APUS Has Committed Numerous Resources to Help Students, Staff and Faculty
Washington, DC, May 27, 2021 – American Public University System (APUS), a leading provider of online higher education with over 200 academic programs, is pleased to endorse the recent work by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and The Jed Foundation (JED) to address the issue of mental health in postsecondary students. In recent years, climate surveys and research studies have demonstrated a critical need to prioritize this issue, but little information exists about programs and services designed to address the needs of master’s and doctoral students.
The CGS/JED findings and recommendations summarized in Supporting Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-being are intended to provide a starting point for discussion and action for all campus groups with a vested interest in the quality of graduate education. Embedded in the report is a “Statement of Principles and Commitments of Graduate Deans,” which provides institutions a blueprint for action to support the academic success and well-being of all students. American Public University System is proud to be one of the 150-plus universities to have endorsed the principles and commitments.
“At American Military University and American Public University, our graduate students persevere while balancing the demands of military service, career, and family life,” said Dr. Jennifer Douglas, Dean, Graduate Studies and Research. “We, as university leaders and faculty, support the mental health and well-being of our graduate students throughout their educational journey.”
The endorsement is a natural fit for APUS – its robust student services include health and wellness guidance and crisis support delivered by a highly dedicated, three-person Chaplain staff. These chaplains – led by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Lindenmeyer – listen to students’ issues, provide guidance on everything from meditation to spirituality, share advice on how to deal with stress and anxiety, and, if necessary, refer them to counseling based on their specific needs (at no cost to students).
Additionally, as part of observing Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Dr. Lindenmeyer and Dr. Kimberlee Ratliff, an APUS professor and licensed mental health counselor, sponsor a professional development series for staff, faculty and students. Discussions include how to thrive in stressful times and offering support specifically for online learners.
APUS strives to support an engaging, flexible, and empathetic learning environment, especially in light of the multiple challenges experienced as a result of COVID. With that in mind, APUS recently piloted tele-therapy services as an extension to our support model, based on input from participating students. The service has been a welcomed resource to support personal mental and emotional health needs, and, in a short time, it has positively influenced students’ academic experiences and their ability to reach their educational goals. As a result, APUS has expanded the service and it is available to all students, effective in May 2021.
“Given the diversity of the graduate student population both in terms of life stage and career goals, considering the unique needs of graduate students in campus mental health plans must be a priority,” said CGS President Suzanne T. Ortega. “Establishing a shared set of values and a framework of principles and commitments is just the first step toward creating more inclusive, supportive program and campus environments and ensuring more equitable access to care. Our work with JED lays the foundation for future research on this critically important topic.”
“The findings from this project will be instrumental in moving forward with efforts to promote graduate student mental health and well-being,” said Dr. Nance Roy, chief clinical officer, The Jed Foundation and assistant clinical professor, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine. The recommendations provide actionable steps to support graduate student mental health as well as opportunities for future study. JED is proud to have partnered with CGS on this valuable work.”
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.
About The Jed Foundation (JED)
JED is a national nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programming and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and support to grow into healthy, thriving adults; and we’re encouraging community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health. Learn more at www.jedfoundation.org.
About American Public University System
American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and five-time recipient of OLC’s Effective Practice Award, offers more than 200 online degree and certificate programs through American Military University, the #1 provider of education to the U.S. military*, and American Public University. Over 100,000 alumni worldwide have benefited from APUS’s relevant, flexible curriculum and value. For more information, visit www.apus.edu.
*Based on FY 2019 Department of Defense tuition assistance and Veterans Administration student enrollment data, as reported by Military Times, 2020.
Frank Tutalo, APUS
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Katherine Hazelrigg, Council of Graduate Schools
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Manuela McDonough, JED Foundation
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