William & Mary’s Division of Student Affairs took a number of steps in 2023 to advance academic and health and wellness resources, and make those programs more affordable than ever for the university’s students.
“I am so proud of our Student Affairs team,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler. “This spring, our goals are bold, and we are hard at work helping students access the whole university experience. It’s in large part thanks to generous, thoughtful support from the Parents Fund and other donors that Student Affairs is better able to help students flourish.”
In addition to being one of the largest employers on campus, with approximately 650 paid student positions, Student Affairs champions meaningful campus engagement, leadership development, belonging and well-being at little or no cost to students.
Here are five notable ways that staff members in Student Affairs are cultivating affordable opportunities for students.
5. Free tutoring through TutorZone
In October 2022, TutorZone announced that tutoring services will be free for students this academic year. The funding for free tutoring came from a leadership gift in honor of the Sadler Center expansion and from the Parents Fund.
In the wake of this announcement, the fall semester saw 660 individual students sign up for 3,004 appointments, an 82% increase in appointments from fall 2021. By removing the barrier of cost, sign ups blew through previous demand records, including the entire 2021-22 academic year.
TutorZone provides tutoring services for more than 150 courses through one-on-one sessions with peer tutors who have received an A or A- in the course they are tutoring. In addition to helping with coursework, tutors support students as they build skill sets, like note-taking and building relationships with professors, that lead to excellence inside and outside of the classroom.
Together, tutors and students seeking support build relationships across class years and majors, and in the case of many student veterans, life experience.
“At W&M, the successful student goes to Tutorzone,” said Charlie Foster, director of the Office of Student Veteran Engagement. “TutorZone has worked with us to ensure that student veterans experience on-campus tutoring services that fit best with their needs, including matching our veterans with tutors that relate to them. It makes a huge difference when it comes to cultivating belonging and community on campus.”
The TutorZone is a certified International Tutor Training Program by the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA), which assures that tutors provide the highest quality services to all students. William & Mary covers the cost for tutors to earn their certifications, which they can use for life.
4. 24/7 access to telehealth for counseling with TimelyCare
This semester, W&M has transitioned to TimelyCare as a comprehensive service offering students telehealth for counseling and psychiatry.
TimelyCare is a virtual health and well-being platform available to students 24/7, regardless of insurance status. Students may visit timelycare.com/wm or download the TimelyCare app to access care.
W&M offers TimelyCare as an on-demand telehealth service to complement the services available at the Counseling Center. Students can use TimelyCare to access TalkNow on-demand emotional support as well as to schedule counseling, health coaching, psychiatry and self-care guidance.
Students receive a referral from an in-person appointment at W&M’s Counseling Center or a TimelyCare telehealth visit. When visiting with a TimelyCare psychiatrist or advanced nurse practitioner who can prescribe medications for psychiatric care, students can expect an initial hour-long consultation and follow-up visits that last an average of 15 minutes.
In addition to services for students, TimelyCare offers guidance and resources for faculty and staff looking for information to help students who may be struggling. The service, called Faculty Support, is also available at all hours by calling 833-4-TIMELY, ext. 2.
3. WeBe: free well-being platform
This month, W&M Health & Wellness launched a new collaborative pilot program with WeBe, an app that helps student, faculty and staff users track their personal well-being.
The app encourages users to track daily markers of their well-being, including their emotional experience, physical health, relationships, activity, sleep and, optionally, spirituality. Users are invited to share their challenges and successes with a small group of trusted family or friends by creating “pods.” Users are also able to join or create affinity groups for shared support and resources.
Kelly Crace, associate vice president for W&M Health & Wellness, and Lindsay Heck, integrative wellness manager, are working closely with the WeBe team to develop features customized for the W&M community. Features are expected to include three enhanced affinity groups for the broader W&M community, for student veterans and for student-athletes. Administrators of these enhanced affinity groups will be able to share personalized resources and tools.
“WeBe provides an opportunity to tune in to our wellness practices daily and to support others in that process,” said Crace. “In this relentless world of pace, uncertainty and pressure, it is important to be intentional about our well-being.”
The WeBe app was co-founded by two psychologists, Barbara van Dehlen, former executive director of a mental health task force at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Randy Phelps, formerly a senior executive of the American Psychology Association (APA) and CEO of Give an Hour, a national nonprofit providing free mental health care to those in need, including military populations and COVID-19 frontline healthcare workers. WeBe’s third co-founder and chief operating officer is Michael Akinyele, an executive leader also highly experienced in the healthcare industry.
Throughout the spring semester, Health & Wellness will share additional information with the campus community about WeBe. In the meantime, the WeBe app is available from the Apple Store and on Google Play.
2. Free training: courageous leadership & authentic excellence
For students who become fellows of the Wellness-Centered Courageous Leadership Program, all expenses are covered. Beginning with a three-day retreat and continuing throughout the academic year, students develop skills as values-based leaders with meaningful impact on and off campus.
Andrew Stelljes, associate vice president for Student Engagement and Leadership, who spearheads the program alongside Crace, describes the pre-academic year retreat as the “shining star of the program.”
Students convene in the initial retreat in the mountains at Wintergreen Resort, spending this time living together, bonding and being introduced to the principles of flourishing and courage within leadership. The cohort builds a strong sense of community through high-impact, shared experiences designed to promote personal reflection, intellectual insights and exploration of a purpose-driven life. Students explore what it means to be a values-based leader, to create safe spaces for emotionally charged dialogues and to manage problem-solving with empathy and understanding for others.
Reinforcing their retreat experiences, the cohort convenes weekly. As students gain skills to help train others across campus to further deepen a culture of wellness and engagement across William & Mary, they report their progress back to their mentors and peers.
The Courageous Leadership Program was created in partnership with Parent & Family Council chairs, Meredith McCollum and Michael McCollum.
This academic year’s cohort of fellows can also apply for funding on a project that is personally meaningful and valuable to the campus community. For two students serving as co-directors of the Courageous Leadership Institute for high-schoolers, this means taking what they’ve learned, synthesizing it into a curriculum and using it to teach the next generation of students.
1: Emergency help: HEART Fund
The Health Emergency and Resources for the Tribe (HEART) Fund offers meaningful and transformative support to students who are dealing with financial hardships due to extenuating circumstances.
From a student who can’t afford to replace broken eyeglasses to a first-year student struggling to overcome housing insecurity while maintaining their GPA, the HEART Fund allows Student Affairs to solve urgent, unexpected problems quickly, quietly and with dignity.
“The HEART Fund allows us to touch the lives of our students through kindness,” Ambler said. “It reflects and supports our commitment to be present when students need us the most.”
The HEART Fund was established in 2019 through private support from members of the W&M Parent and Family Council, Teri Dale Dungan ‘88 and Thomas Dungan III ‘88, and has since expanded with additional funding.