Class examines alternatives for peak performance

Former Director of Counseling Andrea Kelly

Paul Elmendorf

Former Director of Counseling Andrea Kelly

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The fall 2014 semester will bring back former Director of Counseling Andrea Kelly’s class “Psychology of Peak Performance.” The class, which was taught last spring, was a course created by Kelly as part of Johnson’s proposal for the NCAA Choices Grant.

The goal of the grant is to educate and give students the chance to make responsible decisions concerning alcohol use, as well as to show students there are things to do on campus other than drinking.

Programs such as the iChoose campaign and the Alcohol Edu program, talks such as “Building your Toolbox for Success,” and “Campbell’s Soup, Frosted Flakes, and Sex” are all funded by the grant.

Kristine Cannon, coordinator of student-athlete development, said the group tasked with getting the grant contacted Kelly to develop and teach the course. At the time, Kelly was the director of the counseling center.

“It’s a seminar course, it’s four weeks out of the semester, all day Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Cannon said. “The reason for that is to facilitate an open dialogue among students to communicate more about what they want to do and what changes they want to make on campus in terms of programing and how we can make the educational component of drinking and drug use and sex on campus more out there and have more students educated about the decisions they’re making.”

Cannon said last year there were nine students in the course, and they came up with peer prevention models that were implemented this year. Among the ideas were peer-to-peer conversations with orientation leaders to incoming freshmen, possibly a first-year seminar course, and opening up the shape facility from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. as a campus-wide Olympics as simply a place to go on weekends.

Students in the course mainly looked at ideas for what students could do on campus instead of drinking, but also had ideas on creating a recovery group on campus.

While the course is being paid for by the grant, Cannon said she hopes that when the 3-year period is over, the school will pay for it. The class was not offered this semester because of class conflicts.

In an email interview, Kelly said that one of the big focuses of the course is to push students towards achieving their peak performance. Kelly said that this is a way for students to think of ideas to help the campus community increase their health and well-being.

“What is so wonderful about this course, is that student’s know from the outset that what they study and discover will be applied on campus … their final proposal is shared with JSC staff and faculty and students with the intention of implementing ideas on campus,” Kelly said.

“The students will envision ways to create more opportunities for JSC students to feel they are ‘at their best.’  This discussion will take a solid look at ways drug and alcohol abuse erodes students’ well-being and performance, but the discussion will go well beyond that, to include principles of eastern philosophies such as how our habitual thoughts influence our moods and actions.”

Kelly said that the course will have many guest speakers and students will learn about factors that contribute to stress.