Enhancing Student Wellbeing offers a suite of resources designed to assist university educators to develop policies, curriculum and teaching and learning environments that better support student mental health. The growing prevalence and severity of mental health difficulties across student populations in higher education is an issue of significant concern for universities. This project supports sector-wide conversations, a whole-of-institution approach and pedagogical innovations that promote mental health and wellbeing, enabling all students to realise their academic potential.

The central aim of the project is to build the capacity of academic educators to design curriculum and create teaching and learning environments that enhance student mental wellbeing. Academic educators are the drivers of innovation in this field and the project makes accessible the research, theoretical approaches and promising practices that are prompting change.

In asking that educators consider student mental wellbeing in curriculum design, teaching practice and institutional policy development, we are keenly aware of the growing demands and pressures faced by academics. As a result, our focus is on accessible, practical information and examples of curriculum and teaching approaches that can help support student mental wellbeing.

We expect that the project resources will increase academics’ confidence to interact and engage with students who may be experiencing mental health difficulties. We also expect they will assist academics in their roles as curriculum designers and teachers of diverse students, and that the understanding and strategies teachers develop will benefit all students, not only those at risk of experiencing mental health difficulties.

  1. A framework for developing a whole-of-institution approach to enhancing student wellbeing (University Framework). The framework builds on the outcomes of the 2011 National Summit on the Mental Health of Tertiary Students.

  2. Online professional development modules for academic teachers to advance awareness of student mental health issues and of curriculum and pedagogical approaches that can support mental wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment.

  3. A national symposium on Student Mental Wellbeing, held at the University of Melbourne on Friday 9 September, 2016. National and international speakers shared insights and offered strategies for designing curriculum and creating teaching and learning environments to support student mental health and enhance learning. Proceedings were shared on Twitter using the hashtag #unistudentwellbeing.

The Project Team

Dr Chi Baik

Chi Baik is the project co-leader, with Wendy Larcombe. Chi is a senior lecturer in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Melbourne CSHE), the University of Melbourne. Her research program centres around the quality of the student experience, and her work in recent years has focused on the development of policies and programs to promote and recognise effective university teaching.
email: cbaik@unimelb.edu.au

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Associate Professor Wendy Larcombe

Wendy Larcombe is the project co-leader, with Chi Baik. Wendy is an Associate Professor at Melbourne Law School, the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include developing policy to support student mental wellbeing. In 2013, she led an empirical research project investigating student wellbeing across six disciplines (Law, Biomedicine, Science, Arts, Veterinary Science, and Engineering) at the University of Melbourne.
email: w.larcombe@unimelb.edu.au

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Abi Brooker

Dr Abi Brooker

Abi Brooker is the project manager. She is a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, and teaches in the undergraduate psychology program for the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, at the University of Melbourne.
email: brookera@unimelb.edu.au

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Professor Johanna Wyn

Johanna Wyn is the Director of the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. She specializes in longitudinal research about the dimensions of young people’s lives, including education, work, wellbeing, relationships and family. Johanna was instrumental in the development of the Mind Matters program to promote mental health and wellbeing within Australian schools.
email: j.wyn@unimelb.edu.au

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Dr Lee Allen

Lee Allen is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, where she is the Mental Health Subject Coordinator to the Doctor of Medicine.  She is a Consultant Psychiatrist at Austin Health, in the Youth Early Psychosis Service and Director of Training of the Victorian Northern Region, for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

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Professor Rachael Field

Rachael Field is currently a Professor of Law at Bond University Law School.  Until May 2016, Rachael was part of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Law School. She was made an ALTC Teaching Fellow in 2010 and is currently communications officer for the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows.
email: rfield@bond.edu.au

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Mr Matthew Brett

Matthew Brett is currently Senior Manager of Higher Education Policy at La Trobe University. He previously worked as Strategic Advisor on Equity Policy at the University of Melbourne where he was a principal architect of the award-winning University of Melbourne Mental Health Strategy. In 2011 he co-convened the National Summit on the Mental Health of Tertiary Students, held at the University of Melbourne.
email: M.Brett@latrobe.edu.au

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Professor Richard James

Richard James is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne. He is a leading figure in Australian higher education and an internationally recognised researcher in areas related to higher education policy, equity and the student experience.
email: r.james@unimelb.edu.au

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Project Expert Advisory Group

  • Associate Professor Jacqueline Cranney
    Leader, OLT project, Curriculum renewal to build student resilience and success, University of New South Wales
  • Associate Professor Ray Peterson
    Leader, OLT project, Student mental health support and assistance, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Sally Kift
    Deputy Vice Chancellor (A), James Cook University
  • Professor Glen Bates
    Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Advancement), Swinburne University or Technology


We are grateful for the assistance and support from numerous colleagues:

  • University of Melbourne Learning Environments team
    Chris Pahlow, Eileen Wall and Leigh Tilson for filming and editing videos; and Tim Blundell and Gordon Yau for website programming support
  • Lucienne Greene
  • Louise Larcombe
    Editing and proofreading documents
  • Graphyte Media
    Design of documents
  • Marisa Simanjuntak Saeter
    Communications coordination
  • Interviewees and student participants
    From The University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and Queensland University of Technology for their generous contributions.