To make effective decisions on a day-to-day basis, you need to have some idea of where it is you are trying to get to. To know what we need to do here at Flinders to look after the health and wellbeing of our community, we need to have a vision for the type of university we want to be. That is where the Flinders Whole of University Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2023-2025 comes in. It provides that vision. In this post learn a bit more about this plan and grab a copy. Reading time ~ 4 minutes.
You might not have woken up this morning thinking “I need to get my hands on the Flinders Whole-of-University Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2022-2025” but the fact that it exists is important.
Universities develop strategic/action plans across a range of areas. They reflect a commitment of the organisation to certain principles and courses of action in important areas.
For example, Flinders has their “Making a Difference: The 2025 Agenda” strategic plan which outlines the University’s vision and mission for the coming years. It has the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan which helps guide “Flinders University’s ongoing work to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community participation, retention and success in higher education and commits to celebrating Indigenous success and self determination.”
These plans are much more than words on a page. They are calls to action that members of the Flinders community then set about making happen with specific projects and initiatives.
So as someone with a professional stake in the wellbeing space, it is great to see Flinders articulate where it wants to head in terms of looking after the wellbeing of its almost 30,000 strong community.
Let’s start with what we mean by wellbeing…..
The term ‘wellbeing’ can be applied in many ways. For the purposes of the Strategic Plan, wellbeing refers to the following 5 areas:
This means that activities/initiatives that seek to improve one or more of these in students and/or staff would be consistent with the Strategic Plan.
It could look like:
- Training – teaching students and staff skills to maintain physical and mental health
- Events – that connect members of the Flinders community together
- Curriculum components – that encourage students to reflect on their learning and what it means for their sense of purpose
- Welfare initiatives – that improve financial and housing situation for students
- Resources – that teach students and staff key concepts across any of these 5 areas
- + many more…..
In a community the size of Flinders, it is likely that meaningfully improving wellbeing will require many activities and initiatives, happening in parallel, across the university. That is actually what has been happening at Flinders for a few years now, meaning we have lots of great examples of wellbeing initiatives, but have lost track of who is doing what. It is possible to be doing too many things which leads to confusion and poor allocation of resources.
So, the Flinders Whole-of-University Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2022-2025 goes further to outline 4 key objectives. Think of them as key areas for action – ways to coordinate and integrate the many things that are already happening.
- Better coordinate all the excellent wellbeing initiatives we have running here at Flinders and do this with students as partners.
- Ensure all students and staff have access to programs, tools, resources and training that enable them to target their own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of those they work with.
- Improve staff and student’s sense of connection to each other.
- Continuously improve our programs and resources, drawing on the latest evidence in mental health and wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Working Group, which has representation from staff and students from across the university is the group responsible for activating and coordinating initiatives that achieve these objectives. That group has met a few times now, hired a Wellbeing Project Officer and has a preliminary Action Plan written 🥳
For students that were here in 2022, you might remember the Flinders Student Wellbeing Survey. That was one of the first activities of the Wellbeing Working Group with the goal of better understanding the wellbeing of students (it’s hard to address something if you don’t measure it).
I’m looking forward to using the blog this year to keep you updated on the activities of the Wellbeing Working Group – what we are learning and how we are responding to those learnings with action.
I’d like to finish with a few shout outs:
- The Whole of University Wellbeing Strategic Plan wouldn’t have happened without the work of Lydia Woodyatt, Jodie Zada and Mike Kyrios
- The Flinders Student Wellbeing Survey wouldn’t have happened without the work of Be Well Co, Steph Walker and Michelle Berrigan
If you’d like to share your thoughts about wellbeing at Flinders, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org