THE 2019 NATIONAL FORUM ON WELLNESS IN POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION, HOSTED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA VANCOUVER CAMPUS, BROUGHT TOGETHER REPRESENTATIVES FROM 14 UNIVERSITIES AND NINE PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS.
The two-day event centred around a sharing of knowledge and ideas among faculties to advance wellness in teacher preparation programs across the country.
The room was filled with teacher candidates and faculty members. Many were hoping to better understand the benefits and process of a Comprehensive School Health approach; to network with other delegates and build off of one another’s ideas; to explore existing research and discover how it could apply to their context; and to find new ways to engage students in the wellness process.
Matt Dolf, Director of UBC Wellbeing opened the National Forum by giving delegates a look into UBC’s priority areas for action: Collaborative Leadership, Mental Health & Resilience, Food & Nutrition, Social Connection, Built & Natural Environments, and Physical Activity. He highlighted the importance of a whole-university approach through a quote from Dan Reist of the University of Victoria Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research.
“IF THE FROGS IN A POND STARTED BEHAVING STRANGELY, OUR FIRST REACTION WOULD NOT BE TO PUNISH THEM OR EVEN TO TREAT THEM. INSTINCTIVELY, WE’D WONDER WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE POND.”
Next, National Forum delegates experienced a crash-course in Comprehensive School Health, the internationally recognized framework upon which Ever Active Schools works.
The first day ended with a panel of students, moderated by Dr. Dianne Gereluk, Dean of the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, and Dr. Marianne McTavish, Associate Dean of Teacher Education at UBC. Students spoke to the benefits of faculty role models; creation of policies and standards; listening to the students at the heart of the program; and much more.
Day two saw delegates participating in an Open Space session to discuss a topic on their mind – topics ranged from mental health to resources to measurements of wellness.
The Comprehensive School Health Hub was officially launched at the National Forum. It is a community for individuals involved in teaching, learning and researching Comprehensive School Health at the post-secondary level.
Ever Active Schools and the Werklund School of Education also announced a pilot program opportunity for up to five faculties of education across the country to embed wellness in their faculties. Pilot sites would receive webinars, sharing opportunities and customized support to build a team, set a shared vision, create and implement an action plan and monitor progress. Health champions are invited to join a webinar for more information on Monday, December 2nd 2019 at 1:00pm MST.
Ever Active Schools, the Werklund School of Education and the University of British Columbia would like to extend a thank you to all those who contributed to the National Forum. We look forward to seeing the growth in all of your faculties and where this work takes us next.