Gift to Faculty Actually Helps Students

January 12, 2010

Gift_to_Faculty Just as students were readying themselves last week for the start of January classes, some Saint Leo faculty members were enhancing their classroom skills at an innovative psychology seminar.

The 2010 “Psychology as a Gift” seminar at Saint Leo briefed faculty on the warning signs that students might be suffering emotional distress, and provided teachers with guidance on when and how to aid students in such a state.

Some 50 percent of college students have reported feeling depressed at some point in their college career, presenter Seamus Allman, manager of student assistance programs at Baycare Behavioral Health Systems, told the faculty. Allman and those in attendance discussed ways students might show their distress––from seemingly rude behavior during a class to agitated e-mails––and helpful ways faculty might respond. Baycare provides some services to Saint Leo, and Allman has extensive experience in dealing with college populations.

“Don’t give advice,” Allman said of helping young adults, adding, “they roll their eyes.” ­­   

But a faculty member might listen carefully, and let the student know of services available in the campus or community if he or she chooses to use such services. For instance, at the main campus, students can get free assistance at Student Counseling Services in deChantal Hall by visiting or calling (352) 588-8199. The faculty member might also ask the student to speak with them again by a specified time about how he or she is coping, Allman suggested.

While such advice is readily available, some of the faculty noted that it is beneficial for them to have discussions about useful responses student emotional needs often, especially at a student-centered institution such as Saint Leo.

In addition to faculty from the main campus, faculty members from continuing education centers and from the Center for Online Learning attended.

Online students and students at continuing education centers are typically older, and subject to different sources of stress than young adults at the main campus. Working adults can become overwhelmed by the demands of families, jobs and school, explained Professor Marilyn Mallue. They might display stress differently than younger college students, and may need to turn to resources close to their home communities.

Mallue said she thinks the Psychology Department’s annual “Psychology as a Gift” forum to fellow Saint Leo faculty is an initiative unique to Saint Leo. The presentation was taped so for the convenience of faculty members who were unable to attend.