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21 – Well-Being for Life & Learning


  • Megan Kennedy, Resilience Lab, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, UW Seattle
  • Anne Browning, School of Medicine, UW Seattle
  • Billy Farrell, Evan’s School of Public Affairs and Governance, UW Seattle
  • Jon Monteith, School of Social Work, UW Seattle


The Well-Being for Life & Learning Initiative (WBLL) is promoting social-emotional learning (SEL) across the University. By incorporating wellness themes within the academic realm, faculty are participating in the University’s continuum of care. Currently, 30 instructors from 15 academic departments are incorporating 8 skills and mindsets in their teaching: social connectedness, mindfulness, growth mindset, resilience, gratitude, inclusivity, self-compassion, and life purpose. Approximately 3,000 students were engaged in a WBLL class during Spring and Fall Quarter (2019).

Assessment of the initiative is through student surveys and faculty focus groups. Beck Tench, an instructor from the Information School, describes the experience as, “I show up to the class as my whole self and invite students to do so as well. This gives all of us more integrity, which overcomes impostor syndrome and opens our minds and hearts to new ways of thinking and being.” Student feedback describes the initiative as promoting connectedness, “Having check-ins allows us to acknowledge the pressures in the rest of our life and creates a sense of community through sharing” (WBLL Student Survey, 2019). UWRL is currently developing a guidebook that will be available to all instructors and provide instruction for incorporating the 8 skills and mindsets. Instructors are also invited to join the monthly Community of Practice.

It is well-documented that the SEL movement within the K-12 system is supporting students for careers and life. “More than two decades of research demonstrate that education promoting (SEL) gets results. The findings come from multiple fields and sources, including student achievement, neuroscience, health, employment, psychology, classroom management, learning theory, economics, and the prevention of youth problem behaviors” (CASEL, n.d.). WBLL provides an opportunity to extend SEL into higher education for a more profound impact.


CASEL. (n.d.). The research documenting the impact of SEL is compelling. Retrieved from