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Advancing and Supporting Campus Mental Health and Well-Being

During the 2022-23 academic year, the Institutional Task Force on Student, Faculty, and Staff Mental Health and Well-being (MHTF) conducted a review and assessment of Miami's approach, resources, and culture in order to improve the way that we support student and employee mental health and well-being. They identified strengths such as a broad range of resources and services but noted areas for improvement, including better communication, equitable resource allocation, and addressing cultural challenges. The task force proposed 56 recommendations in four categories: systems, communication, education, and culture to create a holistic wellness environment at Miami University.


During the 2022/2023 academic year, the Institutional Task Force on Student, Faculty, and Staff Mental Health and Well-being (MHTF) was charged to assess Miami’s current services and culture around mental health and emotional well-being and to make recommendations for improvement.

Based on the work of three workgroups (students, faculty/staff, and community), campus listening sessions, literature on mental health and well-being, local and national survey data, and a review of best practices, we have crafted recommendations in four major areas: systems, communication, education, and culture. This work is an important first step in a comprehensive, multi-campus effort to advance mental health and emotional well-being at Miami.


As we reviewed the current state of mental health and well-being at Miami, we identified areas of strength that we can build on. Miami offers a broad range of resources and services, particularly for students, extending well beyond counseling services to meet a wide range of needs related to emotional well-being. Training, education, and programming related to mental health and well-being are abundant. We have a robust system in place to identify students of concern, and a case management approach to follow up with those students. And we have a culture at Miami that is relational, open, and aware, which offers a good base to grow upon.

Areas for Improvement

As we looked toward recommendations, there were areas for improvement that we identified: 

  • Although students, faculty, and staff have access to a wide variety of resources, many people are unaware of them, or have misconceptions or disagreements about what they can or should offer. That misalignment of expectations and our practices can lead to issues of trust. 
  • Our communication efforts around mental health and well-being should be more intentional, proactive, timely, and accessible. 
  • Staff are working at capacity and financial resources are limited so we need to use the resources available strategically, ensuring that services are equitable, culturally-appropriate, and accessible to all members of our community. 

In addition, we also identified challenges in our culture that impact well-being and our campus as a whole. Among those cultural challenges, three were noted most often: 

  • Not all populations on campus feel an equal sense of safety, belonging, or acceptance on campus or in the community, and, for some groups, there is still a sense of stigma related to seeking help for mental health. 
  • Many people noted feelings of intense pressure for achievement in our culture, while the reasons for and degree of that pressure vary depending on one’s roles and identities. 
  • Many in our community are feeling low morale and burnout as we adapt to rapidly changing and increasingly complex student needs. 


As we turn to the future, we hope to inspire a campus environment where holistic wellness is experienced at all levels, both for the individual and overall community, measured both objectively and subjectively. To help achieve this vision, we offer 56 recommendations in four categories. Read the full report.


Starting with the creation of a standing committee on mental health and well-being, we recommend foundational systems, organizations, and policies that will keep the mental health and well-being of our community a visible priority over time. This category also includes specific actions by offices at Miami to support an individual’s mental health and well-being.


These recommendations are focused on enhancing Miami’s communication efforts pertaining to mental health and emotional well-being to ensure accurate information is readily and easily available.


We offer recommendations related to both programming and training for students, faculty and staff. This includes programming to benefit faculty and staff themselves, as well as training that would benefit the students they work with.


Although culture can be the most difficult and slowest area to impact, it is essential to strive for cultural change to positively impact the mental health and emotional well-being of our campus. Culture change requires the buy-in and commitment from the individuals who make up our Miami community. It is also the area with the fewest measurable, actionable recommendations, but instead primarily poses topics for discussion and exploration over time.

During the course of this year, we were energized by the amount of interest and passion we encountered in exploring this topic. This work was informed by many voices in our Miami community– Oxford and Regionals, all categories of faculty and staff across every division, individuals with varied identities, students representing many different academic majors and subcultures, parents, alumni, and community partners– as well as by national best practices and conversations with experts currently in the field. We recognize the many people at Miami who have prioritized these topics for many years, and we are excited to move to a new phase of work around mental health and emotional well-being that is comprehensive, coordinated, and inclusive.

Task Force Members

The task force is co-chaired by Jayne Brownell, Vice President for Student Life and Brooke A. Flinders, Regional Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Community Workgroup

  • Dee Kinney, Education and Society, CLAAS (Workgroup co-chair)
  • Steve Large, AVP for Health and Wellness/ Student Life (Workgroup co-chair)
  • Andrew Branson, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Kevin Carr, Rinella Learning Center
  • Alyssa Ciango, Student Engagement, Activities, and Leadership (SEAL)
  • Jen Green, Psychology, CAS
  • Wesley Highley, Community Standards
  • Jeff Hunger, Psychology, CAS
  • Cecilie McGhehey, Student Wellness
  • Emerson McSparran, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Sarah Meaney, Residence Life
  • Caryn Neumann, Interdisciplinary and Communication Studies, CLAAS
  • Lori Parks, Regionals Academic Advising
  • Hallie Powell, Undergraduate student, Regionals
  • D'Ellis Rates, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion
  • Matthew Schroeder, Miami alumnus
  • Mark Shores, Regionals Libraries
  • Dan Sinetar, International Student and Scholars Services
  • Alexa Spoerle, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Danielle Stein, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Tailyn Walborn, Pre-Health Professional Advising/ Biology

Faculty and Staff Workgroup

  • Sharon Custer, Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs/ Psychology (Workgroup co-chair)
  • Cricket Meehan, Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs/ Psychology (Workgroup co-chair)
  • Judy Adams, Education and Society staff, Regionals
  • Mike Arnos, Recreation Center
  • Oliver Baden-Davis, Regionals Enrollment and Admission
  • Jess Bathe, FSB Dean's Office
  • Vicka Bell-Robinson, Residence Life
  • John Burke, Regionals Libraries
  • Marianne Cotugno, Languages, Literature, and Writing, CLAAS
  • Dawn Fahner, Human Resources 
  • Molly Heidemann, International Students and Scholars Services
  • Terri Messman, Psychology, CAS
  • Sam Morris, Sport Leadership and Management, EHS/ University Senate Faculty Welfare Committee 
  • Heather Morrow, Rinella Learning Center
  • Hannah Muldoon-Davis, Armstrong Student Center
  • Barb Oswald, Social and Behavioral Sciences, CLAAS/ Regionals Faculty Welfare
  • Sean Poley, Information Technology Services/ AccessMU Center
  • Darryl Rice, Management, FSB
  • Deborah Wiese, Psychology, CAS
  • Karen Wilson, Human Resources/ Benefits and Wellness
  • Laura Wonsick, Student Counseling Service
  • Rebecca Young, Student Wellness

Student Workgroup

  • Claire Ruberg, Regionals Counseling Centers (Workgroup co-chair)
  • John Ward, Student Counseling Service (Workgroup co-chair)
  • Pankhuri Aggarwal, Graduate student, Oxford
  • Kristy Brann, Educational Psychology, EHS
  • Ben Breh, Community Standards
  • Dawson Cosgrove, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Erica Crawford, Regionals E-campus
  • Rachel Fadden, Nursing, CLAAS
  • Jack Fazio, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Connor Goodpastor, FSB Advising
  • Christina Grote, Regionals New Student Programs and Engagement
  • Emma Halcomb, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Jasmine Hardy, Student Engagement, Activities, and Leadership
  • Marissa Howard, Graduate student, Oxford
  • Katelyn Howell, Student Wellness
  • Maddie Miner, Undergraduate student, Oxford
  • Erik Sorensen, Residence life
  • Scott Walter, Student Life
  • Alex Wood, Office of the Dean of Students