Standard 1. Alignment with the Missions of Higher Education
1.1 Develop a strategic plan for health promotion that supports the unique missions and values of the institution of higher education.
“The central mission of the University of Southern California is the development of human beings and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit. The principal means by which our mission is accomplished are teaching, research, artistic creation, professional practice and selected forms of public service.
The mission of the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion (OWHP) is to support the University of Southern California, University Park Campus with health promotion that advances wellness, student learning and the unique USC student experience. We assess the health behaviors of the student population, collaborate with campus partners, and deliver best practice prevention initiatives.”
The first step in considering this standard on mission alignment is to set the two missions, that of the Institution and that of the department, side by side and ask, “How do we know when these two missions are aligned?” This question has no clear answer, as it is a question that should be constantly asked and answered in an ever-changing context. In order to create guideposts for the constantly evolving terrain of higher education, we must continually assure the alignment of the first rank extracurricular program offered by OWHP with the central mission of USC.
Some answers to the question of how we are aligned might be to establish our ACHA-NCHA II data as a contribution to research, our “AlcoholEdu for College” as a contribution to teaching, our photo-voice project as artistic creation, and our office certainly models the rigors of professional practice. Each of these pillars exists through OWHP, each aligned with and supporting the mission of USC.
Another answer might come from a reflection upon the professional mission of Health Promotion as defined by World Health Organization – Ottawa Charter on Health promotion 1986 definition of health promotion:
“Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.
With the Five Health Promotion Actions: 1. Build healthy public policy, 2. Create supportive environments, 3. Strengthen community actions, 4. Develop personal skills, 5. And Reorient health services towards prevention.”
With this health promotion mission in mind we could compare and contrast it with the CAS Professional Standards in Higher Education Learning Domains, and examine where Health Promotion has a measurable impact. Answers to the question of how we are aligned might be in assessments documenting contributions to:
- Knowledge acquisition, construction, integration, and application (Connecting knowledge to other knowledge, ideas, and experiences, relating knowledge to daily life)
- Cognitive complexity (Critical thinking, Reflective thinking, Effective reasoning, Creativity)
- Intrapersonal development (Realistic self-appraisal, self-understanding, and self-respect, Identity development, Commitment to ethics and integrity)
- Interpersonal competence (Meaningful relationships, Interdependence, Collaboration, Effective leadership)
- Humanitarianism and Civic Engagement (Understanding and appreciation of cultural and human differences, Social responsibility)
- Practical competence (Communicating effectively, Managing personal affairs, and demonstrating professionalism)
American Institutions of Higher Education are changing rapidly to demonstrate their value in a new global context. Health Promotion as a profession is dedicated to enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. Learning, as personal skills development, is clearly a health promotion action; therefore the challenge is to wholeheartedly embrace of the institution’s missions, with tailored best practice universal, selective and indicated prevention initiatives.
– Paula L. Swinford, Director, Office of Wellness and Health Promotion, University of Southern California
1.3 Disseminate research that demonstrates the effect of individual health behaviors and environmental health behaviors on student success.
Because health is a vital part of learning, we have invested time and resources to better understand the connection between various health experiences and student success. As members of the academy, it is critical that we conduct this research using the highest standards (including IRB approval). We utilize the ACHA-NCHA as our key tool to gather population-level data.
Upon receipt of the data, we have conducted analyses that compare the experiences of health conditions and reports of negative academic outcomes (defined as lower grade on an assignment, lower grade in a course, failing or dropping a course, significant interruption in a thesis or dissertation). The analysis allows us to identify which health conditions are causing the greatest impact to the success of students. With the use of a supplemental question that provides the academic unit information we can determine which health experiences have resulted in barriers to success among the different academic areas.
Once this information has been collected and analyzed, we are able to share the findings with key leaders in the respective academic units. Through a presentation of findings, a printed report, and an electronic report, we engage in a focused dialogue related to addressing student needs and supporting student success. We present University aggregate findings in a joint session to provide context and follow up with the individual schools/colleges to have specific discussions regarding their students. Having customized data to discuss with colleagues has strengthened the partnership between academic and co-curricular areas. Together we allow our research to guide both our understanding of the population and the manner in which we respond. The academic units appreciate the specificity and regularly request additional information.
– Michael P. McNeil, Director, Alice! Health Promotion, Columbia University
Standards in Action!
- Standard 1: Alignment with the Missions of Higher Education
- Standard 2: Socioecological-Based Practice
- Standard 3: Collaborative Practice
- Standard 4: Cultural Competency
- Standard 5: Theory-Based Practice
- Standard 6: Evidence-informed Practice
- Standard 7: Continuing Professional Development and Service