Student support services at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are consistent with the mission of the University, which state that “scholarly teaching, innovative scientific investigation, and state-of-the-art patient care [are provided] in a learning environment to better the health of society." UTMB’s multiple services, programs, and activities for students enhance that learning environment. Services, programs, and activities are organized into the following three areas:
Other Programs and Services
Student Development Services
Student Wellness and Counseling
Student Wellness provides counseling and health services for students enrolled in all four UTMB schools. The mission of Student Wellness is to provide: 1) effective health and wellness programs and services; 2) personal counseling and crisis intervention; 3) alcohol and drug awareness and prevention programs; and 4) academic support programs that foster student academic and personal success. Health services available to students include primary care, physicals, well woman exams and family planning, screening for and provision of required immunizations and annual TB testing, management of exposures to blood borne pathogens, and evaluation and treatment of minor illness and injuries. The alcohol and substance abuse awareness and prevention program includes educational programs, individual assessment, and counseling related to substance use issues (1).
Counseling services include individual counseling, marital, relationship and family counseling, psychological assessment and career consultation, psychiatric consultation, evaluation, study and test taking services, and medication management. Crisis intervention and referral assistance are also available. Counseling services are also available for students’ immediate family and significant others as scheduling allows (2).
Office of Student Life
The Office of Student Life provides programs and activities that support students’ involvement on campus and in their community, enhance their personal and professional development, and complement their learning experience.
Each year the Office of Student Life leads and facilitates cultural, recreational, and social celebrations, ceremonies, and events for the University community. There are over 60 active student organizations at UTMB. Most are either professional- or discipline-specific, but some reflect cultural, religious, social, or other special interest. Each year these organizations continue UTMB’s tradition of service, activism, and cultural opportunities by organizing hundreds of projects for the campus and the Galveston community.
Through additional participation in University related activities, students discover multicultural and global perspectives, civic and individual responsibility, respect for individuals, a sense of competence, and the capacity to work well with others (3).
UTMB is committed to equal access of students with disabilities and supportive of a learning environment that provides reasonable accommodation of their disability. The Associate Vice President of University Student Services serves as Coordinator of Services with Students with Disabilities. The Coordinator provides students with a point of contact and ensures that the requests for services and accommodation are reviewed and handled expeditiously. The Coordinator works in concert with the University Americans with Disabilities Act 504 Coordinator and the School ADA Liaison to determine if requests are reasonable and within the guidelines. The 504 Coordinator provides guidance to the campus at large and students in particular to ensure compliance with legal requirements for access. The program advocates not only for equal access and appropriate accommodations but also for respect for students with disabilities within the campus community (4).
Student Orientation programs incorporate student learning and student development in its mission. The overall objective is to initiate the integration of new students into the educational, cultural, and social climate of the university with information about student policies, and student services. In addition, QUEST, the New Student Weekend that is hosted by students from the four schools, provides programs and social events to help students develop networks and information about the university and its traditions. Programs and segments are presented to enhance students' transition and overall educational experiences. The program topics include: Overview of the Institution, Professionalism, Academic Integrity, Students Rights and Responsibilities, Cultural Competence and Diversity, and information related to University Student Services (5a) (5b).
Office of International Affairs
The Office of International Affairs is located in UTMB Human Resources. The Office provides programs and services to enhance and facilitate the stay of international staff and students at UTMB. These services include: immigration advising and visa processing; orientation and education on matters relevant to the international population; support of cross-cultural activities and experiences; and serving as liaison among university departments, government agencies, private organizations and the local community (6).
Retention and career planning services are provided to UTMB students in order to enhance their academic performance and to advance their career goals. The Office of Student Affairs (7) and Student Wellness (8) coordinate comprehensive academic support in order to promote student learning and success. Retention services include academic advising, career advising, screening for learning disabilities, and referrals if necessary. Other programs offered are individualized and group work/workshops on study skills, time management, test-anxiety, stress management national board preparation, and assessment of learning styles. These services are provided by master's and PhD prepared staff in the schools and Student Wellness. Tutoring services are also available for those students experiencing academic difficulty. Career Counseling (9) is available to students through workshops and individual career counseling sessions and provides employment and residency fairs, resume and curriculum vitae preparation, and an introduction to and assistance with the residency application process, match day, the MSPE letter, use of the ERAS system, interviewing, and the personal statement.
Other Programs and Services
The Student Government Association (SGA) serves as a voice for student concerns. SGA, an elected body of 23 students representing all four schools, is dedicated to improving students’ academic, social, and cultural environments. SGA’s budget is funded by student activities fees and the SGA Budget Committee meets once a week to discuss funding proposals from students or student organizations.
The SGA Senate meets twice a month over the noon hour in the Jamail Student Center. Once a year, the Senate meets with the UTMB President to submit its concerns and objectives. The Associate Vice President of University Student Services and Director of Student Life attend Senate meetings and support its objectives and activities (10).
The SGA retains an attorney (part-time) to meet with students to provide free advice on legal matters. These issues may include such topics as wills, contracts, landlord problems, or divorce proceedings. The attorney may also make phone calls and write letters on the students’ behalf. However, the attorney cannot represent a student in court or in matters related to the University or student/patient issues, nor can the lawyer advise on any issue involving another UTMB student (11).
An Ombudsman is available to all students as a neutral third party to hear University related grievances brought forth by students. The Ombudsman can listen and discuss student concerns or questions related to University policies and processes, as well as, provide referrals to help resolve the student’s problem in an objective non-threatening manner. The ombudsman can handle academic and non-academic concerns.
Lee Hage Jamail Student Center
The Lee Hage Jamail Student Center provides services, facilities, and educational and recreational programs that enhance the quality of student life. The Center, which includes a cafeteria, meeting and conference rooms, and special event space, provides opportunities for increased interaction and understanding among individuals from diverse backgrounds. The 19,000-square-foot Center is open 24 hours a day to assure access that accommodates the work and study schedules of UTMB’s 2,000-plus students. Students may enter the building after hours using electronic ID badges.
The third floor of the Center contains a TV and game room (with pool and ping-pong tables) and both group and general study areas. The second floor houses the headquarters of the SGA, student organizations, and the Office of Student Life. Additionally, there are offices for the yearbook editor, the lawyer for students, and senate and budget rooms. The student center also has more than 20 Internet-connected computers available to students on all floors.
The student center is governed by a student advisory board that makes recommendations to the Director of Student Life on policy and utilization issues (12).
The nationally accredited UTMB Child Care Center provides quality child care for up to 140 children of UTMB students and employees between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old. It operates under the auspices of the UTMB Auxiliary Enterprises. The Center, which is located on campus grounds, provides student parents with close access and confidence that their children are receiving good care (13).
Alumni Field House
UTMB recognizes the importance of providing an environment that encourages fitness and personal well-being. For over 25 years, the UTMB Alumni Field House has been a place for students, alumni, employees and their families, and retirees to unwind, get in shape, and have fun. The Field House is a state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facility offering aerobics, indoor basketball, a 25-meter pool, two softball fields, tennis courts, and a cushion-surfaced track. Students also have opportunities to use the facilities for research, work/study programs, and internships (14).
UTMB’s Office of Student Life offers an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to participate in seasonal intramural sports, including flag football, soccer (indoor and outdoor), ultimate Frisbee, dodge ball, basketball, volleyball, and softball. Intramural Sports are a crucial element of student life in that they promote and reinforce teamwork and personal accomplishment, mutual respect and integrity, competition and recreation, as well as, skill and exercise (15).
On-campus housing offers its residents low rent and facilities that are conveniently located within walking distance of all Medical Branch buildings. UTMB dormitory facilities are fully furnished, have a refrigerator, and include all utilities, laundry rooms with coin-operated machines, quick access to the Alumni Field House, prompt maintenance, and monthly pest control. Thirty one-bedroom apartment units also include full kitchens. Air conditioning and UTMB cable and data lines are provided at no additional charge (16).
Computing, Networking and Support
UTMB employs an organizational alignment in which the administrative, educational, research and patient care functions operate under a common information technology infrastructure. Information Services provides institutional information technology infrastructure support, including access management and security, data network, desktop support, help desk support, mainframes and distributed systems, video technical services, and voice communications. Information Services also provides support for most institutional applications.
All classrooms, residence hall rooms, laboratories, and offices on campus have connections to the campus network. Authorized users have access through these connections to institutional administrative systems, web systems, email, Internet 1 and 2, Texas supercomputing resources, the State of Texas-sponsored Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), and through LEARN, to medical and research resources nation wide, including the National Lambda Rail initiative. Wireless computing access points are located throughout campus, primarily in areas having high concentrations of students.
Major personal computer facilities are available to students in the Moody Medical Library, the Jamail Student Center and the Learning Resources Center in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Other smaller facilities are available in teaching, research and clinical areas throughout the institution (17).
Moody Medical Library
The Moody Medical Library provides knowledge-based information resources and services for the university community. The mission of the library is to advance the education, research, patient care, and public service programs of the university by obtaining, applying, and disseminating biomedical information and the tools for its management and use (See Core Requirement 2.9 for a detailed description of the resources and services available through the Moody Medical Library).
Learning Resources Center
Operating as a branch of the Moody Medical Library, the Learning Resources Center (LRC) enhances the instructional, research, and community service missions of the School of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS) and the School of Nursing (SON) through the use of independent learning resources (See Core Requirement 2.9 for a detailed description of the resources and services available through the Learning Resource Center).
Safety and Security
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Police Department strives to provide protection and service in a courteous manner to the faculty, staff, students, patients, and visitors of UTMB in conformance with the Regents Rules and Regulations, UTMB policies, or federal, state, or local laws and ordinances (See Comprehensive Standard 3.11.2 for a comprehensive overview of safety and security programs and services).
Assessment of Support Services
The annual Online Student Government Association Satisfaction Survey and student advisory groups (focus groups) provide the institution and departments with relevant input from students. The 2006 survey indicated a 97% satisfaction rate with student services at UTMB. Students reported 97% satisfaction with services and activities that support the diverse student population. Students reported that participation in campus activities (was) helpful in achieving educational goals by 93%. Students reported a 95% satisfaction with their Student Affairs Offices. Students also provide written comments and suggestions (18).
The Associate Vice President coordinates the survey administration and review of results. The results are compiled and provided to SGA Senate, Executive Leadership, and Service Directors. The Associate Vice President works with SGA on its key concerns and invites departments to meet with SGA Senators about their concerns. Student comments frequently result in changes being made (19). For example, the Office of Student Life received a concern that the computers in the student center did not have any functional scanners. As a result, a new scanner (HP 4820) was purchased and installed in June 2006.
Additionally, the UTMB Division of Student Services hosts annually an Open Forum for students and student leaders to address their concerns or ideas about academic and/or student support services directly with the faculty and administration. The PASS Council (Personal, Academic Support Services) comprised of campus administrators reviews issues and follows up on actions items to respond and/or resolve student concerns. The PASS Council meets quarterly to identify and proactively respond institutionally to student issues in order to enhance the academic campus environment.