Information for Faculty and Staff

Why Get Involved?

Faculty and staff members in the University community have the ability to positively influence student decision making.The influence that you have on students can make a difference in their choices regarding alcohol use and abuse.

How to Get Involved

There are a variety of ways in which faculty and staff can support the University's alcohol prevention efforts:

Use Your Syllabus Use your syllabus to set expectations and norms for student behaviors. Consider including a brief section on the negative effects of alcohol abuse on academic performance.
Correct Student Misperceptions Many students have misperceptions regarding the amount of alcohol use among students in the University community. Students tend to overestimate the amount of alcohol that their peers consume, including frequency and amount of consumption. You can help students to understand the facts by being knowledgeable about alcohol use and abuse statistics and by avoiding statements that might reinforce common misperceptions.
Avoid Sending Mixed Messages Monitor your participation in certain events (i.e., bar crawls), personal language, and examples used in class to avoid promoting alcohol abuse.
Take Advantage of Teachable Moments Use serious situations involving alcohol abuse as teachable moments. When alcohol-related events occur in the media or discussions come up in the classroom or in conversation, use the opportunity to discuss alcohol use and abuse. For example, discuss appropriate behavior within the profession, balancing social and academic life, the effects of alcohol use on academic performance, or challenge misperceptions concerning the role of alcohol in the University community.
Take A Few Minutes to Talk
Take a few minutes in class or in conversations with students to be vocal about alcohol issues in an effort to raise awareness about student alcohol abuse. Use topics such as current events and upcoming campus events to speak out about alcohol abuse and the negative impact that alcohol can have on student success.
Academic Advising Bring up alcohol use and abuse in academic advising sessions. These sessions are a perfect opportunity to help a student explore ways that their alcohol use/abuse or that of others may be negatively impacting their academic performance.
Make a Referral Too often, struggling students do not ask for help directly, but faculty or staff members are in positions to offer resources in the way of referrals to the Counseling Center, Dean of Students, and/or Student Behavioral Concern Committee. Close contact between faculty and staff may be a vehicle for identifying students who are struggling at least partially due to alcohol use and referring these students to resources on campus or in the local community.

Curriculum Infusion

Faculty have the unique opportunity to integrate alcohol-related content into their curriculum in an effort to educate students and assist in prevention efforts. The following are ways that faculty can infuse alcohol-related content into new or well-established courses:

Create an Assignment Alcohol and other drug use, related problems, and prevention measures in our society are influenced by many of the factors studied in the social sciences, courses in fields such as economics, sociology, criminology, and political science are natural venues for linking academics with alcohol issues.
Discuss Alcohol or Alcohol-Related Issues in Class Find ways to integrate discussions on alcohol and alcohol-related issues into your academic classes.
Research Projects Have students research a topic related to alcohol use, alcohol abuse, or other alcohol-related issues and gather data. Alcohol-related topics can be easily integrated into the syllabus of most classes.

Some information provided on this page was adapted, with permission, from Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Programs at North Dakota State University (www.ndsu.edu/alcoholinfo) and the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center at Virginia Tech (www.alcohol.vt.edu).