Narrative In Higher Education: A Tool For Sustaining Communities - A Literature Review

Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Vivien Speiser Marcow


The demand for mental health resources at higher education institutes has increased steadily since 2011 across America (Center for Collegiate Mental Health Annual Report, 2018). The rate of students entering college with mental health diagnosis is increasing and the high pressure for institutes to respond is apparent. Colleges and universities are operating reactively, putting their staff and students at risk. More positions are being created without a model for collaborative care and current staff members are experiencing increases in vicarious trauma, without the appropriate training and support to sustain themselves or the students they serve.

Using a critical review of the literature, I will explore how trauma-informed, collaborative organizational models involving narrative techniques aid in organizational resiliency and better mental health outcomes in higher education settings. The focus populations are staff and students in higher education settings for the purposes of articulating the comorbid relationship between staff and student mental health outcomes. Research will be collected through the following mediums: peer reviewed literature, informal interviews, documentation through process notes, poetry, imagery, music, and video.

Working in the field of higher education for over a decade, I have had the privilege of serving students at The University of Vermont (UVM). During my time at UVM, I was part of a department that valued my mental health and utilized narrative based, trauma informed organizational models. My tenure at UVM has motivated me to further develop, implement, and educate my colleagues on the importance of trauma informed organizational systems to address the mental health issues staff and students are experiencing.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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