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Remote Wellness Resources for SCS Ph.D. Students

From the SCS Ph.D. Dean’s Advisory Committee

[Update note] Thank you to everyone who filled out the Ph.D. survey from DPAC. The concerns raised are pressing, and we are here to support you. Thank you for trusting us.

Return to Campus Information: Check out columns 1, 2, or 4 as per your needs!

  1. General Wellness Resources
  2. Physical Wellness
  3. Mental Wellness
    • Headspace Meditation App: Instructions on the bottom half of the page. From Angie Lusk, “Headspace has partnered with Dive in Well, a community of wellness advocates focused on a more equitable and accessible wellness industry; they have added new meditation teachers to lead our members in guided practice. Find it under the Headspace features section on the Explore tab of your app.” Thank you, Angie!
    • Weekly Gratitude Practice: Tuesdays 1:30-2:30 PM. From the organizer, “It is small and intimate and we have a lot of regular faces while also welcoming any new members! Our practice always starts with a mindful moment and is rooted in savoring the present moment for all that it teaches us.”
    • Winter break drop in group: Wednesday 2 PM until Jan 27th
    • CaPS Resources
    • CaPS Drop in Groups for all Students
  4. Funding and Ergonomics
    • Information from the Dean’s Office: Previously, there was the SCS Parents fund and the Tartan Emergency Fund. These funds have now been combined and now CMU administers funds for all students. Each department has a different approach to providing home office equipment and the department business manager and/or department head should be asked.
  5. Social Connection: We are looking for more resources/ideas. Many socialization avenues are currently department sponsored.
    • SCS Coffee Chats (Information): After filling out a sign up form (about 2 mins), you can meet up with other SCS Ph.D. students for one-on-one or group meet up sessions for friendships outside work, research topic match, or mentorship. Sign up here!
  6. Other:

Wellness Resources from Angie

Fitness Flyer from CMU Recreation

Wellness Newsletter from BeWell@CMU

Additional Wellness Tips

CMU Cares Resources

Part 2: Department Information

We requested the following information from departments and programs:

The summaries from the responses are summarized in the following:

SCS Department (Programs) Response Highlights Contact Points
CB There are some holiday parties, and the department is planning to check in with all students mid-break. Faculty are taking a course in mental health awareness. Ziv Bar-Joseph, Nicole Stenger, Russell Schwartz
CSD Students can participate in social activities such virtual board games and CSD tea. The advisor-advisee form has been good for encouraging conversations between students and their advisors, can be used by students to voice any concerns they might have. Venkatesan Guruswami, Deb Cavlovich
HCII New students were added to a PhD student Slack and d-list at the beginning of the semester, and have kept in touch through regularly scheduled Tea Times and informally (e.g., through email, Slack, or private Zoom meetings). Students work with their advisors, the program coordinators, and/or SCS Facilities to meet their ergonomics needs, and usually work directly with their advisors for getting supplies. Jeffrey Bigham, Queenie Kravitz
ISR (SC + SE Programs) Students are encouraged to bring up wellness concerns during townhalls and can request office space or small ergonomics accessories. There were also three catered mentoring lunches for senior PhD students to interact with junior students. Nicolas Christin, Connie Herold, Christian Kaestner
LTI There are socialization opportunities via Gather Town and weekly board games online. Robert Frederking, Stacey Young
MLD There is a Ph.D. mentor program for students and the head of the department meets 1-on-1 with each first year student at the end of each semester. There is also a wellness network where faculty volunteer to hold office hours for students. Tom Mitchell, Sharon Cavlovich
RI Quite a few avenues for (virtual) socialization including course working hours and Slack and Facebook groups. Department and advisors engaged in conversations with students for issues related to work-life balance. Suzanne Lyons Muth, David Wettergreen

More information is found here (only available to those with a CMU email) for highlights from each department.

Part 3: Interviews

We conducted 28 interviews over 2 months across all departments in SCS of about 15 minutes each.

SCS Department Students who responded to interview
CB 5
CSD 4
HCII 3
ISR (SC+SE) 4
LTI 4
MLD 3
RI 5

Some of the most important topics that came up frequently in our interviews were:

A breakdown of concerns from the interviews.

Last updated on: April 27th, 2021

Committee Members: Jessica Colnago, Pratik Fegade, Ananya Joshi, Jay Patrikar, Samantha Reig

Please contact scs.phd.committee@gmail.com or aajoshi@andrew.cmu.edu if you have any additions, comments, corrections, or concerns.