LEF Award Summary 2022-2023

A photograph of Tara Embrey and Melissa Beacom

Learning to Bounce: Building Academic Resilience with Students Experiencing Mental Health Disabilities

Tara Embrey and Melissa Beacom - $ 50,000

Students with mental health disabilities face unique challenges to academic engagement, often experiencing disability-specific barriers to developing skills as learners and bouncing back from adversity. In the past several years, we have witnessed the growing impact that mental health challenges have had on students. As SAS advisors and occupational therapists, we have also seen the difference it can make when students with mental health disabilities have developed the inner resources and skills to thrive at the University of Guelph. We designed this program to provide a structured opportunity to develop these skills while also fostering connection with peers. Learning to Bounce is a two-semester pilot project combining occupational therapy theory and practice with evidence-based approaches. The program will include group psychoeducational sessions as well as opportunities to practice skills learned, study together and access one-to-one support. Evaluation of the program will help determine efficacy and application of this approach within Student Wellness.

A photograph of Kerry Ritchie

Students as Partners in Authentic Assessment Design

Kerry Ritchie - $22,750

The primary purpose of this project is to employ a students-as-partners model to co-create authentic assessments (AA) that can be incorporated into specific undergraduate courses in CBS. Authentic assessment is a well-regarded assessment approach that encourages deep learning and bridges the gap between course material and real-world problems. However, AA is commonly discussed in professional programs, leaving a gap for implementing AA across more traditional undergraduate curricula. We recently conducted an AA scan across BSc Program majors based on the three dimensions of Authenticity: Realism, Cognitive Challenge and Evaluative Judgment. We found that the prevalence of AA in our BSc programs was low. Specifically, large, content-focused, core courses were lacking in authenticity principles. Given our program specific data, this LEF seeks to apply this knowledge to develop more AA, which could be applied to in-person or remote courses, with a focus on student participation in their own learning. Our second objective is to start an online repository of easily modifiable AA exemplars that any instructor could adopt to integrate more authenticity into their assessment practices.

A photograph of Heather Pollock

Curricular Integration of Career Foundations in the College of Biological Science

Heather Pollock - $13,500

The purpose of the College of Biological Science (CBS) Career Readiness project is to increase access to career-related curricula for all students in CBS including graduate students. This will be accomplished through the development of scaffolded curricular and co-curricular experiences starting in first year and completed throughout the students’ journey through their degree delivered by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA). The LEF funds will be used to support the development of two curricular activities associated with CBS’s Career Foundations and the associated training materials needed to support the GTAs who will facilitate the curricular activities. These curricular activities will be integrated into a first- and second-year course with the aim of increasing students’ awareness and positively impacting their attitudes and approaches to career planning within and beyond their university experience.