LITE publishes first research project focusing on undergraduate resilience

HELPING STAFF and students across higher education understand better the nature of student resilience is the focus of the first completed LITE research project.

Inaugural Excellence and innovation Fellows at the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence Lydia Bleasdale and Sarah Humphreys today publish their final report: ‘Undergraduate Resilience Research Project’

This report considers the findings of a year-long research project into the ‘resilience’ of undergraduate students at the University of Leeds.

It focuses on upon second year undergraduates in six disciplines – Biological Sciences, Geography, Law, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, and Music and seeks to understand more about existing levels of student resilience, and how their resilience might be supported within curricular and extra curricular contexts.

Thirty-five members of staff and 55 students were interviewed, alongside 185 students completing a survey designed to measure levels of resilience.

Project leader Lydia Bleasdale says:

“Much of the popular discussion around ‘resilience’ suggests that individuals are either resilient or not, and that those who are not are in some way personally deficient.

“Drawing upon a wide range of literature in this field, alongside the data collected from surveys and interviews with students at the University of Leeds, this report makes clear that ‘resilience’ is not only about the individual student.

It is about external factors such as their relationships with others; the community in which they work, study and live; and the formal support mechanisms which can help them to better navigate the challenges they might experience during their time at university.

Lydia adds: “Higher Education Institutions can control or have influence over many of those external factors, alongside working with students to help them to develop or enhance the internal factors which can also be protective of resilience.

“We hope this research will lead to greater interrogation of what the word ‘resilience’ means within Higher Education, and that the findings will help students and staff to better understand how the resilience of undergraduates can be supported during their time at university.’

Director of LITE Raphael Hallett, says:

“Lydia and Sarah should be rightly proud of this research. Not only is it the first to be funded, supported and published through LITE but also because it is an extremely relevant, timely and important piece of work that could potentially help students and staff alike across the higher education world.

“Questions of student support, challenge and health are uppermost in the priorities of HE staff, and this research shows the importance of taking a holistic rather than individual perspective on these issues.

“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in this work to get in touch with Lydia and Sarah to discuss how these findings can have further impact.”

READ: Lydia’s LITE blog ‘Building Student Resilience’

The Institute was launched at the end in October 2016 as a community of research and innovation with the aim of establishing the University of Leeds as a sector leader in teaching practice and scholarship.

It provides funding, time and support for current and future student education leaders to develop their profile at the University and to carry out research and innovation projects with internal and external impact.

Read here the full executive summary.

Anyone wishing to discuss the research further should contact Lydia Bleasdale: and Sarah Humphreys