Inclusion & Accessibility: Supporting Students' Wellbeing


College is full of demands and challenges for learners. Instructors can proactively mention health and wellness services while also recognizing signs of distress to connect learners with trained professionals and services at NYU. 

NYU Resources 

Includes, but not limited to… Student Wellness

Additional resources at NYU include:

Signs of Distress

Include, but not limited to…

  • Usual behavior and sudden changes in behavior.
  • Poor academic performance.
    • Missing classes or due dates.
    • Repeated extension requests.
    • Repeated lack of preparation.
    • Decline in grades.

Small Strategies with Big Impact

Note that not all the strategies need to be adopted. Select as many or little strategies that work for your teaching and learning needs.

  • Create a Culture of Asking for Help

    • Add NYU institutional resources (above) and community guidelines into the syllabus.
    • Consider asking students to annotate the syllabus in Google Docs. Ask if any perspectives are missing, add questions, anything helpful for the instructor to know,  etc.
    • Consider a proactive survey to gauge needs and possible challenges (Create an Inclusive Course Environment, NYU)
    • Communicate how resources exist to be used and support well-being and academic success. E.g. Communities and Groups for social connection/belonging, Counseling and Wellness Center for mental health, etc.
    • Offer flexible office/student hours. 
    • Learn pronouns and name pronunciation (available in Brightspace). Also, consider allowing students the option to say their pronouns.
  • Small Tips 

  • Think about the Pedagogy of Care.
  • Start class with:
    • icebreakers to support ease and social connection.
    • A quick temperature check to ask about students' current state of mind. This can be done with a simple prompt of, "how is everyone feeling today", give a thumbs-up or participate in a poll depending on the amount of students in your class.
  • Late policy:
  • Fair grading. 
    • Proactively share clear expectations, guidelines, and criteria (e.g. rubric, etc.).
  • Brightspace Analytics

    • Analytics provide insight into students’ course activity and grades. This information can highlight changes in specific student’s performance. Note use analytics as a flag and not the only indicator of distress.
    • This requires adding tasks and resources directly in Content as a lesson or sub-unit item. 
    • For course design support contact


Lang, J. (2021). Small teaching: Everyday lessons from the science of learning. John Wiley & Sons.


Strayhorn, T. (2019). College students’ sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. Routledge.

Did this article not answer your question?

Submit a Request
back to top