Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2009

Summary of Projects

Project Title

The Student Wellbeing Project – BOUNCE

Project Leaders

Dr Andrea Chester

Project Summary

BOUNCE: The Student Wellbeing Project was developed to enhance the wellbeing of RMIT University students. The project, which was a collaboration between Student Wellbeing Services and the School of Health Sciences, was conceptualised as a multi-disciplinary student-centred, WIL experience. It involved more than 800 students in all facets of the design, creation, promotion, maintenance and evaluation of an online resource.

Recent research suggests cause for concern, with the wellbeing of university students lower than for adults within the general population (Cummins, 2003; Stewart & Podbury, 2003). (Cummins, 2003; Stewart & Podbury, 2003). Although it is unclear why this distinction occurs, there is recognition that the role of the student and the university environment influences student wellbeing in tertiary contexts (Weckwerth & Flynn, 2006). It therefore seems likely that universities have the potential to positively impact the wellbeing of their students. Promoting wellbeing of tertiary students has been recognised as an important aim for universities; it was identified as a priority of the WHO Health Promoting Universities framework (Tsouros, Dowding, Thompson, & Dooris, 1998).

This LTIF project took a positive psychology approach to improving wellbeing amongst RMIT University students. Rather than taking a deficit approach, which focuses on mental health problems and dysfunction, the positive psychology framework emphasises human potential and has application for all students, regardless of the current level of mental health or identification as needing support.

Outcomes

  • A wellbeing web resource populated with a rich diversity of student contributions on time and within budget.

Additional outcomes of the study include:

  • A cross-disciplinary training package
  • Positive student perceptions of group work
  • Enhanced connections between Student Services and academic disciplines.

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