Curricular Approaches to Wellbeing in Higher Education


This seminar presented an overview of current policy, research and practice relating to student wellbeing in higher education and how the curriculum can be leveraged to enhance wellbeing. It showcased a range of innovative curricular wellbeing initiatives in UCC and MTU.

Benefit of this resource and how to make the best use of it

Concern for the increased levels of student mental ill health, mental distress and low wellbeing has been recognised nationally and internationally (Higher Education Authority, 2020; Worsley, Pennington & Corcoran, 2020; Thorley, 2017; USI, 2019), not least because it is known that three-quarters of all mental illnesses begin by the mid-20s (Kessler et al., 2005 as cited in Higher Education Authority, 2020). Poor mental health and wellbeing can affect students’ academic performance and desire to remain in higher education (Duffy et al., 2019). Against this backdrop, primary prevention and promotion of positive mental health is now widely accepted (Work Research Centre/LSE, 2017).
Hughes (2019) makes the case that the curriculum is the only guaranteed point of contact between a university and its students. As such, curricular approaches to wellbeing should be considered (Houghton & Anderson, 2017; Hill, Farrelly, Clarke & Cannon, 2020), while acknowledging that this is complex (Ecclestone, 2019). Staff (Hughes, Panjwani, Tulcida & Byrom, 2018) and students’ perspectives (Baik, Larcombe & Brooker, 2019) should inform such developments.

It is intended that the sharing of resources and information between HEIs, arising from this seminar, will lead to increased knowledge of curricular approaches to student wellbeing and in turn lead to improved mental health promotion and prevention across higher education.

Related OER

This compendium captures examples of internationalisation of the home curriculum in TUS. It includes cases of internationalised modules; teaching and assessment practices that promote inclusive learning; collaborative learning and teaching projects involving international partners; and co-curricular intercultural competence initiatives.

The Toolkit includes an introduction to generative AI and lexicon of terms, guidelines for ethical use, recommended adjustments to common modes of assessment to mitigate against the potential risk of unethical use, and discipline-specific case studies of good practice that share innovative forms of learning, teaching and/or assessment.

This publication will be a helpful, collaborative resource to all teaching staff at and beyond TUS. It may also generate further ideas for improving practice and enhancing student engagement. This first compendium has led to further publications where ‘pedagogical communities of practice’ continue to share our knowledge.

All the ingredients for an instant inclusion resource for students in your VLE.
Itʼs already assembled so download it and edit for your own context.
1.Inclusive technology options in Google and Microsoft Tools and more.
2.Awareness of UDL and how technology gives us options regarding reading, writing and more.
3. Digital Accessibility Skills

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