FSU launches new professional certification on student well-being, trauma and resilience

Florida State University, a leader in professional development on trauma and resilience, launched a new online curriculum to help higher education professionals develop the tools to promote campus wellness and better serve students.

The Professional Certification in College Student Well-being, Trauma and Resilience was developed by the Institute for Family Violence Studies at the FSU College of Social Work in conjunction with the FSU Center for Academic and Professional Development.

Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies at FSU and research associate in the College of Social Work.
Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies at FSU and research associate in the College of Social Work.

“The curriculum serves as a foundation for transforming institutes of higher education into strength-based, trauma-informed and inclusive environments where students can thrive,” said Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies. “It is essential after the disruption caused by COVID-19.”

The course informs college administrators, faculty, staff and policymakers about the individual and systemic factors that impact student resilience and well-being.

It presents an evidence-based curriculum on student well-being and practical resilience tools that higher education professionals can utilize to promote a healthy and vibrant campus culture centered on wellness.

Building on participants’ higher education knowledge and skills, the curriculum applies research-informed principles in the areas of resilience and well-being and contextualizes it in a higher education setting. Participants learn crucial information and resources to build a campus culture based on positive mental health, student retention and student success.

The online, self-paced curriculum consists of 20 hours of course content and nine chapters of research-based readings, activities, case scenarios, multimedia materials, assignments and quizzes.

This certification is designed to enhance professional knowledge and skills for higher education professionals, including administrators, student success professionals, education policy professionals, higher education faculty and staff, higher education counseling center physicians, nurses, counselors and psychologists along with Title IX professionals, victim advocates, human resources and other staff.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers and higher education professionals across the United States helped to review the course curriculum, including FSU College of Social Work Dean Jim Clark and Associate Dean Craig Stanley along with:

  • Margret Mbindyo,  Assistant Professor, Advisement Coordinator, Center for Advisement and Student Support, Millersville University
  • Amber Douglas, Professor, Dean of Studies, Director of Student Success Initiatives, Mount Holyoke College
  • Judit Torok, Provost & Director, Center for Teaching & Learning, Pratt Institute
  • Laura Johnson, Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Advising, Boston University
  • Linda Scuiletti,  Vice President of Assessment, Planning & Research, Central Carolina Community College

“The course takes a deep dive into very real student struggles and helps professionals gain the knowledge and skills they need to assist students,” Mbindyo said. “I see this course as essential for everyone from top administration to student affairs, to counseling, to advising.”

Of particular importance for higher education professionals is the curriculum’s insight into how trauma impacts learning, student mental health, well-being and resilience. The course also brings to light the role of early adversity on behavioral health problems, building blocks of resilience and culturally responsive approaches to campus resilience efforts. The training provides a powerful new array of trauma-informed approaches in higher education to address these concerns.

“Many college students arrive on campus with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression,” Clark said. “Many more experience stress and need coping skills to manage the significant stress of the college experience. Only a fraction of those students are getting help, and their struggles affect their whole campus experience —their academic success, their friendships and whether they remain in school. This certification helps higher education professionals learn more about the root of these students’ difficulties and practical ways campus leaders can improve outcomes for all students.”

The 20-hour course is currently offered for $349. Discounts are provided for Florida State University alumni and veterans.

For questions about fees and enrollment, contact The FSU Center for Academic & Professional Development at resilience@capd.fsu.edu or (850) 644-7545.