In March 2014, the Director of Human Resources with the support of the Vice President for Finance and Support Services received approval from the President’s Cabinet for the planning and development of an additional component to the Texas State Employee Wellness Program to be offered at no cost to employees. This addition would be supported by a one-time savings.
A human resources representative was assigned the task of devising a plan. She began by reviewing both the scientific literature and existing university employee wellness programs to identify optimal program components. She then conducted an environmental scan on campus and identified existing facilities and services, expertise, and policies that had potential to be foundational for this new addition to the Employee Wellness Program.
In July 2014, the human resources representative asked four faculty— two from Total Wellness, one from Nutrition and Foods, and one from Physical Therapy—to form a leadership team to plan, develop, and implement this new additional component to the Employee Wellness Program tailored to Texas State.
In August 2014, an advisory council was formed. The council consisted of the leadership team and stakeholders from the human resources, student health and recreation centers, food services, technology resources, and academic departments. Members were invited based on their potential to contribute services, guide the leadership team, and advocate for the program.
In January 2015, a pilot program was launched. In collaboration with the human resources representative, the leadership team and graduate assistants delivered the content of the program.
In the fall semester of 2015, this addition to the Employee Wellness Program was named WellCats and awarded permanent funding in the fall semester of 2016.
Currently, WellCats offers a variety of services in eight dimensions of wellness (from physical to occupational). These services are quite varied and include, but are not limited to, group training classes, one-on-one fitness testing, one-on-one nutrition consultation, hands-on cooking classes, limited subsidized Student Recreation Center memberships, health behavior change coaching, open swim, health risk appraisal and feedback, monthly newsletters, and lunch ‘n learn workshops.
Since its launch in January 2015, WellCats has served more than 1,300 employees. WellCats is committed to continuous improvement of services, expanding its reach to more employees, and retaining its employee members, with the overarching goal of improving employee health and wellness, as well as productivity.