Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jenny Stuber, Professor

Faculty Mentor Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Generational and cultural changes have led mental health to become an increasingly common concern among the general population, especially Generation Z. As a result, professors have become very aware of declining college student mental health, and some have become advisors for struggling students; in the process, they are learning to navigate boundaries in and out of the classroom (Lipson, 2021; Price et al., 2020). Using six qualitative interviews, this study seeks to ask: how do professors understand, navigate teaching, and one-on-one interactions as student mental health issues increase? This paper argues that as student mental health suffers and campus counseling resources fail to keep up with increasing demand, professors have taken on more emotional labor as they work to navigate boundaries, such as balancing leniency versus accountability, while working to maintain their role as professor rather than entering the role of mental health therapist. These findings contribute to sociological theories of boundary navigation and emotion work, as well as changes in the nature of the professoriate. Furthermore, this research shows how inadequate college and university mental health counseling resources are across the country.