Being Well

Friday, January 1, 2016

College students tend to focus more on learning and expanding their minds than staying healthy: lab instead of lunch.

Faculty and employees often worry about their job and their mission more than their stress level.

Arizona State University is seeking a balance between individual needs and academic or professional needs. A strong GPA or a pay raise should not come at the expense of the digits on a bathroom scale or blood pressure monitor.

Toward that goal, ASU is naming Teri Pipe as the university’s first Chief WellBeing Officer. She is charged with creating an environment that supports students, faculty and staff in the idea that they, like all creatures and machines, need maintenance.

“Students and employees at a university, as with all humans, operate in an outer world and an inner world,” said Pipe, dean of ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, “and they can only succeed by tending to both. We have a wonderful opportunity to build upon ASU’s rich legacy and develop a creative approach to wellbeing that will both aid the members of our campus family now and prepare them for the future.”

Pipe’s role, which was suggested by students, will include shifting the mindset among students and employees alike to know that they succeed only with strength in all parts of their life. ASU knows that its students, faculty and staff remain its greatest assets

“Dean Pipe will lead this initiative because of her strong commitment to wellbeing that extends beyond the absence of illness to the enhancement of the total person,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost. “This is the goal we seek to achieve for both students and employees. She will work closely with our colleagues in Educational Outreach and Student Services on student-based initiatives and will collaborate with Human Resources on efforts aimed at staff and faculty members.”

Pipe, who has served as dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation since 2011, will assume the new role while continuing to lead the college. She will report to Searle and to Jim Rund, senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services.

“This was a student-led priority,” Rund said, “to appoint an institutional leader who could champion positivity, personal balance and healthfulness. The students’ hope is that ASU becomes a national leader in student well-being.”

Pipe emphasized that wellbeing is dynamic. It means something different for everyone, whether that involves eating, sleeping, exercise, social interaction, quiet stillness or a variety of other elements in university life.

“Productive goes beyond producing term papers or research,” said Pipe, who served as director of Nursing Research and Innovation at Mayo Clinic Arizona before coming to ASU. “It includes the ability to interact with people and affect them in a positive way.”

For students and employees alike, developing habits that aid wellbeing create positive patterns for the rest of their lives.

“We expect our students to become leaders,” Pipe said. “Wellbeing and resilience are key competencies to being better employees, better leaders and better people in society.”

Pipe joined the College of Nursing and Health Innovation as interim dean in 2011. She is an expert on nursing leadership, interprofessionalism and mindfulness, which is an approach that helps people increase their well-being and performance by being fully present, focused and aware. Her research interests include resilience in professional and clinical populations, health promotion and wellness, positive coping and stress management, oncology and gerontology.

Pipe’s many honors and achievements include:

• Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow.

• American Association of Colleges of Nursing Futures Task Force.

• Mayo Clinic Care Network Chief Nursing Officer Consortium.

• Sigma Theta Tau Advisory Council on Excellence in Nursing Education.

• Arizona Health Improvement Plan Steering Committee.

• Phoenix Business Journal Health Care Hero in 2014.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree from the University of Arizona and doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.