Updates as of May 26, 2016
Increase cultural center budgets and staffing
The dean of Yale College has been working with the directors of the four cultural centers to develop enhanced budgets for the centers. Mental health and counseling staff were assigned to be on call in the cultural centers during the fall 2015 semester reading and exam weeks, and Yale Health and Yale College Dean’s Office leadership are working with the cultural center directors to determine ongoing needs and the best ways to respond.
Improvements have been made to the four centers’ facilities, and searches are nearly complete for additional staffing—with each center planning to hire an assistant director to provide more support to students and expand programming. Staff in the centers are working closely on issues of cultural identity development and intercultural engagement. Planning will take place over the summer to tailor support and services to the needs and interests of each center. This will include an increased emphasis on wellness and resilience.
The cultural center directors have helped improve the training for student leaders who work with new students, including freshman counselors, peer liaisons, and those who participate in pre-orientation programs. The directors also played an active role with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in increasing student recruitment efforts around the country and hosting admitted students during the April 2016 Bulldog Days program.
Yale will serve as host to several all-Ivy cultural conferences throughout the year, bringing students and staff from peer institutions to New Haven to share approaches to engagement in university communities through cultural perspectives.
Make adjustments to financial aid policy
At a December 7, 2015, town hall meeting of the Yale College Council, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan and University Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi unveiled updates to the university’s undergraduate financial aid policies. The policies include an increase of $2 million in financial aid spending to reduce the amount that students are expected to contribute from summer earnings, as well as a new “college start-up fund” to provide $2,000 awards in the freshman year to students with the highest levels of financial need.
Enhance mental health and counseling offerings
On December 18, 2015, the Yale Health Department of Mental Health and Counseling announced Dr. Howard Blue’s appointment as deputy director of mental health and counseling. Dr. Blue will have a prominent role in working with colleagues across the Yale campus to increase awareness of mental health issues and take part in shaping programs to address diversity and inclusion for all Yale students.
The department is expanding its space within the Yale Health building and plans to hire four additional counselors in the 2016-2017 academic year. Recruitment of mental health and counseling staff will continue to focus on a diverse group of providers. Currently, 40 percent of the counseling staff are from a racial or ethnic minority group.
Additional training in diversity matters is planned for existing mental health staff, covering topics such as undocumented students and work with diverse racial and ethnic groups, and a pilot program of group workshops based on cognitive behavioral therapy and other approaches is planned for fall to determine which programs and strategies might be appropriate.