NASPA Online Learning Community

Compassion, Communication, Connection: Building University-Wide Capacity for Motivational Interviewing

Data from the National College Health Assessment provides evidence that students who are not thriving academically are struggling in large part due to substance abuse and/or significant emotional distress. Students from traditionally marginalized subpopulations are more likely to experience emotional distress, substance misuse, and academic performance challenges (Moses & Smith, 2021). To address these struggles across our large and diverse student population, we recognized we would need to reinvent the way we involve faculty, staff, and student leaders who interact with students regularly. Upon review of the literature we developed the C3 program, which emphasizes Compassion, Communication, and Connection (C3) through the use of motivational interviewing techniques. C3 provides training and support of faculty, staff and student leaders in non-clinical positions to develop skills in the use of motivational interviewing (MI) as a way to strengthen a student’s motivation for and commitment to change. An aim of C3 is for motivational interviewing to be incorporated into the workflow and practices across all student facing areas of the university. We believe that by training faculty, staff and student-leaders to use effective behavior change conversation, students will make decisions that improve their emotional wellbeing and reduce problematic substance misuse.

Moses, K.S. & Smith, A. (2021, January 12-15). Using data to identify and address health inequities among diverse students [Conference session]. NASPA Wellbeing and Health Promotion Leadership Strategies Conference.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Explain how principles of motivational interviewing can be implemented in non-clinical settings to facilitate positive behavior change among students experiencing substance use disorders or emotional distress.
  2. Describe the key factors contributing to successful program outcomes.
  3. Examine the role of evaluation in improving program processes and outcomes.

Michelle Quispe

Health Educator Sr.

Arizona State University

Michelle Quispe, an alumnus of Northern Arizona University, received her Master of Arts in Health Psychology and is currently a Health Educator Sr. who supports health promotion and prevention at Arizona State University. She has 7+ years of experience in higher education using health promotion, prevention, and recovery initiatives to support student well-being and student success. As a Health Educator Sr., she utilizes peer educator strategies to drive student support models across the university to address high-level health education issues.

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