Feature: Placing wellbeing at the heart of the Leeds Curriculum

Student mental health and wellbeing across higher education is rightly under more scrutiny than ever. LITE’s Dr Bridgette Bewick writes here about her two-year Fellowship and how there has never been a better time for universities to make changes.

New approaches are required if we are to address the mental health and wellbeing challenges facing university students.

Like universities around the world, the University of Leeds has invested in mental health tools and resources for students and staff.

These effective resources are making a difference to the lives of individual students and are an integral part of addressing student mental ill-health on campus.

LITE Fellow Dr Bridgette Bewick

LITE Fellow and author: Dr Bridgette Bewick.

Innovative solutions

Despite local and international efforts, universities remain places where young people report more mental health problems and lower wellbeing than their non-student peers.

Innovation that complements existing efforts is needed if universities are to realise their full potential as places for students to flourish and thrive.

We must develop policies and pedagogical practices that have wellbeing at their centre.

We need to find ways to embed wellbeing into university curricula.

Recommendations will be grounded in the lived mental health, wellbeing, and education experiences of staff and students from across the University.

The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

In every Faculty people are passionate about improving student wellbeing.

There are fantastic initiatives already underway at Leeds creating change for the institution and the individual.

For example, the work of the UoL Student Success team, and the LUU Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors.

There are projects focussing on induction,  learning analytics, inclusive education, and decolonizing the curriculum.

Now is the time to consider how we can highlight siloed best practices and integrate into a more holistic offering – empowering staff and students to develop a strengths based approach to addressing student mental health and wellbeing.

Ensuring wellbeing is at the heart of the University of Leeds student experience and the Leeds Curriculum.

Project overview

This LITE Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to work with staff and students.

James Woodward, Sports science school rep FBS at the University of Leeds

“Now is the time for us, FBS students, to speak up to let the Faculty know what they can do differently.”

Working collaboratively to discover how to embed pedagogical wellbeing into curricula and practices.

Enabling Leeds to deliver improved student mental health, wellbeing, education, and employment outcomes.

In November, the launch of the Faculty of Biological Sciences (FBS) student wellbeing survey marked the official start of the first phase of the project.

FBS were soon followed by the School of Law, School of Music, School of Design, School of Language Culture and Societies, and the School of Medicine.

The speed at which Faculties and Schools have come aboard is evidence of their commitment to improving wellbeing through curriculum development.

If you would like to get involved in the project or to apply for your School to be represented please email Bridgette at b.m.bewick@leeds.ac.uk.

There are two linked events taking place in 2020, if you are interested in attending please follow the links below: