June 20, 2019

How do you become a happy academic?

Educators Summer Wellness Series tackles the complexities of academic resiliency and wellness


Nicola Waugh, University Relations

The Educators Summer Wellness Series presented by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, Werklund School of Education and Campus Mental Health Strategy starts July 8.

The Educators Summer Wellness Series starts July 8.

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Academic life can be challenging. Research expectations, publication deadlines, course planning, speaking engagements and daily pressures to perform can leave educators feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, with potential harmful effects on mental health. Educators also often feel responsible for supporting students who may be experiencing mental health challenges, but don’t feel equipped to do so.

To address some of these issues directly with UCalgary educators, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, the Werklund School of Education, and the Campus Mental Health Strategy are presenting a series of wellness workshops over the summer months that aim to give educators the tools they need to build resiliency in their high-pressure academic roles and to help others toward a place of wellness.

“As faculty members, we often put our teaching and research ahead of things like self-care,” says Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy and associate professor in the Department of Psychology. “This series gives educators on our campus the tools to better support students in and out of the classroom, and sheds light on the burgeoning topic of educator well-being, taking an evidence-based approach.”

Incorporating wellness into your academic life: 3 sessions

The following three sessions unpack the various ways mental health and wellness can be incorporated into teaching and learning, no matter what field of study. Understanding how to approach stigma, support students in distress, and format coursework and learning in a new way can improve mental health for both students and faculty. This series of workshops is open to all UCalgary educators, including faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and staff supporting instruction.

Improving Students’ Well-being: Reducing mental illness stigma and supporting students who are in distress
July 8, 1 – 3 p.m.
Facilitators: Andrew Szeto, director, Campus Mental Health Strategy and associate professor; and Kevin Wiens, manager, student wellness support, Student Wellness Services

Using Mental Health and Wellness as a Framework for Course Design 
Aug. 6, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Facilitator: Dr. Patti Dyjur, PhD, director, educational development unit, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning; and Haboun Blair, learning and instructional design specialist, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning 

Mindful When Your Mind is Full: Mindfulness practice for the busy academic
Aug. 7, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Facilitator: Dr. Todd Hill, PhD, psychologist and a senior instructor/director of behavioural medicine in the Department of Family Medicine

Become a happy academic: 2 sessions

On Aug. 14, acclaimed speakers Dr. Alex Clark, PhD, professor and associate vice-president (research) at the University of Alberta; and Bailey Sousa, director of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology at the University of Alberta will present a keynote and workshop to help academics hone their skills, showcase their strengths and manage the professional aspects of their academic life with deeper satisfaction and well-being. Hear from Clark and Sousa, and participate in their afternoon workshop:

Keynote: Failure, Learning and the Growth Mindset: How to be an effective, successful, happy academic 
Open to all UCalgary faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students

Aug. 14, 9 – 10 a.m. 

Faculty workshop: Being an Effective, Successful, Happy Academic 
Open to all UCalgary faculty

Aug. 14, 1:30 – 4 p.m.

Registration is separate for each event. For a full listing of activities visit the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning website.

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential. If you think you need help, please visit resources here. If you think someone you know needs help, find more information here.