Duke Endowment Awards $3.4 Million to Increase Student Resiliency

The Charlotte-based Duke Endowment has announced a $3.4 million grant to help four schools in the Carolinas collaborate on efforts to increase student resilience in the face of extreme stress and anxiety.

The initiative will focus on ways that colleges and universities can build student "resiliency," which it defines as the ability to thrive despite adversity and difficult circumstances. To that end, each of the four recipients — Davidson College, Duke University, and Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina and Furman University in South Carolina — will use their share of the grant funds to study students' ability to deal with extreme levels of stress and anxiety and to pilot interventions that enhance resiliency in students.

This year, the schools will design a research model that includes opportunities for students and faculty to work together and share their findings. The focus in year two will be data collection and analysis, with an eye to identifying key sources of stress on each of the four campuses. In year three, the schools will pilot interventions and assess their effectiveness. By the final year, it is expected that each campus will have developed its own program to enhance student resiliency.

"As our students increasingly deal with the growing stresses of contemporary college life, understanding and positively influencing their resiliency will, we believe, enhance their coping skills and enable them to optimize their academic and career pursuits," said Duke University's vice president for student affairs Larry Moneta. "With ever-growing pressures to innovate and lead, a foundation of resiliency will enable our students to be courageous, adventurous, and creative — all prerequisites to excellence."

"The Duke Endowment Awards Grant for Student Resiliency Project." Duke Endowment Press Release 09/26/2013.