Series of Interviews Presents Current Trends and Perspectives on Issues for Higher Education

Over the last year, Kognito has had the opportunity to speak to many educators, clinicians, and researchers in higher education to discuss some of the important issues that college students and faculty face today. As a result, we’ve curated a series of compelling interviews from these experienced product collaborators and subject matter experts to present trends, data, and perspectives on current topics, such as the prescription drug epidemic on campuses, sexual misconduct prevention, and the importance of gender pronouns and identity when it comes to creating an inclusive campus.

We invite you to check out our Higher Education Expert Series to learn more about these important issues and how they are addressed by leading subject matter experts in the field. Continue reading for highlights of the series or download the full Higher Education Expert Series PDF today.

The Prescription Drug Use Epidemic on Campus

Adults ages 18–25 misuse prescription drugs more than any other age group. For more insight on this epidemic, we interviewed Dr. Laura Holt, a Clinical Psychologist and Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Psychology at Trinity College. For the past 14 years, Dr. Holt has conducted research on substance use and misuse in college settings and has collaborated with Kognito as a subject matter expert for our product, Prescription Drugs.

Our conversation with Dr. Holt highlights her knowledge of prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, and her research on college students who use stimulant medication without a prescription. When asked what students are saying about why they are using prescription stimulant drugs, Dr. Holt replied, “Prescription stimulant misuse is motivated, frankly, by a desire to stay up when students have work that’s piling up such as studying for an exam or writing a paper. In some cases, it’s to counteract the effects of alcohol, if they’ve been particularly tired, or have not gotten enough sleep and they need to go to class. Students will sometimes say it makes monotonous work more interesting. They’re able to focus on it and stick with it longer.”

Dr. Holt goes on to point out key findings in her research, including the risk factors that might make a student more likely to engage in prescription stimulant misuse, the potential for significant problems when stimulant medications are misused without a prescription, and the fact that using stimulant drugs without a prescription is unlikely to give students an edge when it comes to better grades or a higher GPA.

Dr. Troy Seppelt Talks Sexual Misconduct Prevention for Faculty and Staff

Dr. Troy L. Seppelt has served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point for eight years. He also serves as Deputy Title IX Coordinator and oversees the campus counseling center, student health services, and the center for prevention. In an interview, Dr. Seppelt shed some light on today’s campus climate, the importance of sexual misconduct prevention for faculty, and his contributions as a subject matter expert for our product, Sexual Misconduct Prevention for Faculty & Staff.

Dr. Seppelt discussed why sexual misconduct prevention training is essential for students, as well as college faculty and staff.

“Of course, for this topic we should always renew our skills. We should refresh our knowledge about the topic [sexual misconduct prevention] so we can care for our fellow humans effectively. As faculty and staff, we can influence the campus culture. If we’re talking about prevention, how do we become visible and have a strong voice saying what is not OK – not only for our campus, but for our broader communities? We can do that alongside of students. That’s why I always appreciate being loud about the need for faculty and staff to learn, grow, and develop skills in this area.”

Fostering an Inclusive Campus with the Right Pronouns

A person’s gender identity is their internal sense of gender, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth. Using the right pronouns is essential for fostering an inclusive, respectful relationship or community. We spoke to Rosalie M. Rodriguez, Senior Associate Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Director of the Butler Center, Colorado College for more insight on the importance of using the correct pronouns to create an inclusive and welcoming campus.

When asked why gender pronouns are crucial, Rosalie stated, “Using the personal pronouns someone has chosen is a way to show respect and honor their identity . . . Ignoring these preferred pronouns can be offensive and imply the oppressive notion that intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people do not or should not exist. In a learning or work environment, pronouns can help individuals feel seen and heard. This is important in any environment, but in the context of school or work, it gives individuals more confidence and assurance that they can be themselves and allows them to contribute more to the group.”

Rosalie goes on to explain why it’s harmful to assume gender pronouns and what to do if you accidentally use the wrong pronoun. She also provides information and resources for colleges and universities on what they can do to be inclusive to all genders on campus.

Download the Higher Education Expert Series

Check out our subject matter expert series for higher education educators and administrators for more insight and to learn about the trends, data, and perspectives on these current issues by downloading the Higher Education Expert Series today.

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