Community college student mental health is a critical topic among community college leaders, faculty, and staff. Mental health concerns among community college students are more prevalent and more pronounced than among students at four-year institutions. The recent pandemic has further amplified students’ mental health concerns. Poor mental health can negatively affect student success outcomes such as persistence within courses, grade point average, and credential completion. Even though the research in this area is growing, additional work is necessary to fully grasp the scope and details of the issue.
Within this book, Latz outlines the contours of the issue by explaining what is already known. She then uses data from a study involving interviews with community college faculty to further explain the issue from their unique and important vantage points. Readers will learn about both the professional lives of community college faculty and their experiences with and perspectives of their students, many of whom navigate mental health issues. The book is concluded with robust recommendations for community college leaders who are seeking ways to better support their students.
Dr. Amanda O. Latz is Associate Professor of Higher Education and Community College Leadership at Ball State University. Her research agenda includes understanding the lived experiences of community college student and faculty.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
SECTION ONE: THE BACKGROUND
Community College Faculty and their Students
Research on Community College Student Mental Health
SECTION TWO: THE FACULTY
Career Pathways, Dispositions, and Pedagogies
Students’ Assets and Obstacles
SECTION THREE: THE DISCUSSIONS
Doing Emotional Labor
Rejecting the Monolith
Navigating Institutional Structures and Systems
Making It Work
SECTION FOUR: THE FUTURE
What Can We Do Now?
How Might the Future Look?
Appendix A: Methodological Overview
Appendix B: Interview Script and Protocol
About the Author
Amanda Latz’s book couldn’t be more timely and necessary for community colleges and those who teach in them. Student mental health has been identified as reaching crisis levels in colleges, intensified by the COVID pandemic, and faculty are on the front lines—this is especially true in community colleges. In Community College Student Mental Health, Latz provides critical insight into community college faculty experiences, drawing on her own research and providing practical insights into “what we can do now.” This book is an exceptionally valuable resource to anyone working with community college students.
Amanda Latz makes a timely and critical contribution to helping community college leaders understand the current landscape of student mental health. Her unique approach of open-ended discussions with faculty -- who see students every day -- brings nuance and a welcome reminder that mental health is central to the academic mission of a college. Highly recommended.
Dr. Amanda Latz's work in this book is nothing short of intentional and thoughtful. Finally we have work that encompasses the extraordinary world of the community college—the students, the staff and the college’s vital role in higher education. Dr. Latz’s ability to recognize the essential, yet often unseen role community college faculty play in the lives of their students, including their mental health, is unmatched. This book lays the groundwork for beginning to better support the mental health needs of this often-overlooked population of students. It is a must read for all administrators, educational advocates, and policy makers.
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the mental health issues our students deal with, and Amanda O. Latz focuses that light on a key group (faculty) who work with those students daily. Latz herself is a former community college instructor, and her love and respect for the community college, its faculty and students shines throughout the text. Drawing heavily from interviews with 22 community college faculty, the wider literature, and her own experience, Latz paints a portrait of the important role that community college faculty play in the lives of their students and the passion, strength, and care with which they approach their involvement. She recognizes the critical role that faculty members play in supporting students experiencing mental health issues and the resulting impact on the faculty themselves. This book provides insight and much needed information that will be helpful to those leading community colleges at all levels. This book is a unique and relevant contribution that I highly recommend for current and future leaders in the field.
Simply put, I can’t think of anyone connected to community colleges or community college research who doesn’t need to read this book, now! Latz’s years of research on students’ mental health intersects with our critical need for information and triangulates with great writing, resulting in a book you can’t put down! The comprehensive review of the literature on students’ mental health is presented via engaging writing followed by faculty stories of their experiences which will be familiar to many. The book thankfully ends with specific, doable steps for faculty and staff (who are not mental health professionals), to be able to use. Today.
In Community College Student Mental Health: Faculty Experiences and Institutional Actions, Latz describes how colleges struggle to meet the surging demand for mental health services on campus. Latz is at the forefront of researching the mental health crisis students are encountering coming out of the global COVID-19 pandemic and how community colleges can play an important part in addressing these concerns.
In this book, Dr. Latz adds to the conversation by focusing on the mental health of community college students and she helps us to understand how faculty might enhance their impact and effectiveness by truly knowing and supporting the whole student.
Dr. Latz uses her research in a way that brings to life the very real mental health needs of community college students. Faculty and student experiences are used to describe the growing concerns of leaders across the country. Dr. Latz concludes with practical approaches to addressing the concerns and issues that must be addressed by community colleges if they want to contribute to the wellbeing and success of their students.