Nurturing Happy Hearts and Minds A groundbreaking initiative that lifts the student experience celebrates its first anniversary

August 26, 2016 0 comments


Regent University continues to make “student happiness” an institutional priority. That’s why, one year ago this month, the university launched the Center for Student Happiness (CSH). The goal: to increase the quality of each student’s Regent experience, while cultivating an environment that nurtures personal and academic success.


Kyle Graham

CSH services include success coaching, 24/7 support, academic workshops and seminars, and a “readiness inventory,” which enables students to self-assess their strengths and weaknesses. The areas of focus are: academic skills, life skills, personal perspectives and self-leadership.

“Earning a college degree is as important as it ever was, and students are facing more obstacles than they ever have,” says CSH director Kyle Graham. “From traditional residential students to commuting students to those studying online, the Center for Student Happiness offers knowledgeable peer listeners, trained success coaches, and 24/7 telephone support programs for student excellence and satisfaction.”

Graham says that today’s students are seeking more than an excellent academic experience. They want “a transformative experience and a relationship with the institution in which they are supported in seeking out the best of what God has for them now and in preparation for their future.”


Dr. Joseph Umidi

The Center for Student Happiness supports opportunities that reflect Regent’s commitment to a holistic approach to student success and satisfaction. Dr. Joseph Umidi, the university’s executive vice president for student life, is confident that, if some other universities had a similar center, it could help relieve some of the student angst on campuses the nation has witnessed over the past year.

“The key to the disconnect nationwide is the feeling of being a ‘number’ in the midst of forces shaping students’ futures,” Umidi says. “The CSH takes a John 10:3 focus so that students can say ‘I am known’ for my unique attributes, and those who know me this way celebrate rather than just tolerate me. To be known is to be loved and, as Regent Chancellor, Founder and CEO Dr. M.G. ‘Pat’ Robertson frequently reminds us, the love that we have for our students is one of our biggest assets.”

“Students on the verge of failure or leaving Regent have now walked across the stage at graduation. Others lacking clarity now feel more confident about living out the calling God has placed on their lives.”
-Kyle Graham

One of CSH’s biggest accomplishments in its first year was helping hundreds of students better understand themselves under stress and deadlines. The center’s new “Success Coaching” program has taught them how to move past significant personal circumstances and academic barriers. As Graham explains, “Through face-to-face, phone or video chat, the peer success coaches — trained in advanced listening and questioning techniques — help tap into a deeper source of what God has already provided for their happiness and success.”

NURTURING-HAPPY-HEARTS-AND-MINDS1He adds, “Students on the verge of failure or leaving Regent have now walked across the stage at graduation. Others lacking clarity now feel more confident about living out the calling God has placed on their lives.”

Another year-one accomplishment involves the significant efforts of the Regent C.A.R.E.S. team (Connection, Access & Resources for Every Student) and its ability to connect with students. This 24/7 call-support center already has logged more than 60,000 “touches,” ranging from minor tech support to prayer and encouragement, and even physical healings through Spirit-led prayers. “In addition to the inbound operation, the team reaches out to each new student twice in their first semester, as well as all returning students once each semester, to answer questions and offer prayer,” Graham says. “This warm-touch outreach is unique, because many schools only reach out when there is a problem or they need something from the student. We do it simply because we care.”

NURTURING-HAPPY-HEARTS-AND-MINDSAs the Center for Student Happiness enters its second year of service, Umidi notes, “We’re looking at new ways to empower and train staff, faculty and student leaders to have an ever-present mindfulness and singular focus on student success and satisfaction that will result in increased retention for our students to finish well.” CSH also seeks to integrate a new athletic emphasis to their focus because, as Umidi points out, “Healthy bodies nurture happy hearts and minds.”

Graham adds that CSH will continue growing partnerships with each school on campus, and possibly external relationships with other Christian institutions, while integrating key ideas and practices affecting student happiness and retention. “We will expand our services so that our online-student community take increased advantage of our resources.” He continues, “We’ll also reach out to colleagues at peer Christian institutions to learn more, share what we have learned, and continue the broader conversation about student happiness, success and satisfaction.”

For more information about Regent University’s Center for Student Happiness, call 855.352.4780 or 757.352.4444. Email them at

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