UCONN-AAUP Member Wellness Initiative

August 8, 2021

The COVID pandemic has taken its toll on higher education. A number of our members have experienced personal and professional challenges that have negatively affected their well-being.  Individuals who have been at UConn for only a few years may be particularly impacted, due to complications with the PTR process, additional family responsibilities, and a potentially smaller support network.

Research shows that committing time to wellness activities contributes to healthier, happier, productive individuals. The UConn-AAUP wants to support faculty during this difficult time through a Faculty Wellness Initiative.  As one element of this initiative, we are sponsoring a three-month support & resources group in Fall 2021. The goal of the group will be to provide:

  1. a) Peer support and connection;
  2. b) Information on relevant pragmatic resources (e.g., stopping the tenure clock); and
  3. c) Instruction in evidence-based tools for emotional wellness (e.g., mindfulness, relaxation techniques challenging self-doubt or perfectionism).

Our current plan is to have the group meet between September through December once a week for about one hour. In addition, UConn-AAUP plans to sponsor several informal meetings for the group throughout the academic year (e.g., coffee hour, Provost Q & A) to facilitate the development of an ongoing peer support network.  We have asked Dr. Stephanie Milan, Program Head of the Clinical Psychology Program and Licensed Clinical Psychologist, to serve as group facilitator.

Interested AAUP members should complete the brief form here by August 13, 2021.  These forms ask about your fall schedule and priority topics/concerns.  We will follow up with additional information in mid/late August. Filling out the form does not obligate you to participate.

We recognize that any workplace group has limits on confidentiality.  If you feel like you would benefit from formal support during the transition back to university life but do not feel comfortable participating in a group, UConn-AAUP can help you find information about available resources.  Or if you would be interested in attending stand alone topics of interest, we might be able to provide that as well. We will be developing a webpage to help our members identify signs of emotional distress and more easily access information about in-network behavioral health providers.  If you would like help with this type of information before then, please contact Barbara at BarbaraK@uconnaaup.org.

In support of our members,

Mary Ellen Junda, President

Jeff Ogbar, Executive Vice President

Michael Bailey, Executive Director