Provost's Newsletter – November 2018

Across Our Campus

Across Campus

Purdue urges employees to review information, training resources for new HR structure

As the countdown continues for SuccessFactors, Purdue’s core human resources structure set to go online Jan. 1, several tools to help you transition to the new system are available. For all employees, these include:

  • Additional training resources on SuccessFactors navigation, timekeeping and time off — to be emailed starting Dec. 1.
  • A web-based help resource with quick reference guides and work instruction videos to guide all employees through navigating SuccessFactors, time off requests and timekeeping processes, as applicable.

Supervisors, managers and business managers can access a dedicated help team to resolve issues during the transition by email or calling via a WebEx connection at 1-855-282-6330 (access code 641 409 399). Beginning Dec. 24, they also can share important feedback/information with the SuccessFactors team in a virtual room at

The majority of the training materials are designed as quick resources to be accessed when needed. For example, department support staff who will be assisting with onboarding new employees can access an onboarding best practice guide, a quick reference guide or a work instruction video.

All employees will use SuccessFactors to review pay statements, adjust tax information, edit bank details, update other personal information, request time off (including business leave requests) and document time worked, when applicable. (BoilerKey will be required to access SuccessFactors. Help with BoilerKey now or SuccessFactors in January is available at or 765-494-4000.)

Non-exempt, or hourly, paid staff will begin accessing SuccessFactors with the Dec. 24-Jan. 6 pay period. Exempt staff will start using SuccessFactors on Jan. 2. The timeline to pause activities to ensure a smooth transition to SuccessFactors can be reviewed here.

The project team and leadership thanks everyone for their continued support and patience during the transition to SuccessFactors.

For more information, visit Please continue to send any questions to

Purdue invests in students' mental well being

Purdue has significantly expanded its Counseling and Psychological Services program and this month rolled out a new digital tool to help students support their mental health.

In the past four years, CAPS has added 13 new staff clinician lines, bringing the total to 29 therapists, said Director Susan Prieto-Welch. Some of the growth reflects previous unmet need. Some supports growing student enrollment.

CAPS served 3,872 students over fiscal year 2017-18, more than 22 percent higher than the same period during 2015-16. The number of appointments grew 50 percent to 21,766, with many students benefiting from several appointments.

“Group therapy offerings expanded from 71 groups conducted to 118 groups in that same period," Prieto-Welch said.

These programs include groups addressing specific topics such as depression, anxiety, body image, autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD. One group is for students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming. There are also therapy groups for students who are learning about and understanding themselves, and exploring how they relate to others. Four groups are specifically for graduate students. Students also may receive individual therapy.

"While there is no charge for the vast majority of our services," Prieto-Welch said, "the fee for psychiatric service can run from $25-$50. In cases in which a student cannot afford the fee, we do have a fee waiver process worked out with Financial Aid for students with high financial need."

CAPS also offers many presentations on mental health topics across campus, and serves as consultants on issues of mental health for faculty, staff and students. For underserved populations, CAPS has office hours in Purdue's Black Cultural Center, Latino Cultural Center, Native American Educational and Cultural Center, Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center, LGBTQ Center and Veterans Success Center. There also are clinicians whose offices are housed at Duhme Hall and at the Graduate Student Center.

"The core principle behind these services is prevention, an essential function of these community interventions," Prieto-Welch said. "These activities have another important function: They introduce us, as an agency and as a staff, and have us become known and trusted in underserved student groups, de-stigmatizing help-seeking and CAPS. Thus, some students come to us who likely would not do so otherwise."

The new digital tool added this month is called WellTrack, an online self-help software application for all students enrolled on the West Lafayette campus. It allows them to self-evaluate — track their moods, consider what is going on in their lives, find patterns and learn new skills. They can also learn how to better understand and manage symptoms commonly associated with anxiety, stress and depression, for example.

Students can access this tool by registering using their email address and logging in to the hosted site at Students can also download the application, available for Android and Apple devices. More than 1,549 students have already downloaded the new online tool.

Using WellTrack, students can identify their mood using words, emojis and/or a scale. Then the program will ask questions such as what are you doing? Who are you with? Where are you? Then, it will ask what's on your mind? What are you thinking about?

Based on that, the program will offer psychoeducation and suggest a variety of exercises, skills and techniques that students can do on their own. For example, if the students indicate they are stressed, they will be directed to a module that will provide short chapters such as one on relaxation techniques. This module may include a video on deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. There is another chapter on public speaking.

"Each chapter is only four to eight minutes long," Prieto-Welch said. "The modules can be pulled up at any time, as needed. Over time, students can compare their own responses, become aware of how their own actions impact how they feel, and learn what they can do to improve how they feel."

If the students indicate they are very depressed, on the other hand, WellTrack also will direct them to seek help from CAPS and provide information about its after-hours crisis line.

All student information entered into WellTrack is private to that student. No one has access to that information unless the student is in therapy with CAPS and chooses to share the information with the therapist. The CAPS after-hours crisis line shares a summary of each call with CAPS, including recommendations given to each student, in order to facilitate treatment for students. All information shared with the crisis line is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and strict privacy and confidentiality laws governing mental health providers.

Just as students can reach out to CAPS, so can faculty, staff and parents. And many do.  

"We are available to consult with them about any student concern they may have," Prieto-Welch said. "We have an on-call professional available to consult during business hours. We can discuss approaches to help the students and perhaps encourage them to contact CAPS."

Research sheds some light on the challenge 

In 2015, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, the only data bank in the United States that houses and analyzes data from students seeking mental health services in counseling centers across the country, summarized mental health trends across the previous five full academic years. The report documented growth in the number of students seeking services at counseling centers, and growth in the number of counseling center appointments. 

There was an increase in the levels of distress reported by college students seeking mental health services. The lifetime prevalence rate for serious suicidal thought had increased substantially, according to the CCMH 2015 and 2016 annual reports.

The effect of this increase is that counseling centers are assessing and managing increased numbers of students who present with “threat to self” concerns. 

Another finding in the 2016 Annual Report is that, on average, counseling centers were providing 28 percent more “rapid access” (emergency on-call, or crisis) service hours per client, and 7.6 percent fewer “routine” service hours per client. 

Faculty can help head-off problems by proactively supplying information in their syllabi. In addition to providing contact information for CAPS, they also can provide a URL <> for self-care actions students can take, from keeping a routine and getting sleep to setting realistic goals and talking problems through with someone who cares about them.  

As the mental health provider for students on campus, CAPS is available for any student in need of mental health services and intervention. If a student needs support, rather than therapy, there are several resources for this on campus. To name a few, these include the Office of the Dean of Students, Residence Life staff, the Academic Success Center, the Center for Career Opportunities, the Disability Resource Center, and University Religious Leaders, and Recreation and Wellness, which is home to Wellness Programs, Wellness Mentors and Purdue Student Health Advocates.

Q&A with new VP for human resources

William "Bill" Bell joined our Purdue family on Oct. 1 as vice president for human resources. He most recently served as senior vice president, human resources, with Herff Jones, a company in Indianapolis that sells graduation merchandise nationwide. We asked him to share a little about himself and his vision. Our questions and his answers follow:

Q: Please tell us more about your background and that of your family.

As a native of the Chicagoland area, my undergraduate degree is from Illinois State University, and I earned my MBA from Roosevelt University.  

Prior to joining Purdue, I served in numerous HR-related roles at Sears, Grainger, CNO Financial Group, HD Supply and Herff Jones. My experience in the private sector extends over two decades and has afforded me the opportunity to work across a variety of industries and geographies.

I currently reside in Fishers, Indiana, with my wife, Marcelle, and two daughters, Alison and Mallory.  However, I just moved into an apartment in Lafayette so that I can immerse myself in campus life and become a part of the local community as much as possible.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

In my free time, I enjoy exercising, traveling, attending concerts and spending time with family and friends. 

Q: What is your favorite quote? 

“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” 

Q: What books are on your nightstand?

“The First 90 Days” by Michael Watkins  —  This book was given to me by a former co-worker in 2005 as I was leaving the organization for a promotional opportunity at a different company.  For anyone starting a new position, the book provides proven strategies for getting up to speed faster and smarter — allowing you to become effective more quickly.  I have highly recommended this book over the years for anyone taking on a new role and have personally revisited it over the years to assist with my own transitions — including this one.

“The Talent Fix: A Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Great Talent" by Tim Sackett — I just purchased this book this past weekend, so it’s on the nightstand but I haven’t started reading it yet. Just recently released, it’s written by a talent acquisition guru whom I saw speak at a conference about seven to eight years ago, and I have followed his blog and advice ever since.

Q: What makes a good HR department?

The foundation of a good HR department is one that effectively balances the needs of the employees and the organization. I believe that the most successful HR departments also understand the critical roles that culture, employee development and career opportunities play in employee engagement and retention.

Q: How has the world of HR changed during your career? What have been the advantages and challenges these changes have brought?

HR has evolved over the course of my career with a shift from the administrative (personnel) aspects of the function to one that operates at a much more strategic (human resources) level. While there are certainly still administrative aspects to the function, the true advantage comes from the strategic shift. Since every organization is made of people, attracting them, developing their skills, providing meaningful rewards, motivating them to perform their best and retaining their service are essentials to achieving organizational objectivities. 

Q: How does Purdue's Human Resources area compare to others with which you have worked? What strengths and opportunities do you see?

I’ve only been a part the University for a short time, but what I’ve learned in my first months on the job is that the Purdue Human Resources team is made up of a group of individuals that are completely dedicated to the mission of the university, which is definitely a strength. Another strength for us is the technology transition to SuccessFactors. Effective Jan. 1, we will be on a modern, integrated and best-practice-driven systems platform. Couple this with the solid foundation that the job family structure project lays, and we will have many opportunities to improve upon our HR services and practices — particularly in the area of career development.

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