Positive Peer Mentoring
Sharon Zygowicz and Kerry Sanderson, GateWay Community College
Peer mentoring is broadly considered a high-impact practice to promote student success and move the needle on student achievement and retention. In 2022, GateWay Community College was selected by the Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the University of Pennsylvania to be the focus of a capstone project for their MAPP graduate students. GateWay’s proposed project, as stated in the MAPP team’s final paper, was a comprehensive peer-to-peer well-being program, where students get hands-on experience and also contribute to GateWay’s goals of improving student outcomes. The peer-to-peer program could simultaneously function in one-on-one, one-on-group, or group-on-group settings, depending on the specific application of the program and its target audience. The MAPP team created a training manual and three separate (though interconnected) modules for content delivery. GateWay’s Counseling Department is piloting the MAPP positive peer mentoring program. Positive Peer Mentors (PPMs) will be trained using the MAPP model and will use the MAPP curriculum as a foundation for outreach to both first-year students, as well as the campus community at large.
Take a Break Activity at Rio Salado College
Lily Davidov and Robert Bergman, Rio Salado College
The Take A Break Activity project by Rio Salado College (RSC) is intended to create and implement a series of short, engaging activities that RSC’s online students can participate in to be made aware of stress management strategies and reduce stress for online learners. The impetus for the Take A Break Activity project evolved from an Honors in Action project developed by three RSC students who researched methods to reduce stress levels for students. Their research noted increased dropout rates for online students as compared to in-person students due to a variety of issues including, but not limited to, feelings of isolation and disconnectedness within an online environment. In researching methods to relieve stress for online students, they focused on taking short breaks and implementing play and/or art therapy.
While online learners face similar challenges to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, like paying for college, testing anxiety, and the challenge to complete assignments on time, these can be compounded by issues such as internet connectivity, technological issues with equipment, loneliness, and isolation. Additionally, some learners come from backgrounds where self-care and care of mental health are ignored or frowned upon. This project will benefit RSC students by having short, guided, measurable mental health breaks that will allow them to retain more information within their courses, introduce stress management, build focus endurance, and increase self-efficacy and motivation. All of these attributes are critical to student success and well-being.
Resonant Rhythms: Immersive Experiences in Clarinet and Percussion to Promote Wellness
Stefanie Gardner, Glendale Community College
The clarinet and percussion studios at Glendale Community College will commission a new piece of music for clarinets and percussion and host a series of guest artists throughout the 2023 - 2024 academic year. The first musician featured in the series will be composer and Zen Shakuhachi master Cornelius Boots. Cornelius is a famous bass clarinet music composer, and GCC actively programs his music and currently boasts the largest bass clarinet choir in the world! Cornelius is also a Zen Shakuhachi master (the practice of performing Japanese flute music for meditation purposes) and will demonstrate how to play the Zen Shakuhachi flute and host guided meditations. The second residency will feature the bass clarinet and marimba duo Transient Canvas. For over a decade, Boston-based contemporary duo Transient Canvas has been thrilling audiences with their “engaging musicality and easy sense of ensemble" (Cleveland Classical) and “superb” performances (Boston Globe). During their residency, Transient Canvas will coach our music ensembles, perform GCC student compositions, and teach clarinet and percussion students individually in addition to performing many of their exciting new pieces for bass clarinet and marimba. The third and final residency will feature world class percussionist and sound bath healer Douglas Cardwell. Douglas will demonstrate how to use sound and vibration as a form of holistic, alternative healing for stress-related conditions using percussion performance instruments such as antique Himalayan singing bowls, gongs, drums, chimes, and ting-sha (Tibetan cymbals), and how they are used to relieve stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, anger, and trauma.