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Director of Engineering Student Services at Swanson Receives 2019 Provost’s Personalized Education Grant

PITTSBURGH (April 4, 2019) — Cheryl Paul, director of engineering student services at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was named the recipient of a 2019 Provost’s Personalized Education Grant. The award includes up to $15,000 toward the implementation of her project, “Inclusive Dialogue: Inviting Mental Wellness Understanding & Planning into Everyday Academics.”

The project will help to educate faculty and staff about mental health and guide students toward the resources available through Pitt’s Disability Resource Services, Student Health Services and Student Affairs. U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering James Martin has embraced this project as a signature initiative for Swanson and pledged that the school will match two-thirds of the grant.

“For years, discussions around mental disorders and their impact on a student’s ability to pursue a college degree has been spoken about in hushed tones or in private,” says Ms. Paul. “This program aims to bring those conversations into the light, ensure students have access to the resources they need, and help faculty and staff recognize when a student is struggling and respond appropriately.”

Research shows that reported rates of mental health disorders on college campuses are increasing, with one in three college freshmen worldwide reporting a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression. 

In addition to increasing understanding and awareness of this issue, Ms. Paul’s project will train faculty and staff in “Mental Health First Aid,” which will help them to identify and respond to mental health concerns for students in the Swanson School. 

The Provost’s Personalized Education Grant Program awards grants for ideas that bring advances in technology and novel approaches to teaching, advising and mentoring to Pitt. Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann Cudd recognized the recipients at a reception on March 19.

Ms. Paul’s grant began on March 1 and will extend through June 30, 2020. 

Author: Maggie Pavlick

Contact: Maggie Pavlick