Core Requirement 2.10
The institution provides student support programs,
services, and activities consistent with its mission that are
intended to promote student learning and enhance the
development of its students. (Student support services)
Student support services at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) 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:
- Student Development Services
- Academic Support
- Other Programs and Services
UTMB’s student population is consistent with that of an upper level health-related institution. The student profile demonstrates that the majority of the students are graduate and professional students. Approximately 25 percent are distant education students pursuing bachelor or master level degrees. Student support services are available to all students, including distant education students. In cases where it is not feasible for distance education students to utilize services provided in Galveston (some distance education students live in the greater Houston/Galveston area), referrals are made to institutions where students are located. At University of Texas (UT) System institutions, such services are usually readily accessible. They are also usually available at other institutions, but, if necessary, referrals are made to community counseling resources.
Student Development Services
Student Health provides health and counseling for students enrolled at all four UTMB schools. The mission of Student Health is to assist students in keeping healthy with positive outlooks toward their future. Their mission is: (1) to provide accessible and timely care that is personalized, confidential, cost effective; (2) to educate students, emphasizing health promotion, healthy life styles, and lifelong disease prevention; and (3) to assist the student services community in providing a supportive environment for students to pursue personal wellness. Health services available to students include: providing required immunizations, titers, and TB skin testing; assessment and treatment of occupational exposure to blood and body fluids or other communicable diseases; primary care; evaluation and treatment of minor illness and injury; referrals to specialty clinics; well woman and well man exams and family planning; management of chronic stable diseases; and travel medications and immunizations. After hours and emergency care is available to all students (1)
Counseling and Psychological Services
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers students the opportunity to talk privately about personal, academic, or other concerns in a safe, confidential setting. Services include individual counseling, marital, relationship and family counseling, psychological assessment, and career consultation.
Support and consultation are also available for staff, faculty, and others who have concerns about the biopsychosocial well-being of a student. Suicide prevention service and crises intervention services are available at Student Counseling during weekday business hours, by phone through UTMB’s 24/7 Access Center, or through The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit charity committed to reducing youth suicide. The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Awareness and Prevention Project provides resources for information, assessment, and treatment referral for those with personal or family concerns about alcohol or other drug use or abuse. Services include individual screening, treatment referral resources, and short term counseling, including lifestyle management strategies to cope with stress and anxiety without mood altering substances.
Additional services include counseling for veterans, grief and loss, and reporting unprofessional behavior and mistreatment. A list of apps and downloads is provided on the CAPS website to support student well-being (2)
Office of Student Life
The Office of Student Life provides programs and activities that support students’ involvement at UTMB 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 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 numerous projects for UTMB 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 (4)
. The Coordinator of Services with Students with Disabilities 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 (ADA) 504 Coordinator and the University’s ADA liaison to determine if requests are reasonable and within the guidelines. The 504 Coordinator provides guidance to UTMB 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 UTMB community (5)
Orientation Programs (6)
UTMB’s Welcome Weekend is a collaborative University event sponsored by the Office of Student Life, student organization leaders, and the UTMB Alumni Office to welcome and provide a brief orientation for the fall incoming students. Welcome Weekend showcases the UTMB culture, provides opportunities to build peer networks and introduce UTMB leadership to new students. Parents are welcome to attend with their students, but are not required to do so. 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. Program topics include overview of UTMB, professionalism, academic integrity, students’ rights and responsibilities, cultural competence and diversity, and information related to UTMB Student Services. Both Galveston-based and distant education students are invited to attend Welcome Weekend (6).
To ensure students have knowledge of academic support programs, the Office of University Student Services provides this information in the New Student Orientation Handbook given to every student attending the Welcome Week Program (7).
All School Orientation Day is a requirement for all new students, both Galveston-based and distance education students. Morning sessions include HIPAA and other compliance training, protection of information, standard and isolation precautions, sexual harassment, health and fire safety, and other essential topics related to health, safety, privacy, and security. Afternoon sessions and any other orientation activities are school-specific (8)
Office of International Affairs
The Office of International Affairs provides programs and services to enhance and facilitate the stay of international staff and students at UTMB. These services include pre-U.S. arrival information and visa processing, orientation and education on matters relevant to the international populations, housing and financial information, and support of cross-cultural activities and experiences (9)
The schools of medicine, nursing, and health professions maintain offices of Student Affairs (10) (11) (12)
headed by an assistant dean, associate dean, or director. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences provides student affair services through the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs, following policies for student affairs addressed in their bylaws (13)
. Together with Student Health and the Counseling and Psychological Service in the Office of University Student Services, they coordinate comprehensive academic support in order to promote student learning and success.
All schools offer retention services include academic advising, career advising, screening for learning disabilities, and referrals as 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. For distance education students in the School of Nursing (SON) and the School of Health Professions (SHP), academic support programs, including tutoring, are available through Blackboard, videoconferences, and Skype (14) (15)
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 and annually 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 (16)
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 (17)
Lee Hage Jamail Student Center
The Lee Hage Jamail Student Center (JSC) provides service, facilities, and educational and recreational programs that enhance the quality of student life The 19,000-square-foot, three-story centrally-located student center provides 24-hour access to students to accommodate the work and study schedule of UTMB students. Joe’s cafeteria, an ATM, a large meeting room, and special event space are located on the first floor. The second floor houses the Office of Student Life, Enrollment Services, the Student Government Association, and a conference room. The second floor also includes 20 workstations in a separate computer room. That room and additionally computers on each floor allow students to access their email, providing students with access to technology for independent and group learning and socialization.
The third floor of the student center, contains a game room equipped with ping pong tables, a pool table, a foosball table, and three television rooms with hook-ups for Wii, Playstation 3, and XBOX 360 video game consoles, all of which are available for check out in Office of Student Life. Lockers, study areas, and 27 inch Mac computer screens equipped with Parallels Desktop (Mac and PC) are also available on the third floor. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building and is also accessible in the outdoor eating area. There are flat-screen televisions and bulletin boards posted throughout the building for more information on University activities. The student center is governed by a student advisory board that makes recommendations to the Director of Student Life on policy and utilization issues (18)
Alumni Field House
UTMB recognizes the importance of providing an environment that encourages fitness and personal well-being. For over 30 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 (19)
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 (20)
UTMB 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 (21)
Computing, Networking and Support
Academic Computing provides information and support to students on the Microsoft Exchange email system, Web Course Tools (WebCT/Blackboard), Breeze, Breeze Live, Wimba, and other information technologies and resources. WebCT/Blackboard is regularly upgraded and is designated as a mission-critical institutional system. This designation provides a higher level than normal of security, monitoring, and redundancy. The system substantially enhances student learning by expanding and augmenting traditional courses, as well as providing the infrastructure for hybrid courses and fully electronic, Web-based courses used in distance education (22)
. Other Academic Computing services include maintenance of UTMB’s course management system, instruction and technical assistance in developing online courses, course evaluation systems, online testing software, administration of listservs, assisting students with remote access and Web databases, and computer support via the Web.
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 3.8.1 for a detailed description of the resources and services available through the Moody Medical Library.)
Safety and Security
The University of Texas Medical Branch 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 3.11.2 for a comprehensive overview of safety and security programs and services.)
Support Services Student Feedback
The annual Online Student Government Association Satisfaction Survey and student advisory groups (focus groups) provide the Institution and departments with relevant input from students. Galveston-based and distance education students received similar surveys with some differences in questions based upon the environment and services each group is likely to experience.
For students in Galveston, the 2013 survey consists of 221 questions or parts of questions, including 12 demographic questions, 137 Likert scale, 21 yes/no, two multiple choice, and 25 free text comments. The survey was sent electronically to 2,259 Galveston-based students with 1,177 usable responses for a response rate of 52.1% (23)
Distance education students’ survey consists of 124 questions or parts of questions, including 12 demographics, 80 Likert scale, 10 yes/no, and 11 free text comments. The survey was sent via email to 678 students identified as distance education with 328 usable responses a response rate of 48.4% (24)
The Associate Vice President for Student Services 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 (25).
The following table provides a comparison between distance education and Galveston-based students obtained from the 2013 survey.
2013 Student Satisfaction Survey
|Information Services tools such as email and iSpace meet my needs for collaborating with peers and professors. (% Strongly Agree or Agree)
|Education Technologies – Please rate your level of satisfaction with UTMB email (%Very Satisfied or Satisfied)
|Library books, journals and databases meet my learning needs. (% Strongly Agree or Agree)
|Service desk phone support (x25200) effectively resolves my computing needs. (% Strongly Agree or Agree)
* GS=Galveston Students, DE=Distance Education Students
||UTMB Student Health
||Student Counseling Services and Psychological Services
||Office of Student Life
||UTMB Handbook of Operating Procedures, Section 7, subject 7.1, Policy 7.1.1, Students with Disabilities
||Students with Disabilities
||Student Life Welcome Weekend
||New Student Orientation Handbook
||All Schools Orientation Schedule
||UTMB Office of International Affairs
||Office of Student Affairs, School of Medicine
||Academic and Student Affairs, School of Health Professions
||Student Affairs, School of Nursing
||GSBS Bylaws, Student Affairs, pp. 7-8.
||Academic Support Programs for Off-Campus Students, School of Health Professions
||Academic Support Programs for Off-Campus Students, School of Nursing
SON Student Handbook, 2012, pp. 45-47
||UTMB Student Government
||Jamail Student Center
||UTMB Alumni Field House
||UTMB Intramural Sports
||UTMB Campus Housing
||Web Course Tools (Blackboard)
||Student Satisfaction Survey Galveston Based
||24. Student Satisfaction Survey Distance Education
||Examples of Improvements Made as a Response to Student Input to the Student Services Web Site