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Healthy Academics Toolkit

Postsecondary institutions have the potential to facilitate knowledge acquisition and social connection (Schroeder & West, 2019), which both influence and are influenced by students’ mental health and well-being (Harward, 2016). The learning environment is a crucial setting for creating an equitably healthy campus that fosters well-being through classroom culture, course design, pedagogical practices, advising relationships, and instructor knowledge and skill (Dhaliwal & Stanton, 2013).

Faculty, instructional staff, and TAs have the ability to influence social determinants of student mental health and well-being related to trauma-informed practices, connectedness and belonging, campus and classroom climate, high-risk alcohol use, decreased stigma regarding mental illness, and access to campus resources.

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Healthy Academics Toolkit Overview

This UW-Madison Healthy Academics Toolkit is a data-driven tool to support a shift in policies, practices, and pedagogies in academic contexts across campus, including classrooms, research labs, and advising offices. It offers an interactive data visualization that allows instructors and advisors to understand the unique needs of the student populations whom they serve, which is in turn linked to specific strategies and resources that can be implemented to proactively support the health and well-being of both undergraduate and graduate students.

About the Healthy Academics Initiative

The Healthy Academics Initiative was developed by University Health Services Prevention & Campus Health Initiatives and aims to equip faculty, instructional staff, TAs, and advisors with the knowledge, skills and resources to create academic environments in which students can thrive. The Healthy Academics Toolkit incorporates both a campus-wide data visualization and evidence-based strategies and campus resources.

By using data to understand the types of risk and protective factors that can either hinder or support student well-being, instructional staff and advisors are able to better establish health-promoting norms, utilize effective pedagogical practices, and ensure utilization of campus resources in support of student flourishing. As a result, we can all work together to reduce healthy disparities that exist for students on our campus. For more information about the data sources and demographic indicators depicted below, visit “About the Data Visualization.”

Individualized consultations are available for Colleges, Schools, departments, and individual faculty or instructional staff that would like to learn more about how to better influence and support undergraduate or graduate student health and well-being. For more information, contact Dr. Claire Barrett, claire.barrett@wisc.edu.

References

Dhaliwal, R. & Stanton, A. (2013). SFU Health Promotion. Creating conditions for well-being in learning environments. Simon Fraser University. 
Harward, D. (2016). Well-being and higher education: A strategy for change and the realization of education’s greater purpose. Bringing Theory to Practice series. Washington, DC. 
Schroeder, M. & West, A. (2019). Student mental health and well-being: Supportive teaching and learning practices. Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. University of Calgary.