Can Aberystwyth University become a Positive University?

Frederika Roberts, our keynote speaker at the mini-conference on Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum concluded her presentation by asking ‘Can Aberystwyth University become a Positive University?’ (to watch Frederika’s talk please visit the mini-conference website).

The idea of a positive university is one that focuses on ‘the development of educational environments that enable the learner to engage in established curricula in addition to knowledge and skills to develop their own and others’ wellbeing’ (Oades, Robinson, Green, & Spence, 2011). This definition has been proposed by the authors of Towards a positive university article published in 2011 which includes a useful framework for building Positive Universities based on the PERMA model (Seligman, 2011). Seligman’s PERMA is among the most well-known well-being theories which distinguish five key aspects of well-being:

PERMA model: P - positive emotions, E- engagement, R - Relationships, M- meaning, A- accomplishment

Source: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/learn

Although much progress has been done on embedding well-being in the curriculum, not many institutions, especially in the higher education sector, implemented a whole-institutional approach to well-being (Oades et al., 2011). The first Positive University in the world was Tecmilenio University, a private institution in Mexico, established in 2002. Following their lead, in 2017, the University of Buckingham became the first Positive University in Europe.

What would have to change for Aberystwyth University to become a Positive University?

The Positive University status is achieved by implementing the well-being in institutional policies and procedures, but also through an individual commitment to the values of positive education. Although Oades and colleagues (2011) mention the importance of senior leadership, they also offer a range of simple activities that are consistent with the ethos of positive education and that could be implemented by teaching and professional staff as well as students (see Table 1. p. 434). Following the recent mini-conference, we would like to call all staff to take an active stand towards their well-being and the well-being of their students and colleagues.

To find examples of how you can embed well-being in your teaching please refer to the Towards a positive university article, recordings from the conference as well as the Wellbeing in the curriculum factsheet created by Samantha Glennie, the Student Wellbeing Service Manager. We would also like to encourage you to share the following resources with your students:

Reflections on the March 2021 Mini Conference

On Thursday, 25th of March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit held their second mini conference of the academic year. Focussed on the theme of embedding wellbeing in the curriculum, the conference brought together internal and external speakers on three strands: recognising barriers to student well-being, building resilience in students, and encouraging students to flourish.

The conference boasted a range of speakers from across Aberystwyth University, as well as an external speaker from Coleg Cambria. Topics ranged from the ongoing work on wellbeing by the Student Support team, wellbeing in foundation year programmes, and building student resilience to reframing of mistakes as a learning opportunity, and personalising approaches to engaging with students and their work. Our two keynote speakers, Frederica Roberts and Kate Lister focussed on positive education and online communities respectively. In the spirit of the conference, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit also organised two activities during the morning and afternoon breaks: desk yoga and a guided meditation with local yoga teacher Regina Hellmich, which several delegates identified as a conference highlight. The day concluded with a plenary session in which everyone was encouraged to reflect on their insights and identify concrete applications of best practice going forward.

If you missed the mini conference or could only attend parts of it, you can now access recordings of most presentations here. Simply log in with your Aberystwyth ID and password. In addition, we strongly encourage you to sign up to our next Academy Forum on the 20th of April, entitled “How can I embed wellbeing into the curriculum?” – we look forward to seeing you there.

Last chance to register! Mini-conference, 25 March 2021

Mini Conference BannerOn Thursday 25th March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting the second Academy Mini-Conference online of this academic year. The theme will be ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, where will explore the links between mental well-being and learning and how this could help to maximise success for both students and staff.

You can see our full programme here. The Mini-Conference will run from 09:30-16:50.

We hope that you will be able to join us. *You can register to attend the Mini-Conference by clicking on this link*. If you have any queries, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Mini Conference: ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, Thursday 25 March, 09:30am

Mini Conference Banner
On Thursday 25th March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting the second Academy Mini-Conference online of this academic year. The theme will be ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, where will explore the links between mental well-being and learning and how this could help to maximise success for both students and staff. The Mini-Conference will run from 09:30-16:50.

We’re excited to confirm our programme:

  • Flourishing at Aberystwyth – Putting Positive Education into Practice (Frederica Roberts – Keynote)
  • Online Communities and Student Well-being (Kate Lister – Keynote)
  • Well-being in the Curriculum at Aberystwyth University (Samantha Glennie)
  • Well-being in the Curriculum – a Foundation Year Pilot (Sinead O’Connor)
  • Supporting Students in Building a Resilient Approach to their Learning (Antonia Ivaldi)
  • What Can Lecturers Do to Get Students to Embrace Mistakes? (Marco Arkesteijn)
  • Building Resilience (Alison Pierse)
  • Meeting Students’ Needs (using simple tools) (Panna Karlinger)
  • Resilience – a Valuable Student Skill (Sadie Thackaberry)

We will also be running an optional yoga and meditation session during two of the breaks for all conference attendees.

We hope that you will be able to join us. You can register to attend the Mini-Conference by clicking on this link. If you have any queries, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Call for proposals deadline – Mini-Conference: Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum

On Thursday 25th March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting the second Academy Mini-Conference online of this academic year. The theme will be ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, where will explore the links between mental well-being and learning and how this could help to maximise success for both students and staff.

The three main strands for this Mini-Conference are:

  • Building resilience in students
  • Recognising barriers to student well-being
  • Encouraging students to flourish

We are looking for proposals from staff, postgraduate teaching assistants and students to give presentations, demonstrations, workshops, and discussions on their current practices on embedding well-being in the curriculum. Even if your proposal does not particularly fit the strands above, other relevant proposals are very welcome.

If you would like to submit a proposal to this year’s Mini-Conference, please fill in this online form before Friday 26th February.

You can register to attend the Mini-Conference by clicking on this link. If you have any queries, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

External Speakers: Mini-Conference: Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum

Mini-conference: Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum

As announced last week, on Thursday 25th March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting second Mini-Conference this academic year. The theme will be ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, where will explore the links between mental well-being and learning and how this could help to maximise success for both students and staff.

We are pleased to announce that two excellent external speakers accepted our invitations to present during the conference:

Flourishing at Aberystwyth – Putting Positive Education into Practice

Positive Education is the intertwining of educating for academic outcomes and for well-being and character development in order to enable the learner to flourish. Embarking on a course of academic study, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level, full- or part-time, is a major life event that can impact on mental health and well-being. The current academic year has been unlike any other and a determined focus on well-being for students and staff – teaching and non-teaching – is more important than ever.

In this highly interactive keynote, participants will learn about key elements of positive psychology in the context of higher education, including:

  • The importance of positive relationships
  • The use of character strengths in teaching, feedback and staff development
  • How time perspectives may influence motivation

Aberystwyth University staff attending this session will have the opportunity to explore how their everyday practices can support their students’, colleagues’ and own well-being. The session will include elements of reflection, discussion, and practising activities that support well-being. Whilst the focus will primarily be on supporting student well-being, this is best achieved when staff are well.

The session will therefore also provide participants with the opportunity to develop their own well-being strategies and to consider how the University’s systems and procedures can underpin a culture of well-being.

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Mini-Conference: Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum (Call for proposals)

On Thursday 25th March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting the second Academy Mini-Conference online of this academic year. The theme will be ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, where will explore the links between mental well-being and learning and how this could help to maximise success for both students and staff.

The three main strands for this Mini-Conference are:

  • Building resilience in students
  • Recognising barriers to student well-being
  • Encouraging students to flourish

We are looking for proposals from staff, postgraduate teaching assistants and students to give presentations, demonstrations, workshops, and discussions on their current practices on embedding well-being in the curriculum. Even if your proposal does not particularly fit the strands above, other relevant proposals are very welcome.

If you would like to submit a proposal to this year’s Mini-Conference, please fill in this online form before Friday 26th February.

You can register to attend the Mini-Conference by clicking on this link. If you have any queries, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.