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“Healing After Harvey” Sessions Help Island University Faculty and Staff Recognize Student Distress

October 02, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – After the tremendous impact Hurricane Harvey left on the Coastal Bend region, many students, faculty, and staff are still struggling with lingering stress. The Center for Faculty Excellence at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi helped address this new student need during several “Healing After Harvey” sessions. Open to all faculty and staff members, these sessions focused on teaching strategies for helping distressed students, as well as self-care tips for dealing with personal stress.

“Recently, the conversations I hear before class have changed from the usual everyday chatter,” said Dr. Wendi Pollock, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Social Sciences at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Now students talk about the storm and if ‘so-and-so’ has found a place to live. That’s why I decided to come to this session – I want to learn how to help my students while they’re still dealing with Harvey.”

During the sessions, speakers taught faculty and staff how to recognize some of the major signs of stress and trauma in students and how to best provide support. Speakers included Dr. Marvarene Oliver, Interim Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development, Dr. Pamela Brouillard, Chair and Professor of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Pamela Greene, Assistant Professor of Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Many of the faculty and staff in attendance came because they could still see the after-effects Harvey has had on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi students.

“The storm has had an incredibly traumatic effect on many people in the coastal regions of Texas,” said Brouillard. “Even though we were lucky enough not to take a direct hit, we here in Corpus Christi will still be dealing with the effects of Harvey for a very long time.”

Faculty and staff members were also asked to focus on self-care and to recognize that they will also be dealing with continuing stress from the hurricane. That stress, along with the shortened fall 2017 semester, has been an extra burden for many faculty members.

“Losing an entire week of classes has been very stressful,” said Brouillard. “Many, like those in the Colleges of Business and Nursing and Health Sciences, will have to fit the same amount of material into a shorter syllabus due to scholastic requirements.”

The Center for Faculty Excellence encourages all members of the Islander community who need help managing stress after Harvey to visit their homepage for resources, or to visit the University Counseling Center’s homepage.