Monday, July 2, 2012

A New Grant Year - New Funding!!!!!!

A New Fiscal Year, A New Year of Grant Beginnings

Several of my friends and colleagues often assume that my work pace slows during the summer months and over the winter break.  Prior to assuming responsibility for the Illinois Higher Education Center (IHEC), I could answer that is did slow somewhat during these times.  However, our grants follow the fiscal year, and therefore, some of our busiest times fall during periods when academia is generally not in session or on reduced operations.

For the past weeks, the IHEC staff and I have been attempting to complete our FY12 workplan.  During the month of June, we had multiple staff members traveling each week to offer workshops on the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (DFSCA) regulations, trainings on Drugs of the 21st Century, and representing our network at the American College Health Association.  With the April 11, 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education article suggesting increased enforcement and monitoring of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (DFSCA) regulations, we have also been busy preparing for increased training and technical assistance demands.

While we were keeping busy, we were also anxiously awaiting official word as to whether our Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) and Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) grants would be refunded for the FY13 year.  I am happy to announce that we have been funded for both grants, and have been given 12 month contracts for both grants!!!!  As you can imagine, we are all relieved that our IHEC staff will be able to continue serving you and your institutions.  We are looking forward to spending the next few weeks planning for the entire year, and providing you with ample notice of our offerings and programs. 

Sadly, we realize that many other substance abuse programs throughout the state were not funded.  In these dire economic times, hard choices had to be made.  We hope that such choices have minimal impact on the work you perform at your institutions.  We also were disappointed to hear that the Department of Education would no longer be funding the national Higher Education Center.  While IHEC has no official hierarchical or funding relationship with the national center, its loss will negatively impact the field.  We have often referred constituents to their website and their materials when we did not have our own to offer.  We have also personally taken advantage of trainings and workshops they have provided.   Since the announcement late last week that the national center would not be funded, our staff  members have heard from numerous colleagues who have commented on how they wished their state would have an IHEC, especially now that they won’t be able to utilize the national center.

The new grant year will definitely present some unique challenges to the collegiate substance abuse field and IHEC.  There will be numerous opportunities as well.  Let’s have a terrific year in advancing our work!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dear Friend of IHEC,

As you are probably aware, our funding status for our Substance Abuse Prevention Program grant has been somewhat uncertain during the current fiscal year, as a result of changes the Illinois Department of Human Services has been making to the statewide substance abuse system. The following information will provide you with the current status of IHEC funding, staffing and plans.

IHEC Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws FY 12 Funding
The EUDL grant is fully funded through May 31, 2012. There are currently 7 schools who are being funded through the IHEC EUDL grant. All of them are doing excellent work on their campuses. We have started conducting EUDL online meetings. Information on upcoming EUDL online meetings can be found on our website, We encourage all of you to take advantage of the webinars. They are a great way to hear what is going on across the state regarding underage alcohol enforcement activities.

IHEC Substance Abuse Prevention Program FY 12 Funding Extended to 1/31/2012
In late October, Eastern was notified by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) that the current Substance Abuse Prevention Program would conclude on 12/31/2011. IHEC staff therefore did not plan any major activities or events after that date. Prior to Christmas, we were notified that the current SAPP grant would be extended until 1/31/2012. We will be doing our best to offer some form of continuing education through webinars, and possibly a live-training. We will also continue to disseminate communiqu├ęs, utilize social media, and provide technical assistance and consultation to the best of our ability and scheduling.

IHEC Substance Abuse Prevention Program Statewide Capacity Building Grant RFP
Eastern still awaits word from the state regarding the status of the Substance Abuse Prevention Program grant proposal submitted to the state in early December. IDHS had originally hoped to notify those entities being funded by the new year, with an anticipated start date in mid-January to early-February. Based on the extension of the current grant, we are assuming that the intended timelines are now further delayed for an unforeseen amount of time. At this time, we can only assume that our ability to provide services, programs and trainings funded through the SAPP program will be greatly minimized after 1/31. If we do receive funding, we will hit the ground running as soon as a fully executed contract is signed by both IDHS and EIU authorities.

IHEC Substance Abuse Prevention Program Funded Staffing
Jessica Wright continues to oversee the EUDL grant, and will continue to work with our schools. Effective January 3, Amanda Woolard will no longer be working as an Assistant Director for IHEC, but working as the EIU Health Service’s Assistant Director for Health Education and Promotions. With the unanticipated extension of the current SAPP grant, day-to-day operations will be covered by Eric Davidson, Jessica Wright, Laura Humphreys and several spring interns. At this time, Amanda’s position will remain vacant until further information is known regarding the status of the State Capacity Building grant proposal.

Programming After 2/1/2012
Until Eastern receives word concerning the status of the State Capacity Building grant proposal, and if funded, until a fully executed contract is signed, IHEC staff members will be limited in the services and programs we are able to offer after February 1. While we have and will continue to do our best to plan, without secured funding, services such as the Statewide CORE Survey administration, affiliate meetings, trainings, may not be able to be offered. We will do our best to provide you with services and keep you informed about our funding and programming status.

Thank you, once again, for your continued support and utilization of our services and programs. We understand that our funding status not only impacts us, but many of our friends and partners at our affiliate institutions and agencies.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theory of Prevention- By Eric S. Davidson- IHEC Director

Our jobs are not specifically to prevent or reduce college student AOTD use/abuse. Our jobs are to enhance student learning and learning environments and contribute to the retention and graduation of students. We do this through prevention, intervention, and treatment. If we can show logical connections, or even better empirical evidence showing this, we will gain more support.

2. There are never enough resources, staffing, and time to address prevention in a way that we believe is adequate. We have to accept this and think innovatively about ways to enhance the resources we have, be it through collaborations with other entities, supervision of interns and graduate assistants, seeking grant funding, etc.

3. There is a difference between being active and effective. You can deliver hundreds of one-hour presentations, staff several hours at information tables and not make any difference in the rates of drinking and negative consequences on your campus. People may even applaud these process indication numbers you submit in your reports. However, you may create a much larger impact providing a few sessions of BASICS to one student, or working with a campus/community coalition to require local establishments to have all employees responsible beverage service certified.

4. Prevention is highly relational and political. You will be surprised how many departments and individuals will view your work as intrusive, disruptive to their work flow/operations, and contradictory to their activities and programs. Seeking buy-in from others and openly communicating intentions prior to taking action may help reduce potential conflict.

5. Begin to understand the big picture you live in. Everyone thinks their area is the most important and is advocating similarly for their areas, as you do prevention. Non-response by your superiors and senior level administrators does not imply that prevention is not a priority. These individuals have many areas to oversee, which often leads to conflict between competing demands. Other issues may have to take a higher priority as a result of urgency and crisis.

6. Alcohol prevention (mental health) should be owned by the entire campus, not just one individual or office. Your value to campus, and the effectiveness of your campus to address AOTD issues, will be enhanced when others work collaboratively. See yourself as a community organizer or coordinator.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Our deepest sympathy...

I regret to inform everyone word has been received that Dr. Alan Marlatt, one of the leading pioneers in brief alcohol screening and assessment in college students and motivational interviewing, passed away this week. A very nice tribute was written in the Seattle times. This article can be found at:

I hope that many of you will join me in taking time keep keeping Dr. Marlatt’s family and collegues in your thoughts and prayers, as well as taking some time reflect how Dr. Marlatt’s contributions have greatly impacted the field of college alcohol and health promotion.

Eric S. Davidson

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A message from our director...

I recently became aware of an event that is called the National College Crawl, that many of you may wish to be made aware of.

This event is described as by the promoters as: “Presented by Lucky Moose Events, The National College Crawl is one-of-a-kind event that will bring students from across the country together for one night of drinking, debauchery and even charity. On April 16, 2011, students at universities both large and small will take part in an organized bar crawl in their college towns, with 10 percent of the profits from T-Shirt sales going directly to philanthropy.

Originally, Dayton, Ohio’s “Kids in Need Foundation” was noted as the intended recipient. I contacted this organization, and evidently, others have too, and it appears that the Directing Manager of the foundation has contacted the two organizers and has requested that their name be taken their promotional materials as the intended charity. Within the last 18 hours their name has been removed from the event’s main website.

The promoters are very social media savvy and have utilized several on-line social media platforms. Minimally, there is probably a lot that we could learn from these entrepreneurs in using social media. The sites that I found in just a few minutes are:

Twitter -

Facebook -!/pages/National-College-Crawl/101067456638452?v=wall

National College Crawl Website -

Currently, it appears that University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and Western Illinois University have “paid student representatives” to promote the event locally. It appears that part of the student reps responsibilities include developing a local facebook site. It also appears that the local reps are to try to coordinate waived cover charges, drink specials, etc. for those wearing the event tee-shirt that day. UIUC and WIU appear to have local facebook pages already created. In fact WIU already has over 1000 students who will be “attending” and over another 200 “who may be attending.” I am sure that other Illinois universities will be joining up.

IHEC would encourage institutions of higher education and communities working with higher education institutions to consider the following:

1) Monitor the situation that is developing on your campus, mainly through facebook and other social media

2) Develop social marking campaigns and other educational interventions designed to promote abstinence and harm reduction approaches

3) Consider contacting local liquor control commissioner and discuss preventative/proactive measures to work with local alcohol establishments to discourage drink specials, waived cover charges, etc that may violate local and state alcohol sales and service laws.

4) Work with local and university law enforcement to increase and enhance enforcement during that weekend

5) Work with on-campus residence life and off campus housing to prepare for pre-partying events, after-bar events, and the negative alcohol-related consequences affiliated with this event.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Eric Davidson, IHEC Project Director, was awarded the "Outstanding Contributions to the Field" award by The Network. He received his award in National Harbor, MD on October 18, 2010. Congratulations Eric!