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Cal State L.A. President unveils new effort to promote student mental, physical and emotional health at University Convocation and Fall Faculty Day

September 22, 2014

Cal State L.A. President unveils new effort to promote student mental, physical and emotional health at University Convocation and Fall Faculty Day

September 22, 2014

More than two dozen new tenure-track professors hired as fall quarter begins

Los Angeles—President William A. Covino on Monday announced a critical new initiative to promote mental, physical and emotional wellbeing for students, and cited his key accomplishments including the hiring of more than two dozen tenure-track professors during the University’s Convocation and Fall Faculty Day.

The president said he and his wife, Dr. Debbie Covino, will be leading the new campaign called Mind Matters to help Cal-State L.A. students deal with the pressures of succeeding in college.

“All of our students face significant challenges as they navigate the demand of academic excellence, family responsibility and jobs,” Covino said during a morning ceremony at the University’s Luckman Theatre.

“Our first lady, Debbie Covino, and I know attending college can be overwhelming and stressful and that our students face increasing academic, social and financial challenges,” the president added.

The Mind Matters initiative comes at a time when studies in recent years have found that college students are experiencing high levels of stress, including problems caused by sleep deprivation and separation anxiety among incoming freshmen.

Covino has authorized the appointment of two additional healthcare professionals to help students deal with stress, anxiety and life choices that work against success. The University will also be increasing space in the student health center to accommodate additional psychological counseling, workshops and activities that promote physical and mental wellbeing.

The president and Debbie Covino also plan to lead campus presentations to help ensure that students develop good study habits and make the right choices to keep them on a successful path to a Cal State L.A. degree.

Regarding teaching in the classroom, a top priority at the University is to recruit and hire faculty who are outstanding educators, scholars, artists, scientists and engineers, Covino said.

“These are the individuals who will instruct, mentor and engage our students,” he said, which is in keeping with the University’s mission of community engagement, service, and the public good.

The president welcomed 27 new tenure-track professors who come from a range of distinguished institutions, including Columbia University, Wesleyan University, The Ohio State University, the University of Washington, the University of Texas, UCLA and USC.

The professors are the highest number of new faculty that Cal State L.A. has hired since the fall of 2009, and the University hopes to nearly double that number next fall, Covino said.

Covino, who became Cal State L.A.’s seventh president in September 2013, cited other accomplishments that have been made in the past year.

They include starting the community service program #IServeLA, which by 2016 will place more than 3,500 student volunteers to work at organizations such as the American Red Cross, the East L.A. Women’s Center, the YMCA and the Los Angeles Police Department.

The program is housed at The Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good, which is also the home of GO East L.A.: A Pathway for College and Career Success.  This new program is a partnership with East Los Angeles College and the LA Unified School District and will provide “cradle to career” support for the youth of East L.A.

This year, Covino said, the program is focusing on Garfield High School and the elementary and middle schools that produce Garfield students.

He said 51 Garfield High School students are newly enrolled at Cal State L.A.  Support services are being developed to help them transition from high school to university life, with weekly email tips, a website, student-to-student mentoring and advisement.

In laying out his vision for continued excellence at Cal State L.A., Covino said the University would continue to explore innovative ways to collaborate with outside institutions and organizations to further the goals of civic engagement and public service.