September 1, 2015

Hidden Illnesses At Iowa Colleges: Your Portal to IowaWatch/Simpson College Journalism Project

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Challenging for the students, but also to colleges and universities, hidden illnesses that students cope with with getting college degrees drastically impact how they deal with their studies, an IowaWatch/Simpson College journalism report in late spring 2015 revealed.

These stories, by Simpson College students before they graduated and took full-time work in journalism, explain the problem and possible solutions.

Little-Recognized Illnesses Follow Iowa College Students To The Classroom

Katie Anthony

Photo submitted by Katie Anthony

Katie Anthony

Katie Anthony had to take a medical leave from college before returning this spring to Iowa State University as a part-time graduate student and teaching assistant. To date, the 25-year-old woman from Cedar Rapids estimates she’s missed almost half the term balancing her studies with debilitating bouts of cyclic vomiting syndrome. Read the story.

 


Jacob Amhof (top center in the yellow shirt) and his classmates in the variety play 'Fused & Fraid,' that the Buena Vista University students wrote and produced.

Photo submitted by Jacob Amhof

Jacob Amhof (top center in the yellow shirt) and his classmates in the variety play ‘Fused & Fraid’ that the Buena Vista University students wrote and produced in early 2015.

College Students in Iowa Reveal Their Hidden Diseases, Struggles,
by Kate Hayden

For some students, being sick is a major hurdle to clear while getting a college degree. For still others, it’s everyday life.

This leaves colleges and universities with challenges, dealing with student disabilities rarely encountered but which drastically impacts the amount of engagement students can put into courses.


Aimee Loats, a sophomore biology major at Simpson College in Indianola who suffers from Crohn's disease, shares an assignment with the rest of a Communications 101 class on April 13, 2015. The class is an introduction to communications and media studies.

Megan Quick/For IowaWatch

Aimee Loats, a biology major at Simpson College in Indianola who suffers from Crohn’s disease, shares an assignment with the rest of a Communications 101 class on April 13, 2015. The class is an introduction to communications and media studies.

Professors Have To Adapt To Students With Hidden Illnesses, by Megan Quick

Professors at Iowa colleges and universities may teach the same class over and over but each semester brings a new experience with all kinds of students. Ambitious students, quiet students, lazy students, disruptive students.

They also teach students with illnesses and disabilities that, in some cases, are not easy to see but to which faculty have to respond.


Steffi_MentalHealthInCollege-336x446Mental Illness Emerges As The Most Common Hidden Disease On College Campuses, by Steffi Lee

Mental illness is the most common invisible illness students deal with when trying to get a college education.

Sometimes the stress can be related to being on a block plan, under which students take one course for three-and-a-half weeks, take four days off and then start a new class. Students feel they have to intensely cram one course into a short amount of time and manage this type of routine.


Simpson College Communications 101 class on April 13, 2015, taught by Brian Steffen. This class is an introduction to communications and media studies. Students in another class Steffen taught in spring 2015 produced the IowaWatch/Simpson College journalism project "Higher Education's Hidden Illnesses."

Megan Quick/For IowaWatch

Simpson College Communications 101 class on April 13, 2015, taught by Brian Steffen. This class is an introduction to communications and media studies. Students in another class Steffen taught in spring 2015 produced the IowaWatch/Simpson College journalism project “Higher Education’s Hidden Illnesses.”

While Diagnoses Soar, Student Disabilities Go Unreported To Institutions,
by Ben Rodgers

When Donna Musel started work as Buena Vista University’s disabilities coordinator 14 years ago only two students with illnesses requested classroom accommodations to help them do their college studies.

“Now I have quite a few more than that,” Musel said this spring.

Musel works with 64 students at Buena Vista’s main campus in Storm Lake and 26 students registered across the university’s 16 satellite campuses who receive some sort of accommodation for a physical or hidden disability.


Podcast: Hear the IowaWatch Connection radio report on this project:

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