In New CMRubinWorld Interview, Harvard’s Wendy Fischman Explores Ways to Solve the College Mental Health Crisis

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In “The Real World of College” study, Dr. Wendy Fischman and Dr. Howard Gardner collected college data from 2013-2018, and interviewed 2000 individuals across 10 disparate colleges and universities. One thousand participants were students—half first-year students and half graduating students. One thousand were adults—the bulk were faculty and administrators, and the other half divided among trustees, young alums, parents and job recruiters. To their surprise, mental health was the biggest issue on campuses.

In a new interview just published by The Global Search for Education on CMRubinWorld, Dr. Wendy Fischman reveals why the mental health crisis amplified by the COVID19 pandemic has become the most significant problem on college campuses and what might be done to remedy the situation. While mental health issues on college campuses were not the primary focus ten years ago as compared to cost of college, alcohol, safety, and free speech, “those topics paled in comparison to the concerns about mental health,” says Fischman. “More than half of the students discuss the pressure to achieve external measures of success—to get good grades, to secure internships, get jobs—to build a perfect resume,” she notes.

Fischman and Gardner’s study revealed a misalignment between how well faculty and administrators knew their students and vice versa. Fischman stresses the importance of adults on campus engaging students in conversation “to try and understand them, their goals and ambitions, their struggles and challenges.” She also shares case studies being used by some colleges to address these issues.

Read the Interview here

CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers.

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David Wine


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