May 2, 2007
UI Wins Award For Implementation Of Alcohol Prevention Course
The University of Iowa has received the 2006-07 Prevention Excellence Award, given to 13 higher education institutions for their efforts to implement and promote an online alcohol prevention course.
The Prevention Excellence Awards program is sponsored by Outside The Classroom Inc., the developer of the AlcoholEdu online prevention program used at the UI and on more than 500 college campuses around the country. The award recipients demonstrated their dedication to the health and safety of their students by implementing comprehensive alcohol prevention programs on their campuses.
AlcoholEdu is an online, science-based alcohol abuse education and prevention program focusing on the impact of alcohol on the mind and body. It is used at about 500 college and university campuses nationwide.
The UI began requiring incoming freshmen to take the AlcoholEdu course in July 2006, and about 98 percent -- or 4,100 - completed it by an October 2006 deadline. Students who don't complete the course by the deadline face disciplinary action by the UI and a hold is placed on their registration for the spring semester.
The entire course takes 2.5 to 3 hours to complete and is divided into two sections, one completed before classes begin and the remaining portion completed while on campus. Upperclassmen may take the course voluntarily, though they are not required to do so. The course will be required once again for incoming freshmen this fall.
"Whether or not a student drinks, AlcoholEdu gives personalized information motivating them to make healthy behavior decisions and how to better handle peers' drinking behavior," said Angela Reams, director of Campus and Community Relations in the UI Office of Student Services.
Reams, who oversees the AlcoholEdu program at the UI, said that there is no data available yet on how effective AlcoholEdu has been at reducing incidences of alcohol abuse on campus. However, she said there is evidence it has had some effect on students' knowledge about the impact of alcohol. When comparing data gathered from AlcoholEdu follow-up surveys to similar data studies done in 2004 and 2005, including the College Alcohol Study and the Health Iowa Health Interests and Practices survey, students reported fewer hangovers, fewer blackouts, and an increase in their knowledge about blood alcohol content and effects of alcohol when giving consent for sex.
To encourage participation in the AlcoholEdu course, the UI office of Campus and Community Relations used e-mails, letters, screen savers on residence hall computers, posters in Cambuses, a display in Schaffer Hall and promotional items at orientation. The UI communicated the program to faculty and parents, as well as the follow-up evaluation, to ensure it impacted students and their behavior. The UI has a four-year contract with Outside the Classroom and will evaluate the program after that time to determine whether to continue the program.
The Prevention Excellence Awards were chosen from applications submitted from schools using AlcoholEdu. Applications were evaluated by a third-party panel of experts in the prevention field who based their decisions on five criteria: implementation practices, communication, evaluation, programmatic linkages and organizational linkages.
The awards were given at the American College Personnel Association/National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Joint Meeting in early April. The University of Alabama won the top award. Seven other institutions were honored with the Prevention Excellence Award, including the UI, Bentley College, St. Joseph's University, State University of New York-New Paltz, University of Connecticut, University of Central Florida, and University of Texas-San Antonio. In addition, five schools received honorable mentions in the program: Eastern Illinois University, Roger Williams University, Rhode Island College, Texas Tech University and Washington University in St. Louis.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012, email@example.com; Program: Angela Reams, director of Campus and Community Relations in the UI Office of Student Services, 319-335-1349; firstname.lastname@example.org.