In a recent article for The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Students Say Mental-Health Breaks From Class Help Them Succeed. Here’s How Colleges Are Responding,” author Julian Robert-Grmela interviewed Theresa Duong, Pedagogical Wellness Specialist at the UCI Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation. During the interview, Duong explained how she is helping to promote both faculty and student wellness in the classroom. She also introduced her approach to course design, which she describes as “flexibility with guardrails.”

Read the excerpt featuring Duong’s remarks below:

Called a pedagogical wellness specialist, the UC-Irvine position involves training instructors to incorporate wellness into their classroom policies and procedures. Theresa Duong, who was hired for the role, said her responsibilities include creating workshops, consulting with professors, and doing research.

“My job involves supporting faculty wellness through pedagogy, but also supporting students’ wellness through the practice of pedagogy,” Duong said. “So that means training the faculty to think about wellness in their courses and to integrate well-being strategies into their course design.”

Duong said she encourages instructors to apply a mind-set she calls “flexibility with guardrails.” Duong created a digital guide that includes advice on rethinking high-stakes exams, assessing workloads, clarifying deadlines, and providing assignment choices, among other things.

During her workshops, Duong has instructors brainstorm how their class could be a barrier or facilitator to their students’ wellness and then create an action plan.

Interested in learning more? View the full article here (sign in required). To contact Duong or to learn more about pedagogical wellness, visit the UCI Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation website here