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From the Dean

How we're enhancing our culture of care

Dean Dannels sits at a table on NC State's campus.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

As the end of the academic year inches closer and we prepare for finals, I’m encouraging our community to stop, take a deep breath and ask this question. I recognize many students, faculty and staff are juggling the stresses of courses, work and other responsibilities, and our college stands ready to offer support and compassion.

The success and well-being of students, faculty and staff are among our highest priorities, and I am committed to helping bring us together to foster a culture of care. To that end, I am pleased to share a few new and ongoing initiatives aimed at helping us all thrive.

Our college will soon welcome a full-time embedded counselor. The new position, which will serve Humanities and Social Sciences undergraduate and graduate students, is part of a university-wide initiative to expand the Counseling Center’s influence and provide supplementary mental health services. We also plan to designate spaces on campus (close to the new embedded counselor) for students to drop in and connect with others. These spaces will complement the dozen drop-in spaces the university offers on campus.

Additionally, we are encouraging faculty and staff to participate in Mental Health First Aid. The eight-hour training program helps participants identify signs of addiction and mental illness and develop skills to assist members of our community experiencing those challenges.

Our college’s trained Mental Health First Aid personnel will join mental health student ambassadors to promote outreach and advocacy on campus. The university’s long-standing Mental Health Ambassador Program centers on peer-to-peer education and its 30 ambassadors comprise undergraduate and graduate students. We are also encouraging our college’s faculty and staff to participate in suicide prevention training to recognize warning signs and help students get the support they need.

These efforts complement the many resources offered by the university, which has instituted wellness days to enable students, faculty and staff to step away from work and focus on their mental and overall health. Wellness days have been added to the academic calendar through the spring semester of 2026. Building on that concept, our college offered its first Wellness Week in January, and it is our goal that this will become an annual event.

I’m hopeful these new and prevailing efforts combine to strengthen and support the culture of care that already exists at our college and university. They will be additional, invaluable tools as we move forward to a new academic year. 

As your dean, I am dedicated to continuing these efforts and exploring new ones in the coming year, and I challenge myself every day to find new ways to embrace this culture of care in every interaction I have. When we work together, I know we can make a positive difference in the lives of our community. I will do everything in my power to do just that.