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Bentley’s Develop U Program Receives National Recognition from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education


Bentley’s Develop U Program Receives National Recognition from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Bentley University’s Develop U community prevention and outreach initiative received national recognition with a Silver Excellence Award from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Under the category “Student Health, Wellness, Counseling, and Related,” the award was announced at the NASPA annual conference in March.

The award recognizes “excellence and innovation in student affairs programs and initiatives”. Submissions were judged by student affairs professionals with direct experience in the category. 

Initiated and managed by psychologists Brenda Hawks and Stephanie Kendall of the Office of Counseling and Student Development (CSD), Develop U was created three years ago to address the unique mental health needs of business students at an undergraduate business university.

According to a 2009 report by Eduventures, business students nationally are less likely to report serious mental health problems, less willing to seek counseling, and less likely to take psychotropic medications.   

Develop U evolved following a campus-wide assessment of the specific mental health needs of students on Bentley’s campus, and includes a dynamic peer education program. Goals include:

  • Promoting well-rounded development as equal to professional achievement.
  • Fostering a “caring community” among students, faculty, and staff which increases help-seeking among students most at risk for serious mental health issues.
  • Decreasing the stigma associated with mental health issues, emotional needs, and counseling.
  • Increasing healthy coping and reducing risky behaviors among students.
  • Increasing student engagement in authentic, supportive, and emotionally intimate relationships. 

“Efforts have raised student’s awareness of counseling services offered on campus, and have increased attendance at outreach events such as national Depression Screening Day and exam de-stress events,” notes Brenda Hawks, associate director of counseling at Bentley. “The student to student engagement provided by our peer educators regarding the importance of mental health  seems to not only increase participation rates at awareness events but also increases student support for better mental health on campus. These reinforce our goal to foster a supportive campus environment.”

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit


by Bentley University November 11, 2014

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