Scope of the Problem
Tulane students are significantly impacted by their alcohol use. Students who drink excessively usually have lower grades, are at risk for personal injury or harm, and even death. Additionally, students who don’t drink or who use alcohol moderately are also impacted by their peer’s alcohol use. 64% of Tulane students reported high risk drinking between two to five times during a previous two-week period (Healthy Minds, 2015). Concurrently, over 50% incoming first year students reported high risk drinking in the past two weeks compared to only 20% of incoming first-year students at peer institutions (private, 4-year research institutions) (NCHA 2014).
By offering alcohol-related education, faculty can significantly help influence the campus’ culture around alcohol use.
- The culture of excessive drinking by students has a negative impact on student health and the educational experience at Tulane.
- Excessive drinking by Tulane students has led to numerous negative consequences, including sexual assaults and deaths.
- These indicators are consistent with the reputation Tulane has developed as a “Party School” where alcohol and social life overshadow academic interests and rigor.
Why Faculty Are Essential in Prevention Efforts
Faculty engagement in substance misuse prevention is an essential component of an effective, comprehensive, university-wide prevention initiative.
Reaching students with prevention messages can be challenging. Often students come to campus with preconceived expectations of what their drinking and drug habits should be. The college environment may also foster, tolerate, or even reinforce these beliefs. However, as faculty members, you interact with students on a regular basis, having a unique and critical opportunity tom impact your student’s development and educational attainment.
Learning Activities for Classes
Request students to attend "The Buzz" workshop: Upon attending a workshop, students will bring a receipt of participation to the professor or TIDES mentor.
Assignment: eCHECKUP TO GO and Personal Reflections: The eCHECKUP TO GO online program would serve as a booster for continued alcohol education for first year students. Certificate of completion would need to be emailed or printed for faculty.
Assignment: Make written assignments or initiate discussions that encourage honest self-reflection concerning student substance use.
Guest speaker: Invite Health Promotion Specialists or Tulane Peer Health Educators (TUPHEs) from The Well to speak in your classes, department meetings, or in-services. Use our workshop request form.
Add content to your syllabus: Incorporate alcohol and drug education information into course curriculum. Here are some ideas:
- Business classes could investigate the impact substance abuse has on the workforce and discuss signs that an employee might have a problem with drugs or alcohol or look at media glamorizing alcohol to increase sales.
- Social sciences classes could investigate reasons why certain demographic groups are more prone to substance abuse and how alcohol is glorified in the media.
- Psychology classes could examine individual factors that could lead to substance abuse.
- Chemistry classes could analyze the chemical structure of alcohol and the chemical changes alcohol causes in the body.
- Biology classes could investigate how the body is affected by alcohol.
Additional Steps for Faculty
- Do not alter class or test schedules to avoid times that typically follow heavy consumption occasions, such as Fridays, Homecoming, festivals, or semester breaks.
- Avoid making comments that encourage or condone underage drinking or high-risk drinking behavior.
- Challenge misperceptions that “everyone drinks heavily.”
- Model low-risk or no-risk alcohol consumption.
- Describe the impact that high-risk drinking has on the greater Tulane communities.
- Reinforce that college is fun and consequences are avoidable.