The Office of Health Promotion (OHP) has put together the inaugural “State of the Class 2019” document, which provides an overview of the experiences, beliefs and behaviors that influence the lives of Gonzaga students inside and outside of the classroom.

The purpose of the document is to provide insight for educators about the context in which students are showing up in the classroom. The information should raise faculty’s awareness about what students are experiencing and how they might provide guidance. 

“The hope was that this would be new information for some faculty that maybe didn’t expect the numbers to be as high or as low,” said Jenna Parisi, the director of OHP.

Each page of the document contains 24 backpacks to represent an average class size at GU. On each page, a number of the backpacks are highlighted to show how many students to expect are being affected by given topic. 

“I’m excited about [the State of the Class Document] as a springboard for faculty,” Parisi said. “Using the image of the backpack is a great visualization of something you want to carry around and teach others and that influences the way you show up both within and outside of the classroom.”

Half of the statistics come from an annual survey that is administered out of the Office of Health Promotions called the National College Health Assessment. In the spring, 669 students participated in the survey. 

According to the data, in a classroom of 24 students, 15.5 feel overwhelmed by all they have to do at least once every two weeks and 17.5 feel very sad at least once over the academic year. 

Out of the 24, five students are diagnosed by a professional for depression, 6 1/2 are diagnosed for anxiety, and 3 1/2 seriously consider suicide over the course of the academic year.

An average 18.5 students in the classroom drink alcohol and eight of them do something they regret. Eight students will use cannabis and 2 1/2 will use prescription drugs not prescribed to them. 

The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) said that 20 students are involved as members of clubs and organizations on campus. Twenty-three students feel tired, dragged out or sleepy during the day at least once during the week. 

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity (DICE) provided data regarding gender neutral pronouns. In an average classroom, it can be expected that 14 students believe forms should include options other than “man” or “woman” and that 8 1/2 students know someone who uses gender neutral pronouns. 

Nursing Professor Martin Schiavenato said that the information presented in the document was valuable for teachers and faculty to see. 

“The data helps me build a broader more encompassing picture of our students beyond the academic boundaries of grades and class performance,” Schiavenato said. “A deeper understanding of my students as they begin in this field informs my conduct both as a teacher, empathizing with my students and as a researcher hoping to positively affect the manner in which we prepare and engage with these health professionals.”

The front cover of the State of the Class document features a quote by a Jesuit educator, Fr. Vincent J. Duminuco that said: “… We must know as much as we can about the actual context within which teaching and learning takes place. As (educators) therefore, we need to understand the world of the student…What are the forces at work in them? How do they experience those forces influencing their attitudes, values and beliefs, and shaping their perceptions, judgments and choices?” 

According to Parisi, OHP does this survey every three years. She said this year’s results do not come as a shock as the they were expected by the office. Despite the information gathered, no changes are expected to be made to there be no changes made institutionally or in programming. The primary purpose of the survey was for research and further informing faculty and staff of the well-being of students on campus. 

Cara Konowalchuk is a staff writer.

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