The 2019 Advance HE and HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey highlighted that student mental wellbeing remains well below that of the general population of young people, and levels of anxiety continue to rise. A recent analysis by Red Brick Research of 280 studies from the UK, Germany, Spain and Australia exploring student well-being concluded that the rising rate of student mental health problems is a global issue that needs a “whole university approach” to tackle it. It is not solely the responsibility of support services.
The Embedding Mental Wellbeing in the Curriculum International Collaborative Project is grounded in sharing excellent practice, developing innovative approaches and assessing the impact of change. The institutions involved benefit from focused support on key issues, a safe space to share challenges, build networks of support and implement meaningful change. They will gain an insight into the approaches being taken in similar institutions facing similar challenges.
As a recent Advance HE report on the subject notes, mental wellbeing is core to the curriculum in the way we teach and what we teach. By bringing international higher education institutions together this project aims to:
- Identify what embedding mental wellbeing in the curriculum looks like;
- Understand current levels of institution/department/subject readiness to implement change;
- Share experiences of change initiatives in relation to student mental wellbeing; and
- Obtain practical guidance and advice to manage change and support students.
Who Should Join the Project
The project seeks to recruit institutions who:
- Have a broad interest in promoting the enjoyment of learning and teaching, enhancing the student experience, promoting inclusive practice, and equitable student outcomes;
- Wish to increase their understanding of mental health and wellbeing in learning and teaching and how to maximise the benefits;
- Are committed to taking meaningful steps to design and introduce changes in practice; and
- Are interested in sharing perspectives and practice from cultural and academic environments outside their own to ensure a valuable learning experience for all student groups.
The project will be led by Advance HE with input from a project board and experts.
- Two customised online meetings between an Advance HE expert with each institution involving, where appropriate, a cross-section of relevant units and staff;
- Four interactive, collaborative webinars with project leads from the multiple participating institutions (varied timezones & recorded);
- A dedicated collaborative project space on Connect, Advance HE’s online network platform;
- The optional application of a customisable survey instrument to provide senior leaders with meaningful data on current attitudes and practice at the programme level. This may be used as a baseline to measure ongoing change or incorporated in Access and Participation Plans
- An end-of-project report sharing principles, good practice and next steps that can be adapted
- for strategy and policy documents.
Case Study: National Collaborative Medical School Assessment and Feedback Project
For more information on Collaborative Projects, we have a case study from the recent National Collaborative Medical School Assessment and Feedback Project. The project was a collaboration between Advance HE and six medical schools. Through a series of structured and collaborative activities, participating schools looked to achieve a deeper, all-encompassing understanding of the challenges of assessment and feedback.
Why Advance HE?
Since 2016 more than 70 institutions have participated in Advance HE collaborative projects.
Projects are cost effective and grounded in sharing excellent practice, developing innovative
approaches and assessing the impact of change. Institutions involved in the collaborative
projects benefit from focused support on key issues, a safe space to share challenges and build
networks of support, and implementing meaningful change.
This project will draw from Advance HE’s work in area including:
- Embedding mental wellbeing in the curriculum;
- Learnings from our Teach Well initiative;
- Our small development funded projects on mental health and wellbeing of students;
- Our current work with UK Department For Education and Institute for Employment Studies advising DFE on the development of measurements for a potential survey of student mental health.