The following post is from Fabienne Vailes, who started her BILT Associateship in September 2018.
Is it possible to have students who are flourishing and enjoying university and university life without flourishing staff (professional and teaching)? How do we embed wellbeing in the curriculum rather than treating it as a ‘bolt on’ or ‘side activity’?
Hello, I am Fabienne Vailes and I regularly ask these questions to colleagues and peers. I left the University of Bristol in 2005 and returned in 2014. I was taken aback by the changes I noticed. Students seem less able to handle the academic work of university and less able to perform tasks that their peers could carry out nine years ago. My tutees regularly report that their number one stressor is the academic workload. There also seem to be a big difference between students themselves. Whilst two SML students may graduate after four years at university, their experiences can be drastically different. Some thrive whilst others merely survive.
In 2017, I was awarded a BILT Teaching Fellowship to investigate these questions further and to see if the model I developed in my book The Flourishing Student, published in October 2017, can be applied to larger cohorts of students. Since September 2018, I am also a BILT Associate.
I strongly believe that we cannot have a flourishing institution without staff and student wellbeing. Those go hand in hand. I am also convinced that we can create a learning environment and a culture that enhances health, wellbeing. There are very good examples here in the UK (healthy universities) and on the other side of the world (http://unistudentwellbeing.edu.au/)
I am French Language Director in the School of Modern Languages specialising in teaching French Language and Intercultural Competence and Communication. A key part of my role is helping students overcome the daily challenges they are faced with and develop the resilience they need to complete their studies and succeed both academically and in the work place. I hope that my research will shed some light on these questions.