Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador Program

The Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador Program is a set of initiatives that aims to help current University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty and staff understand and address student mental health concerns. Specifically, it provides training for faculty and staff to increase awareness of mental health.

The program offers implementable mental health initiatives to help create a culture of care and support. It is also intended to help faculty and staff members attend to self-care by offering guidance on the roles that faculty, staff and students play in addressing student mental health. Importantly, the program emphasizes that faculty and staff are not in a formal counseling role.

The ambassador program was originally developed by three Computer Science students and an iSchool student working on the Computer Science Mental Health Committee (Ananya Cleetus, chair of initiative, Nikita Agarwal, Neha Prabhu, and Cecilia Ding).

Ambassadors will be current faculty and staff volunteers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Program Overview

The 2021-2022 academic year was targeted as a pilot program. The program will continue piloting through the 2022-2023 year. Once a level is completed, ambassadors will be awarded a certificate and be listed on this website. They will also receive a badge indicating which level is achieved that can be displayed on a website, syllabus, an office door, and other places.

Level 1

Level 1 training consists of the required trainings listed below and actions to integrate into unit or department work.

The first section of training includes mental health allyship, disability allyship, diversity and communication information. The goal is for faculty and staff to develop a basic understanding of student mental health and their roles in addressing it. A checklist of action items is provided that include developing a unit mental health syllabus statement, a potential check-in system, wellbeing practices and potentially more individualized training. Through this program, ambassadors should be able to integrate actions into unit work and reflect upon teaching or working practices through the lens of promoting student wellbeing.

TrainingOffered byDescriptionTime
Kognito At-Risk Crisis Counseling
Center
Interactive training to identify students who may be struggling with mental health or in a mental health crisis.

*This training must be completed first in the required training series.
30-40 minutes, asynchronous
Mental Health and DisabilityDisability Resources & Educational Services (DRES)Provides an overview of DRES services and accommodation for students with mental health-related disabilities.25-30 minutes, asynchronous
Mental Health and DiversityReadings intended to raise awareness about mental health among minoritized students and students who feel that they must hide or minimize a part of their identity.30-40 minutes, asynchronous
Mental Health and COVID Article discussing how students may be experiencing heightened stress and burnout related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and 2020-2021 Student Experience Survey data.20-30 minutes, asynchronous
Email TrainingEmail samples to help faculty and staff respond to student concerns about mental health.20-30 minutes, asynchronous

Level 2

Level 2 of the Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador Program can be achieved by completing two optional trainings focused on a variety of advanced topics to strengthen understanding and skills in mental health, wellness and social identity concerns. Level 2 is currently being developed, and faculty and staff who have completed Level 1 will be contacted when it becomes available.

Level 2 Criteria

  • Must be a Level 1 Ambassador.
  • Must complete/show proof of at least two optional trainings from the provided list.
  • Must complete two optional trainings no more than 1 year after completing Level 1.

Become A Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassador

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the mental health ambassador program, please email mentalhealth@illinois.edu. If you are interested in participating in the pilot of this program, please fill out this form to be contacted when the next cohort is to be enrolled.

Faculty and Staff Mental Health Ambassadors

Thank you to all the faculty and staff members who completed Level 1 of the program. We’d like to recognize these individuals for their commitment to student mental health at Illinois.

Gretchen Adams, College of Applied Health Sciences
Jennifer Anderson, School of Information Sciences
Sara Benson, University Library
Natalie Bosecker, Graduate College
Wren Bradley, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Joan Brown, The Grainger College of Engineering
Bethany Carmien Onwodi, Office of Student Financial Aid-Administration
Qian Chen, The Grainger College of Engineering
Julie Cidell, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Becky Craddock, Housing Division
Susan Curtis, Gies College of Business
Stacey DeLorenzo, F&S Engineering Services
Jennifer Dixson, Campus Recreation
Mary Edwards, College of Fine and Applied Arts, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Michelle Ellis, Division of General Studies
Yali Feng, University Library
Gretchen Forman, The Grainger College of Engineering
Amy Fruehling, The Grainger College of Engineering
Jennifer Fugate, Graduate College
Shawna Graddy, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Calen Gutwein, Division of General Studies
Pamela Hadley, College of Applied Health Sciences
Devon Hague, College of Veterinary Medicine
Sharetta Hall, Office of Corporate Relations
Rachel Hoopsick, College of Applied Health Sciences
Salah Issa, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis, The Grainger College of Engineering
Eleftheria Kontou, The Grainger College of Engineering
Viveka Kudaligama, The Grainger College of Engineering
Kathryn La Barre, School of Information Sciences
Magali Lapunzina, College of Fine and Applied Arts
Karla Lucht, School of Information Sciences
Kaylee Lukacena Buzzetta, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute
Emily Maduzia, Graduate College
Jonathan Makela, The Grainger College of Engineering
Joyce Mast, The Grainger College of Engineering
Jennifer Mendez, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations
Amanda Morley, Division of General Studies
Yee Man Margaret Ng, College of Media
Melkior Ornik, The Grainger College of Engineering
Laura Payne, College of Applied Health Sciences
Marisa Peacock, College of Media
Stefanie Postula, University Library
Zoe Revell, University Library
Josie Rudolphi, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Julie Rundell, College of Fine and Applied Arts
Will Sander, College of Veterinary Medicine
Chaya Sandler, Gies College of Business
David Schug, Division of General Studies
Michelle Self-Ballard, University Library
Danielle Strahl-Heldreth, College of Veterinary Medicine
Shelby Strommer, University Library
Keith Sumlar, Student Affairs
Aida Talic, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Thomas Teper, University Library
Mara Thacker, University Library
Alexis Thompson, Graduate College
Alexandra Timmons, Applied Research Institute
Nicole Trenholme, College of Veterinary Medicine
Nikki Usher, College of Media
Maria Villamil, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Stephen Warren, College of Media
Ingrid Wheeler, Chez Veterans Center
Terelle Worthy, Illinois Human Resources
Kari Zamberletti, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Yang Zhang, The Grainger College of Engineering
Heather Zike, The Grainger College of Engineering