CU Boulder leadership on Thursday announced that Health and Wellness Services will be shifting from the Division of Student Affairs to Strategic Resources and Support as the university elevates its focus on, and takes a more holistic approach to, mental health and wellness support for students, faculty and staff. As part of the transition, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) will move from the Department of Human Resources to Health and Wellness Services.
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor Jessica Doty will continue to lead Health and Wellness Services and will now report directly to Chief Operations Officer Patrick O’Rourke. Recreation Services, currently a unit within Health and Wellness Services, will remain in Student Affairs to ensure that all departments funded by the CUSG Student Activity Fee remain centrally located within the division.
The restructuring, campus leaders said, ensures a university-first approach that aligns resources and decision-making to create a network of care that serves the entire campus community.
“Sustaining and supporting our community is one of CU Boulder’s top priorities, and our goal is to create a campus environment where mental health and wellness are embedded in everything we do, including organizationally, academically and culturally,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said.
The changes are expected to be additive, and the university has no plans to reduce staffing. Over time, the elevation of Health and Wellness Services in the campus organizational structure could create new opportunities that enable the university to expand campus research partnerships around health and wellness, inform academic course development and deepen CU Boulder’s relationship with the CU Anschutz Medical Campus through new and innovative programming.
“The pandemic has underscored our need to support the wellness of our entire community, including employees, as well as for health and wellness leadership to have an increased presence in the decision-making spaces on our campus,” Provost Russell Moore and Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke wrote in a letter to impacted units. “We also know that, even before the pandemic, concerns about mental health were widespread and utilization of mental health services were on the rise. We need to consider new models to optimize support and care for our students and employees.”
For students, a holistic approach to health and wellness will help the university expand partnerships and enhance services that provide resources and assistance.
The move will also build toward a more cohesive suite of services for employees. While the university does offer employee resources, they are currently spread across multiple units on campus, including Human Resources and Student Affairs. Health and Wellness Services has been providing services to faculty and staff for the past two years, and anticipates continuing to do so moving forward. The new structure is expected to enable the expansion of the current faculty/staff clinical program in FSAP and the Office of Victim Assistance to include more non-clinical education, prevention and brief interventions. Counseling services for faculty and staff will be kept separate from those for students in recognition that the two populations have different needs and that the counselors need to employ their skills to serve those specific populations.
Student fees and funds will not be used to subsidize faculty and staff care. Health and Wellness Services currently funds services for employees through grants, and the university is working on a long-term funding model to support these offerings.
“A campus-wide approach promotes health and strengthens the wellness culture,” Doty said. “This new structure will allow for a collective impact that will reduce barriers and expand access to improve the overall well-being of students, staff and faculty.”