Alcohol abuse continues to be one of the most significant problems impacting academics here at SJU. Higher rates of alcohol use and abuse are correlated with:
- higher rates of missed classes
- less time spent studying
- lower GPAs
These are just a few of the negative impacts of alcohol abuse. Lowering alcohol consumption is one effective way to increase academic success in college.
Effective strategies to increase academic success by minimizing the negative impact of alcohol abuse must involve in the entire University community. SJU faculty and staff all have a role to play within the strategic plan to increase academic success and lower incidents of harm related to alcohol use and abuse.
Please review these options below and consider how you can have an impact on the health as well as the academic standing of our campus community.
How to Help Improve SJU Student’s Academic Success
Use Your Syllabus: As you create your syllabus to set the norms and expectations for student behavior in the classroom, consider including information on the effects of alcohol abuse on academic performance or resources to help. Here is one examples:
Throughout the semester you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning and may lead to diminished academic performance. Saint Joseph’s University provides services to assist you in addressing these issues. If you need more information about issues relating to alcohol, other drugs or violence, please contact the Wellness, Alcohol & Drug Education (WADE) Program within the office of Student Outreach and Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-660-3462.
Schedule a Test or Exams on Fridays: Thursday nights are known to be the beginning of the weekend for some students. Rather than enable this behavior, encourage a focus on academics by scheduling exams on Fridays or the day after a “drinking holiday” such as Saint Patrick’s Day or the Superbowl.
Schedule a Guest Lecturer: Presentations on an array of issues that intersect with alcohol, other drugs or wellness can be altered to fit your syllabus. Schedule an expert from the WADE Program to speak to your class; either a staff member or a trained Peer Educator (click here to request a workshop). Alcohol or drug policies and laws, addiction as a brain disease, social norms and impacts of addiction, health and nutrition of alcohol, sexual assault or bystander intervention are all topics that can be taught by WADE staff.
Sign the iCARE Pledge: Over 3,000 members of the campus community have already signed the pledge committing to look out for one another, intervene when something seems wrong and refer to resources as needed. If you sign a pledge, you will receive an iCARE bracelet to wear to further promote care for our community. Sign the pledge now!
Make a Referral: If you notice a student who you think might be struggling, open up the dialogue and suggest they find resources on or off campus to help. Reach out to the Office of Student Success to share your concern. Signs of abuse or addiction include:
- decrease in interest or commitment to classes; declining grades
- missing class
- sleeping in class
- smell of alcohol on breath or clothes
- irritability or aggressiveness especially when discussing issues around alcohol
- difficulty concentrating; use of stimulants to study
Take Advantage of Teachable Moments: When alcohol or drug-related events occur in the media or when partying comes up in a pre-class discussion, utilize that time to promote healthy and responsible choices. Use your influence as an authority to share statistics or challenge the misperceptions of alcohol’s role in campus life.
Curriculum Infusion: Faculty can seamlessly integrate wellness based, alcohol or drug-related content into the curriculum of just about any course. Create an assignment or a research project, examples include:
- In a writing course: assign a reflection paper utilizing the Jesuit 5 stage reflection model to address personal choices made around alcohol or drugs or the role of alcohol in campus culture
- In a business marketing course: have the class review marketing techniques of alcohol distributors on a college campus
- In a criminology course: research the connection between alcohol, other drugs, addiction and crime rates
- In a theology course: research the connection between alcohol and religion throughout history
Join the Advisory Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Student Health: The Assistant Director of WADE coordinates an Advisory Council of faculty, staff and students to examine the University system around alcohol use and abuse. As a member of the Council, faculty can exercise leadership in proposing new initiatives to change the campus climate.
The Advisory Council is the group that put on the Alcohol Summit in Spring 2015 where research and data from national resources as well as SJU students was shared. We had many faculty and staff attend either the large Summit or the small group Dig Deeper series which delved into the various topics addressed at the Alcohol Summit. You can find all the slides from the Alcohol Summit, the compilation of notes taken during the Summit and the Dig Deeper series, and videos of the presentations on the Alcohol Summit webpage.
Utilize Your Own Research: As faculty members, you are contributing to the field by the way of new information and research. Through you research, help us learn how to prevent alcohol abuse on campus or how to help those who are struggling with addiction. We are always looking for new partners.