The case for SCoRE

Hear what researchers, college and university administrators, and LEAD Pittsburgh affiliates have to say about the need for resilience education and SCoRE.

Shawn Brooks

Why Should Colleges Teach Resiliency?

Posted on September 21, 2011

Shawn Brooks (bio) talks about why resiliency education is important.

So, I think that resiliency and teaching students resiliency kind of skills is so important, because it seems as if we've reached some kind of tipping point where students are less able to cope with daily stressors, and I think there are a lot of reasons behind that, but it manifests itself on college university campuses in a variety of ways. Most notably we are recognizing more and more issues with students involved in our student conduct process, more students taking advantage of student counseling services, and students really unable to care for themselves physically. I think any one of those things ultimately could lead to difficulties with a student retaining at the institution as well.

I think that it would be amazingly helpful to have students participate in a structured experience such as a course to teach them resiliency skills. I don't think that they're getting these kind of skills from their family systems or their K–12 education. So they come to us and they really need to learn this before they move out there into the real world.

So, if we had a course designed and structured to help teach them resiliency I think that it would really help them as far as their emotional stability is concerned, as far as their physical health is concerned, and once again, help them to make appropriate and proper decisions about how to make their way through the world. The reality is that we're trying to prepare students to become competent, capable citizens in the world and if they don't learn it here, I don't think that they're going to learn it at all.


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What the experts say

"Even for the brightest, best-adjusted young person the transition from high school to college is a very, very challenging one.… All young people entering college could benefit from focusing on what their strengths are and how to protect themselves in the face of the stresses that will inevitably come with the transition to college life.… The lessons that one learns in developing a kind of resilience outlook are lessons that will serve one for the rest of one's life."

Ellen Frank, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

"This program provides students with a skill set that either initiates them into resilience or adds to their strengths, and resilience will help them throughout the entire course of their lives."

Toni Macpherson, MEd
Executive Director
LEAD Pittsburgh

"If resilience education were incorporated early into college life, it would benefit campuses in many ways, because they would avoid a certain amount of increased individual difficulties with students, and that's wear and tear on the entire college campus.… There is no doubt in my mind that having a set of coping and resilience skills is just as important as whether I get an A or a B in a particular course."

David J. Kupfer, MD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

"Learning to be resilient is imperative in life; I don't know how you can go through life as well without it.… I think students will take away fewer scars of failure, rejection, and anxiety because they’ll know how to do things they might not have known had they not taken a course in resilience."

Sheila R. Fine
Chair, Board of Directors, and Principal Founder
LEAD Pittsburgh