Wellness program offers substitution-like option for professors who cancel class

Don’t Cancel That Class! is a program led by Baylor Wellness that offers a substitution for professors who are unable to teach their classes on any certain day of the week. Graphic illustration by Grace Everett | Photographer

By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer

Apart from focusing on academic achievements, Austin Kelsey, assistant director for Collegiate Recovery, said Baylor shows how it values students’ health and wellness in order for them to thrive beyond academics by providing services like Don’t Cancel That Class!

Don’t Cancel That Class! is a program led by Baylor Wellness that offers an option for faculty who are unable to teach their classes on a certain day.

This program invites a member of the department of wellness is invited to provide students an interactive and informational presentation about a wellness topic of their choice in lieu of their regularly-scheduled class.

The program’s lectures include common wellness problems students tend to face in their college lives, which include stress management, technology hygiene, Narcan training and more.

Kelsey said Don’t Cancel That Class! is a mutually beneficial program that helps professors by providing information and resources that are digestible and applicable to their students.

“Our students have invested so much to take the classes and to get education and information here at Baylor,” Kelsey said. “Sometimes just because a professor isn’t available for that class time, I think we can still show students that we value their time and we value them as members of our community on campus.”

Kelsey also said she has heard feedback from students saying they feel like they are usually given an extra work assignment they have to complete on their own when their in-person class is canceled.

“That doesn’t always feel valuable or meaningful to students,” Kelsey said. “So I think that for students, us coming in and providing information on these resources can be just a more engaging and valuable alternative to a typical classroom setting.”

Christiana Owusu-Ankomah, assistant director for well-being initiatives in the wellness department, said the program is still in its initial phase.

She said members of the program are learning how to maximize the effects of the service by presenting valuable information.

“We’ve gotten a few emails about professors that know they may not be present for a certain class, and instead of cancelling, they are reaching out to us,” Owusu-Ankomah said. “I’m going to assume that the reception has been good, because we wouldn’t still be getting contacted if it wasn’t invaluable.”

Apart from it being a new program, Owusu-Ankomah said the greatest challenge is learning what the needs and gaps are for this service.

“Over time we’ll tell, but I think probably the big thing would just be making sure professors know about us and know that we are available and can provide that service,” Owusu-Ankomah said.

Kelsey said the wellness department and Baylor see their students and want to address student needs in any way possible.

“Baylor sees you and wants your needs to be met, and this is one of the ways we’re trying to do that,” Kelsey said.