Undergraduate Services team receives award for Engineering Resilience Program

Western Engineering News | January 12, 2018

Western Engineering is proud to announce that our Undergraduate Services team has received the NACADA Region 5 Innovation in Advising Award for its outstanding work in building and implementing the Engineering Resilience Program for our undergraduate students. NACADA is a North American association of professional advisors, counsellors, faculty and administrators, all working together to enhance the educational development of students.                                               

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” - Napoleon Hill

Although Western University has a strong support system in place to help with students’ mental health and wellness, many fail to connect with resources early and tend to wait until they are in a state of crisis before reaching out for help.

Since joining Western a few years ago, Clare Tattersall, Manager, Undergraduate Services with Western Engineering, continued to see the same sorts of challenges with students, all related to mental health issues and self-deprecating patterns of behaviour and thought.

“It was understandable because our students, for the most part, have not experienced failure prior to their undergraduate career,” said Tattersall. “Their success has set them up to be really vulnerable when it comes to failure.”

Leading up to the implementation of the Engineering Resilience Program, the Undergraduate Services team looked at research concerning what factors have an impact on human resilience in the face of failure and adversity.

The impact of positive psychology

The Engineering Resilience Program is fundamentally built on the principles of positive psychology –mental wellness and what enables people to flourish. Within academic counselling, the Undergraduate Services team strives to shift the culture in engineering towards a more optimistic outlook and a strengths-based approach to mentoring students.

“We have a fierce commitment to our students to do anything that is within our realm of influence and to give them every opportunity to achieve their full potential,” said Tattersall.

The success of the Undergraduate Services team’s efforts can be seen in the positive responses they receive from students, as evidenced in an email received by a recent graduate:

“Every day I am very thankful for all your help. I struggled more than I expected due to a lot of unforeseen circumstances in my undergraduate career, and I am very grateful that you crossed my path in my last year.”

Inspiring positivity and engagement

The Engineering Resilience Program focuses on outlining strategies for remaining focused, energized and motivated in high pressure situations, as well as providing strategies for increasing academic engagement and developing positive and sustainable academic skills.

Components of the program involve anything from workshops and presentations, to one-on-one coaching sessions, to playful wellness events, such as visits with Archie Brindleton – the official engineering therapy dog, hot chocolate buffets and pancake breakfasts.

Western Engineering is proud of the time and hard work our Undergraduate Services team has dedicated to our students, and we’re excited to see the Resilience Program continue to make a positive change.

For access to resources, visit any of the following links:

Book an appointment with a member of the team
Resilience Resources
Processes and Policies