Being Well Together Taskforce Membership
(Psychology, Arts & Sciences)
(available as liaison for both taskforces)
Denver Walker ’21 (D.M.A. in Performance, Guitar)
Jenna Barricklo ’21 (B.F.A. in Musical Theatre)
This taskforce originated in a core recommendation made by the faculty-led Futures Group. That recommendation responded to several recognitions:
- the recognition (now affirmed repeatedly by counseling staff and wellness professionals at Shenandoah University) that Shenandoah Conservatory students were not only disproportionately represented among general students needing or desiring university mental health and wellbeing counseling or support, but were receiving less support than needed at both prevention and crisis points;
- the recognition (now affirmed repeatedly by counseling staff and wellness professionals at the university) that conservatory students not only face many of the same sources of anxiety as other students, but also face some issues with disproportionate frequency (e.g., around nutrition/body image and around personal identity);
- the recognition that the available university resources would remain insufficient to address the above, and that the conservatory may be able to supplement and complement those resources in realistic and impactful ways; and
- the recognition that it is not only students who need further and supplementary support; that conservatory faculty and staff could also greatly benefit from targeted and further support.
This group determined the following purpose statement for the initiative titled Being Well Together:
- We will commit to a culture of holistic wellness through proactive student, faculty and staff development.
General Orientation & Core Responsibility
In response, we have the significant and pressing opportunity to develop a plan to support a culture of being well together by supplementing Shenandoah University resources and initiatives to further support Shenandoah Conservatory community members becoming still more knowledgeable and skilled in three dimensions of wellbeing (relational, emotional and physical wellbeing); areas that seem to be especially impacting the overall health and long-term professional success of not only conservatory students, but also faculty and staff.
We recognize that implementing cultural shifts requires intention and consistency, and takes time. We will therefore go about strengthening and supporting a culture of wellbeing by building a strong foundation and spending adequate time on defining our current strengths and needs (Kuppler, 2013).
Being is a mindful way of existing (rather than ‘doing’)
“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization
“a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” – The National Wellness Institute
And together means that we not only address unique and shared needs of students, faculty and staff, but that we take joint responsibility in doing so.
Being Well Together IS NOT the removal of all stressors, an attempt at creating Utopia, or an overburdening of Shenandoah Conservatory community members with more to do. It IS rather a shift in culture/mindset that will lead to an increase in knowledge and skills to support proactive (and where necessary, reactive) and ongoing individual and collective wellbeing, intentional structural/systemic change to support a culture of wellbeing and wellness outcomes, and the development of grit, resilience, and the ability to find and maintain balance even when faced with stress, mental/physical illness, and demanding workloads and schedules. It is imperative that we model by example, authentically approaching our art and work from a place of joy and gratitude.
Charge for 2019
The Being Well Together Taskforce is charged to build on work done to date by the relevant Futures Group, and identify and recommend a select series of co-curricular conservatory events or initiatives for the 2020/21 year which can strengthen a conservatory culture of wellbeing. This will include providing opportunities for students/faculty/staff that lead to an improved understanding of healthy practice in some of the most relevant and important wellbeing dimensions to our community — Relational, Emotional and Physical*.
The recommended list of co-curricular conservatory events or initiatives should:
- Include pre- and post-assessment measures which illuminate student/faculty/staff evaluation of the relevance and value of offered programming/events. (That way, allowing for programming to be managed and adjusted as appropriate.)
- Meet all core guidelines:
- Strategically supplements and complements university resources
- Increases collaboration/partnership with relevant university resources
- Is financially frugal (does not require substantial new resources or large annual budget)
- Builds on best practice in the higher education field
- Incorporates Shenandoah Conservatory-specific needs through conducting ongoing assessment and evaluation
* While there are many dimensions impacting wellbeing, ongoing feedback from Shenandoah University’s Counseling Center, as well as growing feedback from faculty leaders and outcomes of the Being Well Together Futures Group suggests that the three most significant areas representing need/opportunity are the ones listed. (A case might be made for others. The key issue here is that focusing on no more than three areas will allow the conservatory to ensure greater impact of programming.)
By September 15
- Vote on student self-nominations paired with faculty recommendations to select two student representatives for the Being Well Togeather Taskforce.
- Nomination invitations will go out to students over the weekend (September 7, 2019)
- Students will submit self-nominations and faculty will submit student-requested recommendations by midnight on September 11, 2019 via Google Forms
- The Being Well Together leadership team, by close of business on September 12, will provide a short-list of students and their applications to the Being Well Together members to vote on by midnight, September 15, 2019. Student representatives will be notified on September 16 and included in the first taskforce meeting.
By September 24
- Provide a final statement of charge/purpose (that has been approved by the Dean) to the CONS 101/201 Taskforce, for their use in the new course proposal description provided by the end of September. This charge will include:
- Two or three clearly defined aspects of wellness that will form the main focus for Being Well Together initiatives
- Recommended areas of focus within each aspect of wellness for students that can be addressed through curriculum
- Provide a draft of programming ideas to both of the below individuals for their respective feedback:
- Director of Counseling Center (to give feedback on perceived relevance to conservatory student population needs)
- Human Resources Director of Benefits (to give feedback on perceived relevance to conservatory faculty and staff population needs)
December 9 (during December 9 Conservatory Full Faculty Meeting)
- Present a draft recommendation to the Shenandoah Conservatory community, soliciting feedback not only at end of presentation, but also via a confidential emailed survey directly after presentation.
- The recommendation should include a confirmation of outcomes related to the three wellbeing dimensions for each of the three populations and provide a list of co-curricular conservatory events or initiatives proposed for inclusion and funding in the 2020/21 academic year. These are events or initiatives that can make an especially outsized impact on students, faculty and staff.
- Present a final recommendation at a joint meeting of all three groups (Glaize Studio Theatre? During time for February 24 Conservatory Full Faculty Meeting) that incorporates the feedback received from faculty, staff and students.
Kuppler, T. (2013). The 9 clear steps to organizational culture change. TLNT Talent Manager & HR, retrieved from https://www.tlnt.com/the-9-clear-steps-to-organizational-culture- change/
National Wellness Institute (2019). https://www.nationalwellness.org
World Health Organization (2019). https://www.who.int