As part of its effort to strengthen support for graduate education, WVU is expanding health and wellness resources for graduate and professional students.
A recent collaboration among the Provost’s Office, the Office for Graduate Education and Life and the WVU Carruth Center has led to several new wellness initiatives, including the creation of a new mental health counselor position that will focus specifically on graduate students’ issues.
“Research and the University’s own data indicate that graduate students experience high stress levels, depression and anxiety in ways that differ from the undergraduate student population,” Carruth Center Director T. Anne Hawkins said. “Thanks to the support of the Provost’s Office and OGEL, we were able to establish a new specialist position that will focus on outreach interventions and initiatives for graduate students.”
In addition to this new position, the team is coordinating a graduate student wellness task force this fall to help assess current student experiences, conduct peer benchmarking and provide recommendations for additional services and programs. The Carruth Center is also developing training, messaging and programming to support graduate student and faculty needs. Two additional counseling positions for graduate and professional students have been added over the last year at the College of Law and the Health Sciences Center.
Last spring semester, as part of its ongoing commitment to improving student success, the Provost’s Office and OGEL began targeting ways to support the University’s graduate students, including raising the minimum graduate assistant stipends. The change increased minimum graduate assistantship stipends from $13,500 to $15,000 and will be rolled out over a two-year period. An increase was also approved for partial graduate assistant minimum stipends.
“University leadership is committed to assessing the policies and resources that impact our graduate students and identifying areas where we can improve and create even more opportunities,” Interim Associate Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs Richard Thomas said. “We know that financial support is always welcome but that dedicated mental health resources are needed as well. I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far and look forward to continuing our efforts.”
Faculty and staff are encouraged to alert graduate students of these resources. Details about graduate education transformation were part of a series of Campus Conversations in spring 2022 and are available online.
Questions about graduate student resources can be directed to the Office of Graduate Education and Life at 304-293-7173 or GradEd@mail.wvu.edu. Questions about mental health resources can be directed to the Carruth Center at 304-293-4431.
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