Sarah offers alternative ways to participate in her class and allows students to study at their own pace. She always makes herself available to students and provides encouraging and insightful feedback. She encourages discussions about mental health in the classroom and definitely tries her best to provide help. She is one of the best professors I've met at Queen's! Sarah's class encourages me to rethink many aspects about my life and it helps me a lot in rethinking my relationship with my mental health.
Mental health, to me, is fundamental to overall wellbeing - a general state of security, satisfaction, and confidence, an ability to experience a full range of emotions, and a set of social interconnections that create positive supports.
The core of my support for student mental health comes from my belief that it is very difficult for anyone to learn effectively when they are too anxious, stressed, or otherwise ill to think clearly, and my course design proceeds from that premise. Given that students' lives are defined very strongly by their experiences in their courses and other aspects of their schoolwork, faculty and staff have an enormous amount of power over their wellbeing, and I try to take that very seriously. My approach to supporting student mental health happens mainly in how I have built flexibility and accessibility in to my courses, minimizing deadlines, offering multiple paths to demonstrating engagement, encouraging diverse interests, and enabling students to try new challenges in ways that don't result in reduced grades. As an educator, I think my role is primarily about creating an environment in which students are able to take their wellbeing into account alongside their acquisition of academic knowledge and skills.
--- Dr. Sarah Shulist