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Supporting students in their return to campus

In March, Taylor Clewell went from being a student on Ohio State’s Columbus campus to being a student from her home in Kansas City, Missouri, due to COVID-19. It wasn’t an easy transition. 

What helped Clewell adapt was her background as an academic coach at Ohio State’s Dennis Learning Center, where she helps fellow students understand how they can thrive academically. Much of that success is derived from improving study strategies and time management skills 

“I found I could apply those strategies to my own life and the challenges I was facing,” said Clewell, a third-year public health major.  

Clewell and those at the Dennis Learning Center use one-on-one coaching, group workshops and other avenues to help Ohio State’s students succeed in higher education. The center’s social media pages also offer quick tips and updates on services. 

With campus reopening for autumn semester, Clewell and her colleagues plan to continue virtual coaching at Dennis and through Zoom sessions. They also are creating new ways to support students by putting many of their coaching strategies into YouTube videos and online “tip sheets” for online lectures, test taking,  time management, stress management and adjusting to higher education in general.  

“What we’re doing is inspired by our personal challenges and experiences with going online and also by the educational psychology research we know helps students learn,” Clewell said. “Of course, we like to tailor things to the individual, but we want as many students as possible to have access to our resources because these strategies have been proven to be so helpful.”  

Beyond this, Clewell is involved in efforts to improve the health of the student body and the surrounding community. She is vice president of operations for Universal Health Aid Columbus (UHAC), a public health-focused student organization. 

“Our goal is to improve access to health care for underserved populations,” she said. “We do that through our community engagement.” 

That engagement typically includes UHAC’s annual health screening event and university events throughout the year. For the upcoming fall, UHAC’s leadership is in the planning stages to hold events for students related to stress and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of our events will aim to help students de-stress, learn more about mental health and promote healthy behaviors on campus,” Clewell said. “We know students are not only stressed about academics, but about what’s going on in the world and how they can safely and successfully attend classes and do the things they’d normally do as college students.”

Like her fellow students, Clewell is due to return to the Columbus campus in August. She said being a student in the College of Public Health is a major reason she trusts Ohio State’s plans for reopening.  

“It’s been comforting seeing faculty from the College of Public Health help with the reopening plans because I know them, or know of them, and trust them to help Ohio State make informed decisions,” she said. “I know they’re doing everything they can to make sure we have a safe reopening and a safe return to campus.”     

Published: July 15, 2020 

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