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Board 83: Lessons Learned: A Three-office Partnership to Engage Graduate TAs with Mental Health Training

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Faculty Development Poster Session

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Constituent Committee

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Paper Authors


Ken Yasuhara University of Washington

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Ken Yasuhara is an instructional consultant and assistant director at the Office for the Advancement of Engineering Teaching & Learning (ET&L) at the University of Washington. He completed an A.B. in computer science at Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. When he finds the time, he plays with bicycle tools or knitting needles.

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Katie Malcolm University of Washington

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Natacha M.R. Foo Kune Ph.D.

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The prevalence of mental illness, especially among graduate students, compels colleges and universities to improve how they prepare and support graduate students in managing mental health challenges for themselves, their peers, and the students whom they serve as teaching assistants. We share lessons learned from the collaborative design and implementation of an interactive workshop intended to engage new graduate student TAs with training about mental health challenges, intervention strategies, and campus resources. The workshop was the result of a partnership between an engineering-specific faculty development office, a campus-wide center for teaching and learning, and a campus-wide counseling center at the University of Washington (Seattle campus). The workshop provided national and local statistics on mental health, to raise awareness of the prevalence of mental health challenges and to combat stigma surrounding them. There was dual focus on the mental health of TAs and the students they would serve, and the workshop included small-group discussions on scenarios that represented a range of mental health challenges. One function of these discussions was to motivate interest in mini-lecture segments on warning signs and intervention strategies. The workshop closed with a brief overview of the many campus resources available to them as TAs and as students themselves. Graduate student interest in the workshop was far greater than anticipated, and evaluation data suggests the workshop was received well. Feedback was positive, despite the workshop’s ambitious scope and limited duration, as well as the challenges of facilitating active learning in a large auditorium. This important and timely effort succeeded because of the combination of subject matter expertise from the counseling center’s director and teaching/learning expertise from the engineering and campus-wide faculty developers. This paper describes the alignment of interests and opportunities among the three partners, how the workshop was designed and why, more details about the workshop’s impact, and future work.

Yasuhara, K., & Malcolm, K., & Foo Kune, N. M. (2019, June), Board 83: Lessons Learned: A Three-office Partnership to Engage Graduate TAs with Mental Health Training Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32440

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