With the second edition release of the Health and Wellbeing in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success was released this past September one of its calls to action centered on research frameworks. This call asked the signatory organizations to support resource and expertise sharing in the hopes of creating “a data framework from which to develop evidence-based activities to improve health and well-being of the entire campus community.”

As a first step in this work, NIRSA, NASPA, and ACHA invited seventeen thought leaders to participate in a research summit on wellbeing on December 11 at NASPA’s Washington DC headquarters. This effort was modeled upon the successful 2017 thought leadership forum in Miami, which was foundational in the creation of  Health and Wellbeing in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success.

The goal was to begin to form a baseline assessment of what wellbeing information and data was already available researchers, practitioners, and administrators; what information was still needed; and how campuses might best approach measuring integrated efforts and upstream approaches. The discussion also asked participants for their input on prioritizing next steps – what is most helpful for the associations to focus on in the immediate future and which audiences might this need to be aimed at?

Eventually, from the framework developed, evidence-based activities to improve health and wellbeing of entire campus communities will be developed. However, the one-day summit was only the first step in the drafting process. In the coming weeks, association staff will work to take the information participants put forth and outline the many points brought up, as well as some indication of their priority order. This will be sent back out to the group for further input and refinement.

We want you to contribute

Our intention is to share that next draft at the NIRSA Annual Conference (February 16-19), the NASPA Annual Conference (March 9-13), and the ACHA Annual Meeting (May 28-June 1). We would like to tell you more about what we learned from those involved and gather your input and ideas to empower the next draft of this framework.

At the 2019 NIRSA Annual Conference this session, “Health and Wellbeing in Higher Education – Moving the commitment forward together,” will be held on Monday, February 18, from 10:30 AM-11:30 AM in room 206.

Thank you to all who participated

In addition to staff from ACHA, NAPSA, and NIRSA, the research summit participants included:

  • Stacy Andes, Director of Well-being Assessment/ Director of Well-being, Villanova University
  • Christy Baker-Smith, Director of Research, The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice
  • Hollie Chessman, Research Fellow, American Council on Education (ACE)
  • Dianna Clauss, Director of Recreation Programs, Rider University, NIRSA Foundation research grant recipient
  • Stacy Connell, Senior Director of Health Initiatives, Georgia Tech
  • Mick Deluca, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Campus Life, UCLA
  • Nick Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Director of the Doctoral Program at CUNY’s School of Public Health, CUNY
  • Stephanie Hanenberg, Executive Director, Health & Wellness, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs and current ACHA President
  • Ben Locke, Executive Director, Center for Collegiate Mental Health, Penn State University, Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) Board member
  • Kevin Marbury, Vice President of Student Life, University of Oregon
  • Todd Misener, Chief Wellness Officer, Oklahoma State University
  • Laura Morris, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina – Wilmington, NIRSA Foundation research grant recipient
  • Marguerite O’Brien, Director of Wellness, University South Carolina
  • Malika Roman-Isler, Director of Wellbeing, Wake Forest Wellbeing Collaborative*
  • Alisa Stanton, Associate Director, Health Promotion, Simon Fraser University
  • Helen Stubbs, Senior Consultant, Gallup
  • Chris Wise, Assistant Vice President, Virginia Tech*

*Unfortunately, severe snowstorms and inclement weather prevented participant from attending in person

  • For more information, contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships, Erin O’Sullivan.
Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at |

Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA.