Evaluation of a leadership development program to enhance university staff and student resilience
Keywords:resilience, mental health, faculty development, well-being, employability, success, retention
University life presents challenges that can negatively affect the health and wellbeing of students and staff. Resilience is critical to managing challenges and thus is increasingly viewed as important for university students, graduates and employees. To date research on resilience has tended to adopt a view of resilience as an individual issue with little consideration of the socio-cultural factors that influence an individual’s resilience. To address this gap a leadership program to enhance both staff resilience and their capacity to lead resilience enhancements for students from an ecological perspective was developed. The program, piloted in three universities across Australia, assisted staff in understanding the nature and importance of resilience, the contextual factors that impact on resilience and the leadership practices that help drive change in the higher education context. Both academic staff and professional staff involved in leading co-curricula student experiences participated in the two-day leadership program. This study, part of a broader program evaluation, adopted a mixed methods approach to investigate university staffs’ levels of distress, resilience, and leadership practices. Pre- and post-intervention survey data indicated the program was positively received and most participants felt confident to lead curricula and co-curricula changes to enhance resilience within their work context. Implications for university educators, researchers and leaders are discussed.
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