• Posted on: 15 October 2020
  • By: mcglone.39

Meet Our New Executive Director - Linda Handley, MHA

We're excited to sit down with our new Executive Director and gain insight from her experience, learn her passions, and begin our work together! With significant experience in multiple sectors, we asked Linda to share ...

What have you observed about higher education from an outside lens? 

Linda: My career started at a major academic institution and most recently I was focused on providing students with the tools to navigate the educational and post-secondary environment.  I saw that there are different opinions on the purpose of higher education. 

Is higher education meant to prepare students for jobs or is it to deliver a broad base of knowledge? The answer to the question is “yes.”

It’s actually both. While these two different purposes seem to create a difficult road for higher education institutions, recent practices show that education is changing and adapting to the needs of learners. Looking at education through the lens of change and opportunity shows that higher education institutions are taking steps to meet the needs of today’s learners.

At The National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities we are focused through the lens of change and seek to provide value to students, faculty and the holistic academic community. I look forward to working with our members and friends to create a more integrated environment that provides value to all and grows our community.

 

What are you passionate about, what “gets” you up in the morning, and what's your “why” as it relates to wellness?

Linda: I am passionate about building collaborations to further healthy community building. I was attracted to Building Health Academic Communities' focus on several areas and constantly adaptation of programs and services to meet community needs. As I reflect on where we are now and where we will grow over the next year and into the future, it is important to look at our ability to:

  • - Share evidence-based practices and benchmarking data to enhance health
  • - Set national standards for academic health and wellness
  • - Provide networking and collaborative opportunities for leaders to discuss current and future trends.

Health and wellness means a variety of things to different people and community members.  Our organization and member universities are focused on providing a supportive social network that allows members to develop knowledge and skills. Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to live a higher quality life. Wellness matters because everything we do relates to our well-being.

I know from personal experience that surrounding yourself with a positive social network increases your ability to handle situations. Wellness enables you to create systems that encourage communication, trust and conflict management. Having good social wellness is critical to building emotional resilience.