MVSU staff member presents research on student health & wellbeing during NASAP

March 22, 2019

ITTA BENA, Miss.— A Mississippi Valley State University staff member was recently extended an invitation to present research during an annual conference designed for professionals serving at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and those minority populations in diverse settings around the country.

Dr. Yolanda Jones, Dean of Student Development, presented on the topic “Student Health and Well-Being: The Impact on Academic Success” during the 65th National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP), hosted February 21-23 in Atlanta.

NASAP, founded in 1954, is on the forefront in providing innovative ideas, real-world solutions and professional development opportunities for student affairs professionals serving at HBCUs, and those serving minority populations in diverse settings around the country.       

The annual conference provides a forum for professional growth and development for all who are involved with students and is open to professionals in higher education in general, and the nation’s business industry.  Concurrent student-focused conference sessions provide professionals and students the opportunity to learn, network, and create lasting friendships that endure beyond the conference.   

Jones’s presentation discussed the differences between well-being and wellness, the types of well-being, and the eight dimensions of wellness, emerging trends, and provided several examples of innovative strategies to teach students and employees skills to flourish. She also explored the concept of well-being and wellness beyond the buzz-word to include definitions, models, and measurement tools. 

Her presentation concluded that student health issues affect student’s attendance, their grades, attitudes, appearances, and their ability to learn, which is a direct correlation that affects the retention, persistence, and the graduation rates of college students.

“With more than 17 years in higher education at MVSU, I understand and I have experienced first- hand that a healthy mind and a healthy body, both work together in a complex system,” said Jones.

“A college student’s primary responsibility is to achieve academic success. Recent studies indicate that it has not been an easy task for most students, and in order for students to function at their highest potential, it is imperative that they take care of both, their mind and their body” she added. 

“Dr. Jones’s participation in the conference continues to underscore the importance of her passion for Student Affairs as a practitioner and a scholar. She has had a distinguished career in student services and I am proud to see her present this important research on student well-being. She has always been passionate about student retention and remains a critical voice in the student affairs network.” said Dr. Gerald Peoples, co-chair of NASAP’s Council of Past Presidents. 

Jones has a history of being engaged in efforts to address the holistic student. In November 2018, she presented during the annual Mississippi’s Coalition of Partners in Prevention (MCPP) Annual Training, which was organized by the Department of Health Promotions and Wellness at Mississippi State University.

MCPP is a group of universities and community colleges in Mississippi that have joined forces to collaborate in planning, implementing, and evaluating researched best-practices for alcohol and other prevention programming to support education/prevention and safety for college students.  

MCPP provides training, resources, and support for its members.  MVSU was the first HBCU to join the coalition and was very instrumental in recruiting other professionals from around the state.    

Jones has also been reappointed to the Mississippi Blues Commission, where she has served as a statutory member since 2013.  The Blues Commission is a body of eighteen appointed Commissioners representing major organizations and geographic/political regions supporting Blues initiatives throughout the state.