast: To live The Good Life, invest in relationships
“The finding we didn’t expect and that at first we didn’t believe was the people who stayed the healthiest and lived the longest were the people who had the best connections with other people,” says Dr. Bob Waldinger on this week’s episode of The Quadcast. Dr. Waldinger is the 4th director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which, after 85 years, is likely the longest-running study of adult life in history. Starting in 1938, it followed two groups of men in the Boston area from opposite socio-economic backgrounds and their families to chart determinants of wellbeing and human thriving. Today, Dr. Waldinger tells MCI Executive Director Marjories Malpiede, the study’s key findings have implications for teens and college students, who are struggling with their mental health in record numbers. For people aged 16-24, the loneliest group of people in the U.S., Dr. Waldinger suggests investing in meaningful and reciprocal relationships early on can help them be happier over the course of their lives.
Mental and Behavioral Health
The Washington Post reports on the growing number of school districts across the country that are suing social media companies, accusing them of contributing to the current youth mental health crisis. Starting with Seattle Public Schools in January, institutions from New Jersey to California have now joined or plan to join the ranks taking action against some of the most prominent media sites, including Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube. The popularity of these platforms, the schools contend, correlates with the surge in mental health issues, and yet the companies continue to try to maximize the time young people spend online. Evidence regarding the impact of social media on teen mental health varies.
BBC reports that the mother of 21-year-old University of Edinburgh student Romy Ulvestad, who died by suicide after school officials failed to respond to calls for help, is petitioning the UK government “to create legal duty of care for students.”
According to Reuters, several law schools are unfurling a new text-based system, called Early Alert, to detect and offer resources to students struggling with their mental health.
Times Higher Education considers how different universities are helping students learn more about mental health and wellbeing through curricula in light of the surge in cases of and interest in these issues.
Inside Higher Ed covers a program at Queens College in New York that aims to support neurodivergent students through a virtual resource hub—online and always accessible.
Inside Higher Ed highlights “Six Essential Strategies for Creating Connection,” developed by the ProjectConnect program, to foster belonging and, as a result, student success.
Insight into Diversity explains how partnerships between campus police and clinicians may help improve the dynamic between authorities and students in possible mental health crises.
According to Diverse Education, the Whole Girl Education National Conference at Barnard College homed in on the mental health challenges of girls from minoritized backgrounds in high pressure academic environments.
The Washington Post describes how the Baker Act of 1971 continues to allow authorities to subject children, including more than 38,000 in 2020-21, to involuntary psychiatric evaluations
EdWeek reviews the recent findings from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggesting that students who average less than seven hours of sleep each night may suffer more academically and emotionally as a result.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Politico calls diversity programs “the new Red Scare for red states,” as fears about “woke indoctrination” on college campuses leads politicians to call for ends to DEI funding and opportunities. After Florida officials spurred a trend of states requiring public universities to report their spending on DEI initiatives, The Chronicle reports that North Carolina is the latest to join the ranks. In Iowa, that state’s regent board has demanded that DEI programs at three public universities be paused altogether, Higher Ed Dive adds.
The Daily Tar Heel features an interview with Avery Cook, the new director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Daily Utah Chronicle spotlights The Anger We Carry, a joint workshop organized by the University of Utah’s Latinx community and its counseling center to discuss the emotional and behavioral health of Latinx students.
The Daily Texan provides a list of mental health resources for students who may be struggling but are unsure where to turn for support on campus at the University of Texas at Austin.
The New York Times details efforts directed by Governor Ron DeSantis to extract any and all potential references or evocations of critical race theory from textbooks in Florida public schools. The governor’s plans to reverse what he refers to as the liberal indoctrination in higher education, and specifically at the New College of Florida, has garnered wide media attention. Now, GBH says, Hampshire College in Massachusetts has announced it will admit and match the tuition of all New College students “in good standing” who want to leave their institution.
Faculty members at two schools are contesting their dismissals: At Palm Beach Atlantic University, NPR explains former English professor Sam Joeckel believes he was fired for teaching racial justice concepts in class. At Cabrini University, The Philadelphia Inquirer reveals former assistant business professor Kareem Tannous was fired for his history of posting tweets which criticize Israel and many consider to be anti semitic.
An op-ed in The Chronicle from several professors urges doctoral programs to incorporate courses on pedagogy to help graduate students learn teaching skills that prepare them for life after school, instead of focusing exclusively on research.
Inside Higher Ed reviews the results of a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, showing that the number of students who completed undergraduate degrees decreased (by 1.6%) for the first time in 2022 after almost ten years.
The Chronicle explains how the decline in on-campus child care centers over the last decade has led to a partnership between the National Head Start Association and the Association of Community College Trustees to establish more facilities on site at community colleges.
After years of complaints from community members at the City College of San Francisco about cold classrooms, the Board of Trustees has allocated funding to fix maintenance concerns affecting the heating and in turn harming student learning, Inside Higher Ed finds.
The Biden Administration’s budget for 2024 proposes allocating $90 billion to make community college free across the country. Although Congress seems unlikely to approve the proposal, Inside Higher Ed suggests its proponents expect the initiative to at least keep discussions about the topic alive. According to GBH, some community colleges are already not only free but will even pay students thousands of dollars a semester to enroll in job training programs thanks to partnerships with employers.
The Education Department announced that it needs to delay the release of a new version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which allows students to determine their eligibility for college tuition grants and loans, from October to December, 2023, The Washington Post writes.
A year after a New Mexico State University (NMSU) basketball player shot and killed another student at the University of New Mexico, The Chronicle reports NMSU plans to tighten its curfew and weapons policies. To combat the ongoing gun violence affecting campuses, NPR highlights how secondary schools around the country are instituting new safety measures or even redesigning the architecture of the buildings.
Despite recent bans against TikTok on college campuses due to state-wide security concerns, Inside Higher Ed reveals that other universities have begun using the social media platform to its advantage as a “vital recruiting tool.”
According to The Lansing State Journal, Lansing Community College in Michigan canceled classes last week due to a believed “cybersecurity incident,” requesting that students and most faculty stay off campus and off the school’s systems.
The family of Grant Brace, a 20-year-old University of the Cumberlands student who died in August 2020 from heat stroke after begging for water during wrestling practice, won $14 million in its lawsuit against the Kentucky university, The New York Times says.