Georgian Court University is one of 35 New Jersey colleges awarded federal grant money through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund II for programs serving students affected by COVID-19. GCU’s $200,000 award from New Jersey’s Opportunity Meets Innovation Grant Challenge will expand student mental health services and provide an enhanced inclusive learning environment for students through a preferred names database.
“We are very pleased our application was chosen from a highly competitive field of worthy proposals,” said Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D., GCU President. “We thank Gov. Phil Murphy and N.J. Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges for the funding, and we share their commitment to making college more accessible, closing equity and attainment gaps, and improving the safety and inclusion of our campus.”
The opportunity grant program supports equity and student success among New Jersey’s college students, specifically those who have been historically disadvantaged—also a core student population at Georgian Court.
An Opportunity to Help Students—Directly
The $200,000 award will be shared evenly between the two GCU Innovates programs:
- Beginning this fall, expanded mental health services include an additional counselor; training staff, faculty, and students in mental health first aid; and virtual counseling services through Therapy Assistance Online (TAO). TAO supports traditional individual therapy and has a self-guided component.
- A preferred names database will strengthen Georgian Court’s culture of inclusiveness and support students’ sense of identity. This especially applies to those who may feel marginalized or excluded because they’ve chosen a name other than their legal first name. The university will choose software, purchase and install the system, provide training for appropriate personnel, and introduce the system to the GCU community in Fall 2022.
“The grant award helps us address the very real mental health challenges amplified by COVID-19 in our community, such as anxiety and depression,” said Amani Jennings, GCU dean of students. “The programs also ensure a more inclusive learning environment and align with our Strategic Compass Point #2. As part of our institutional strategic plan, we want to create an exceptional student experience. We are grateful for these opportunity grant resources that will benefit our students.”