Crumbling Foundations and Fraying Nets: Intersections of Public Policy & Mental Health on Campus
While mental health is arguably one of the most prominent issues student affairs professionals engage with on a day-to-day basis, ranging from student needs to maintain or manage existing mental illness or stress to providing outlets and avenues for promotion of mental wellness, it is almost invisible in state and federal policymaking. In this post by Teri Lyn Hinds, NASPA's Director of Policy Research and Advocacy discusses how state and federal policy conversations can add to the mental distress and strain for many students. Despite this, it is rare to see legislation specifically address the growing mental health demands (or the costs of those demands) facing campuses. Policies implemented or being considered nationally in the past year would reverse the gains made to strengthen our general public health and mental health safety nets afforded by the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in many states. This erosion comes at a time when students are bombarded on all dimensions of health and wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, occupational, and financial.
PROSPER Act: The House Higher Education Act Reauthorization Bill
Representative Virginia Foxx, Chair of the House Committee on Education and Workforce (Ed and Workforce), introduced a comprehensive revision to the Higher Education Act on December 1, 2017: the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act” (PROSPER Act). Though the Ed and Workforce Committee, and its Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, held a number of hearings and passed several smaller pieces of legislation in previous Congressional sessions, the PROSPER Act represents a wide-ranging re-write of the legislation governing higher education including many provisions that will directly affect student affairs and student success. At nearly 600 pages, it is impossible to summarize all aspects of the legislation, though this post by NASPA Director of Policy Research and Advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds will highlight many of those most likely to be of interest to student affairs professionals, review the unconventionally fast process by which the bill was referred to the full House floor, and provide an expected timeline for a companion bill in the Senate.
Engage! Part Three: Options for Student Affairs Professionals to Advocate for Trans Individuals
In the first installment of the Engage! series, Teri Lyn Hinds, NASPA's Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, broadly outlined four levels in which student affairs professionals might advocate on campus: institutionally, as faculty and staff, supporting students and civic engagement, and personally. In the second installment, NASPA Policy Analyst Diana Ali took a deeper dive into these forms of advocacy concerning undocumented individuals. In this installment of the Engage! series, Teri will address the four types of advocacy student affairs professionals might pursue to promote rights for trans individuals on their campus and in their community. NASPA’s Policy and Advocacy team regularly tracks challenges to trans individuals’ rights and protection under both the Student Safety and Wellness and Inclusive Opportunities tenets of the NASPA Public Policy Agenda.
Engage! Options for Advocacy for Student Affairs Professionals
No matter your position, title, or area of expertise, as a student affairs professional there are a myriad of ways you can – and should – engage in public policy conversations for the benefit of you, your students, and your institution. While advocacy in public policy can seem like a tricky topic, in this post NASPA Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds, will lay out some key terms and specific examples of how both individuals and institutions can engage in advocacy.