259254 Faculty Perceptions of their Roles in Alcohol Education/Prevention at One University

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Georgia N. L. J. Polacek, PhD CHES , Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Katherine Ott Walter, PhD, CHES , Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Jonathan Paulo , Libraries and Educational Tech, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Shannon Johnson, PhD , School of Communication Studies, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Alcohol use among college students continues to be a major public health threat to our nation Regrettably, there is very little involvement of faculty in many of the prevention strategies, yet faculty are the ones who see the students more often and understand the impact alcohol has on academic performance. The campus, a public institution in the Southeast US, received national notoriety in 2010 due to a student party gone wild. A survey was sent to all faculty members (N=900) to explore their perceptions of faculty roles and responsibilities in alcohol education/prevention. The researchers adapted the Core's Faculty and Staff Environmental Alcohol and Other Drug Survey to include only questions regarding alcohol and created additional questions concerning Friday classes. Completed surveys were collected from 122 faculty members. The majority (95%) agreed that institutions of higher education should be involved in alcohol awareness efforts. However, only 77% agreed that alcohol consumption negatively affects the quality of student life. Similarly, 76% percent agreed agreed that faculty can positively affect (reduce) student's alcohol consumption. Additionally, responses from open-ended questions revealed that faculty perceived they have the most impact by holding students accountable, maintaining academic rigor, and having open, honest discussions about alcohol use. The university has begun bringing faculty in to the student alcohol use discussion by increasing the visibility of the office of substance abuse prevention, identifying high-risk weekends and asking faculty to remember these when planning assignments in the semester, and offering workshops on infusion of alcohol prevention in the curriculum.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the challenges faculty face in addressing alcohol use among college students. Participants will be able to explain ways in which faculty can be involved in alcohol education/prevention.

Keywords: Alcohol Problems, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have helped with analyzing the data and writing the article.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.