March 2012

Meeting Date: 
March 7, 2012



ACA Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


SSB Glenn Maloney Room


8:15  Breakfast and Social Time

         Sponsored by Cockrell School of Engineering (Thank you!!)


8:30  Cockrell School of Engineering

Laura Wick spoke about the videos she created to help convey routine advising messages in a student-friendly way. The videos have been well received by students. 

The first video Laura created is called Susie Q Drop Visits the SAO. It depicts a student arriving at their advising center and receiving information about Q dropping a course.

Laura showed ACA a second video, Moments that Shaped the Cockrell School, which is shown during Freshmen Orientation.


8:50  University Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Services Overview

Sherry Bell, Senior Program Coordinator for UHS, gave an overview of UHS and CMHS services.

Meningitis Vaccination update

Any student entering a Texas institution of higher education this summer under the age of 30 must have proof they received the meningococcal vaccination (bacterial meningitis). Current UT students need to be aware of this new requirement if they plan on enrolling at a community college over the summer. UHS offers this vaccination and the appropriate documentation for verification.

University Health Services Overview

Overall, UHS averages 600,000 contacts with patients a year. UHS uses The National College Health Assessment  to better understand the issues students are facing and figure out how to best tailor UHS programs accordingly. The survey revealed that in the fall 2011, 15% of students reported having a negative academic impact (for example a lower grade in class or on a project/exam, Q drop or withdrawal) due to having a cold, flu or sore throat. UHS understands that healthy students will perform better academically, so they offer several programs to help students stay healthy. For example, UHS offers Cold and Flu presentations during which they encourage students to engage in healthy habits. UHS is also undertaking a sleep campaign, because a large number of students reported that not getting enough sleep negatively affected their academic success.

Research also revealed that 26% of the students who never used UHS were concerned about the quality of care provided. The students who did use their services, however, gave very positive reviews. The same research showed that 7% of students had never heard of UHS, but that 24% would seek healthcare advice from a University staff member. Sherry encouraged advisors to help educate students about the services available at UHS.

Any enrolled UT student may use UHS, and they will receive more services than if they went to their family doctor. UHS has behavioral consultants who work with students who have psychological issues that manifest into physical symptoms. A student may see one of these professionals first if they are reluctant to visit the counseling center. UHS offers a 24-hour Nurse line that students may access anytime, and walk-ins are available in their Urgent Care office. Physicians may be seen by appointment during regular business hours. Not all doctor visits are free; there is a $5.00 charge for regular consultations, but if the student needs more work to be done (like lab tests, x-rays, blood work, etc.), then they may accrue additional charges. Students should consider getting insurance to help them offset costs, because healthcare can become very expensive, especially if they are referred to an outside healthcare professional.

UHS has a Health Promotion Resource Center where they offer classes, information and population-based initiatives. For example, they are launching a campaign encouraging students to eat breakfast, even if it's "bar food," like cereal bars. 

Counseling and Mental Health Center Overview

Sherry emphasized that CMHC is very accessible to students now. They offer short-term therapy sessions and many group counseling opportunities. They offer same-day appointments and 24-hour telephone counseling for those who are concerned about physically going to a counselor in the center. They offer couples therapy and psychiatric services as well. In crisis situations, call UTPD. If appropriate, staff are encouraged to walk to CMHC with a student in crisis. If you’re concerned about a student’s behavior, make sure to call BCAL (Behavior Concerns Advice Line).

There are 150 people on the UHS staff who maintain high standards of quality healthcare and they are accredited. Both faculty and staff may fill prescriptions with the UHS pharmacy as long as you carry Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance.


9:05  Office of the Student Ombuds

Lauren Bloom, UT's Student Ombudsperson, spoke about her office and the services offered. The University of Texas was one of the first campuses to house an ombuds office (1968). Services are now offered to faculty, students and staff. They see people on walk-in basis, by appointment or over email. The staff prefers in person contact so that conversations are “off record.” It was emphasized that this is a very confidential, informal office where they do not request UT EIDs to assist people. Laura works part time, but she has many graduate students working with her who meet with students. They are neutral, empathetic and do not take sides. Their most frequent visits are from upper-class students with a grade dispute or a problem with a professor.


9:20  Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)

Kelli Bradley, a disabilities services coordinator for SSD, gave an overview on SSD policies and services. SSD  provides accommodations and support for student with disabilities. There are a number of accommodations available depending on the student’s particular needs. SSD staff members consult with both faculty and staff regarding students’ accommodations. These accommodations are provided as a result of medical documentation (assessment) that meets federal guidelines -- not just a doctor’s note. Once the documentation has been provided, then professors must implement the accommodations that have been determined. Top 3 examples of accommodations: 1) Extended time on tests 2) Reduced distraction in environment 3) Copy of class notes.   

Students registered with SSD can take a reduced courseload (minimum 6 hours) and still be considered full time. If they apply for a courseload reduction by the deadline, approved Q drops will not count in the SIX limit.

Many students in need of accomodations aren't aware that SSD's services apply to students with "invisible diabilities." Many are reluctant to register in the first place, but priority registration can sometimes drive a reluctant student to register. Invisible disabilities are the most common disabilties on campus, which include ADHD, psychological disabilities and learning disabilities. Kelli noted that students who have been diagnosed with ADHD have also benefited from meeting with a peer coach in the Sanger Learning Center.

SSD offers walk-ins for students who are seeking initial help in determining whether accommodations are necessary for college. Walk-ins are available 9-4 p.m. and a coordinator will answer general questions. The question was asked whether students should seek help from SLCC or SSD and it was emphasized that students with unidentified disabilities (only suspected) may have deeper issues that just time management, for example, and should first visit SSD. They will then refer them to appropriate offices as needed (they may refer to CMHC instead, depending on the issue).


9:50  R.O.A.D. update

ROAD is a professional development resource for advisors on campus. Road co-chairs, Kristen Anton and Melva Harbin, reported what was reviewed during the brown bag for the Professional Development share. They are working on getting a NACADA Webinar over Legal Issues in Advising together for this semester. They are also planning on having a new advisor orientation this spring. Both announced they will be stepping down as co-chairs and invited new advisors to step into this leadership role.      


9:55  Announcements

On behalf of the Awards and Recognition Committee, Sarah McKay announced that they are currently accepting applications for staff and student scholarships. The application is due March 28th, 2012 at 5:00pm.


Spring Semester Highlights

April 4          ACA Monthly Meeting (8:15-10:00am, Glenn Maloney Room)

May 8          ACA Monthly Meeting (1:00-3:00pm, TBD)

June 12       ACA Monthly Meeting (8:15-10:00am, TBD)

July 19        ACA Monthly Meeting (8:15-10:00am, Stadium)