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Interview with Dr. Jay Darr, Director of University Counseling Center at University of Pittsburgh

A Deep Dive on the Importance of Mental Health and its Shared Responsibility Across Campus

By Sunny Hong and Emily Schwartz

Dr. Jay Darr is the Director of the University Counseling Center (UCC) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), a member of the American Talent Initiative’s (ATI) Academic Equity Community of Practice (CoP). As part of our Academic Equity Interview Blog series (for our first post, we interviewed Claremont McKenna’s Nyree Gray on campus climate), we asked Dr. Darr to help us understand Pitt’s approach to improving student mental health.

Dr. Jay Darr, Director of University Counseling Center at University of Pittsburgh

Addressing mental health is imperative for addressing academic inequities, especially as lower-income students, students of color, and other underrepresented students are more likely to experience mental health concerns and experience pandemic-related hardships.

In this interview, Dr. Darr shares his insights on the importance of mental and emotional well-being, the relationship between the current moment and Pitt students’ mental health, and opportunities for other institutions to improve student wellness. 

Read the full interview with Dr. Darr. (new window)

About the Community

In Fall 2020, the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding access and opportunity for low- and middle-income students, established its newest community of practice (CoP) focusing on academic equity.

The Academic Equity CoP builds on efforts led by senior leaders at Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, who co-hosted The Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience in June 2019, in collaboration with ATI. A second summer institute was held in June 2021, which was jointly hosted by Georgetown, UT Austin and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Our work is ongoing

In the spirit of promoting practice- and knowledge-sharing across institutional borders, ATI has compiled resources and publications related to the CoP’s activities. The site is regularly updated with the links, new materials, and insights.