VOICE 4 | Research, Education, and Action: Creating a Healthy Campus

VOICE 4 (2016 to 2018)

Research, Education, and Action

Creating a Healthy Campus

The aim of VOICE 4 is to engage with our campus community taking action to improve our campus environment to support student, staff, and faculty mental wellbeing.

  1. Identify systemic factors influencing the mental wellbeing of the UBCO campus community, both positive and negative, through a campus health assessment utilizing the VOICE methodological framework.
  2. Utilize VOICE findings and methods to advance knowledge, take action on, and educate the campus about the factors identified in the campus health assessment.
  3. Determine the impact of participating in VOICE as a co-researcher on their level of confidence to take VOICE principles into other settings (life, work, school, community).

The UBC executive has recently committed to prioritize wellbeing throughout the institution, and understands that as an institution of higher education, UBC has an important role to play in supporting and facilitating the wellbeing of students, staff, faculty, and the environment. Wellbeing at UBC is an approach to addressing wellbeing through engagement of university community members to implement a wellbeing lens to policies, processes, practices, programs, services, curriculum, etc.

The VOICE research project uses a methodological framework that includes: community-based participatory action research [CBPAR] methods, settings-based health promotion strategies and student/non-student partnerships. The VOICE research project was approved by the UBCO Behaviour Research Ethics Board.

The research team and consultant structure is designed to engage all sectors of the campus community as well as the local community. Everyone on campus is welcome to participate including undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, managers of university departments and senior administrators. Undergraduate students are engaged as co-researchers (e.g. 70-80), often receiving course credit. Research practical opportunities are also available.

The VOICE 4 Campus Health team collected data using survey methods in 2016-2017.  Surveys were completed by undergraduate students (n=3481), graduate students (n=122), staff (n=180), and faculty (n=44).  These data were augmented using semi-structured interviews, focus groups, photovoice, and story capture in addition to a policy scan and analysis. The majority of students identified the social environment on campus as supporting mental wellbeing, and the academic and economic environments as hindering mental wellbeing.  The results of VOICE 4 were shared with the campus community in the following forms:

Action groups were formed to advocate for changes to promote student mental wellbeing on the following priority topics:

  • Academic Concession Policy
  • Exam Policy and Scheduling